The second pick in the NFL draft on April 25 (To be heard live on 101 ESPN) should be easy for the Rams, unless they make it more difficult than it should be.
Michael Crabtree? Not if the Rams are true to their word about making Steven Jackson the centerpiece of their offense. That second pick is going to get $30 million guaranteed. If you select Crabtree, you better justify that investment. Crabtree could wind up being the next Larry Fitzgerald, but the Cardinals have a good quarterback that’s on his feet to get Fitz the ball. If teams can find players like Anquan Boldin, Hines Ward, Greg Jennings, Steve Smith and Marques Colston after the first round, the Rams are in no position to use the second pick in the draft on Crabtree.
Aaron Curry? Do you really want to use the second pick in the draft on a player you’re going to change the position of? That’s what would happen if the Rams took Curry to move him to the middle. He would better serve the Rams on the strong side, but how many high impact 4-3, outside linebackers can you name? Lance Briggs. Derrick Brooks. A.J. Hawk. Not many others. I’ve read that Curry can rush the passer (he had 2.5 sacks last year) but wasn’t asked to. Are you kidding me? Wake Forest had 24 sacks AS A TEAM. Their leader had five. I can’t believe a coaching staff would know any player could rush the passer, and not ask him to. Sacks are one of the three most important stats in football. I’m not going to assume anything with this choice.
Offensive line? Now we’re talking. As our friend Dan Dierdorf, and hundreds of coaches, points out…football games are won by dominating the offensive line of scrimmage. If your team does that, there’s a good chance they’ll win. It’s simple. Now, there are teams that win without high draft picks up front. But there isn’t a winning team that trots out a bad offensive line.
For those that say take Crabtree or Curry first, and then get a tackle in a deep draft at that position, here’s my rejoinder. First, 20 of 32 starting left tackles in the NFL last season were first rounders. That’s where you get them. Second, among the eight tackles taken in the first round last year, three (Jake Long, Ryan Clady and Jeff Otah) played well. The others…Chris Williams, Brandon Albert, Gosdter Cherilus, Sam Baker and Duane Brown, left at least something, if not much, to be desired.
Jason Smith or Eugene Monroe are the two pre-eminent tackles in this draft. Whomever the Rams regard as the best of those two…or the one left over after the Lions choice, is the Rams pick. And it’s an easy choice.