So, what’s the plan for draft pick No. 10?
In trying to narrow down which prospects will be available for the Rams at that spot Thursday night, it helps to map out a few scenarios that could play out come draft time.
Marcus Mariota falls
Then the Rams probably take him and he instantly becomes the new face of the franchise.
In this scenario, I’d question which direction Jeff Fisher would take with his offense if Mariota becomes a Ram, but that’s not something he or the team would need to answer this week.
Nick Foles would be the starter for 2015 and the Rams could re-evaluate their quarterback situation in a year. The Foles acquisition gives the team more time to develop a QB from this year’s draft.
A trade would also be possible in this scenario, with the Rams dealing the No. 10 pick to a team desperate to nab Mariota.
Verdict: I don’t think Mariota will fall past pick No. 2, let alone drop to No. 10.
Chances are the Rams won’t have an opportunity to even consider the Oregon Duck.
Mariota is gone, but either Amari Cooper and/or Kevin White fall
Then the Rams land one of the top prospects in this year’s draft, finally fill the void of not having a prototypical No. 1 receiver, and address their offensive line needs in the middle rounds.
Cooper is arguably the best player in this year’s draft and White is a legit top 10 prospect.
There would be more pressure on the Rams to find starting-caliber O-linemen in the middle rounds, but you couldn’t fault them for handing in their draft card with Cooper or White’s name on it.
As I’ve stated before, the draft is about selecting players, not positions.
Verdict: Cooper and White are likely to come off the board before the Rams are on the clock, perhaps to the Raiders and No. 4 and the Bears at No. 7, respectively.
Mariota, Cooper and White are gone, but all offensive linemen are available
Then the Rams probably take Iowa’s Brandon Scherff and then figure out whether to play him at tackle or guard in OTAs and training camp.
Scherff’s best position in the pros will likely be at guard because of his run-mauling tendencies and his issues in pass protection, but others believe he can hang at tackle.
If it’s me, I’m not taking a guard in the top 10 because you can find starting guards in the middle rounds. But if the Rams believe he can play tackle, then they’ll be justified for pulling the trigger on Scherff.
Verdict: Many believe that Scherff will be there at No. 10 but I think he’ll either come off the board at No. 6 to the Jets or No. 9 to the Giants.
Mariota, Cooper, White and Scherff are all gone
In this scenario, I believe the Rams will draft Stanford’s Andrus Peat.
Some fans will groan at the selection because he’s not flashy, nor is he a dynamic prospect. But while his ceiling isn’t as high as other prospects in this year’s class, his floor isn’t as low either.
In other words, he’s safe.
With the Rams potentially having to start up to three rookies or inexperienced players along their O-line, they’ll need to draft a prospect that can play right away.
More food for thought: If Greg Robinson doesn’t pan out at left tackle, then the Rams could move him inside to guard or flop him with Peat, who played left tackle at Stanford.
This selection would give the team versatility, and Fisher loves versatility.
Verdict: This is my official prediction for the Rams at No. 10.
I think Scherff will go No. 6 to the Jets and Ereck Flowers of Miami will go No. 9 to the Giants, thus leaving the Rams with Peat at No. 10.
Mariota, Cooper, White, Scherff and Peat are all gone
Then the Rams could take Flowers, who likely starts Day One at right tackle.
Verdict: Scherff could go No. 6 to the Jets and Peat could go No. 9 to the Giants, so Flowers is entirely a possibility at No. 10.
I’d like to see the Rams trade back and take the best player left on their board wherever they wind up. I wrote about my desire to see the Rams move out of the No. 10 spot, but it takes two to tango.
If there isn’t a player at No. 10 that a team wants, then the Rams’ phones won’t be ringing.
This year’s wildcards include edge rushers Randy Gregory (Nebraska) or Shane Ray (Mizzou), receiver Devante Parker (Louisville), cornerback Trae Waynes (Michigan State), or running back Todd Gurley (Georgia).
Despite his off-field concerns, Gregory has the speed, athleticism, and length that Fisher loves in prospects. Ray, Parker, Waynes or Gurley could be at the top of the Rams’ board if two of the three offensive linemen are gone.
Ultimately, I don’t see any of the wildcard scenarios playing out, but you never know when it comes to the draft.