Unless Jeff Fisher and Les Snead believe that Trent Richardson is the second coming of Jim Brown and Walter Payton rolled into one mega running back prospect, then there’s absolutely no reason for the Rams to trade up in this month’s draft.
And yet if you believe the latest draft rumors, trading up to No. 4 is a viable option for the Rams.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that the Rams are one of multiple teams interested in trading up with the Browns to No. 4 (http://www.cleveland.com/browns/index.ssf/2012/04/rams_and_eagles_among_about_fo.html). While most pre-draft reports should be taken with a grain of salt, you can’t rule anything out when it comes to the first round. If the ghost of Al Davis walked up on stage at Radio City Music Hall, leaned into the microphone and said, “Give me the guy with the fastest 40 time,” I wouldn’t be surprised in the least. (Who doesn’t miss that guy around this time of year?)
Could the Rams trade up to No. 4? Of course. If Fisher and Snead love Richardson, then No. 4 is the spot they need to be. But if you’re the Rams, why trade up? You just took the Redskins for everything they’re worth and now you’re going to move back up? It doesn’t make sense, especially given the Rams’ current situation.
Let’s discuss worst case scenario for a second. If the Rams stay put and the Vikings take Ryan Kalil, the Browns take Richardson, and the Bucs take Morris Claiborne, then St. Louis will have an opportunity to finally address its need at receiver by drafting Justin Blackmon (who some don’t consider an elite prospect, but is hands down the best wideout in this year’s class). If the Vikings take Blackmon, the Browns take Richardson, and the Bucs take Claiborne, then the Rams will have an opportunity to beef up their offensive line by drafting Kalil. And if the Vikings take Kalil, the Browns take Blackmon, and the Bucs take Claiborne, then the Rams draft Richardson, who is undoubtedly an elite prospect.
Unless they reach, no matter who falls to them at No. 6 the Rams will land an impact player and/or address a need. And if they decide to trade down, then they could potentially nab a prospect like Michael Brockers, who is a top 5 talent despite the fact that he’ll likely drop out of the top 10. (Defensive tackles just aren’t viewed in the same light as quarterbacks, left tackles and receivers when it comes to the first round, so they usually fall past the first 10-15 picks.)
The takeaway here is that moving up to No. 4 isn’t necessary unless the Rams’ big board looks like this: 1) Trent Richardson, 2) Who cares. And if their big board does look like that, then I question Fisher and Snead’s draft approach in the modern day NFL. Even though Richardson is an excellent prospect, you can make an argument that no team should waste a top 5 pick on a running back in a passing league. But that’s an argument for another day.
The Rams did an incredible job in their trade with the Redskins. There’s no need to negate a great move by making an unnecessary one.