2012 NFL Draft: St. Louis Rams Best Case Scenario

Shane GraySenior Analyst IApril 10, 2012

2012 NFL Draft: St. Louis Rams Best Case Scenario

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    Creating a best case scenario for the St. Louis Rams in the 2012 NFL Draft while remaining realistic is not easy.  

    I'd like to predict that St. Louis ends up with eight 10-year All Pro players in late April.  But that is unlikely.

    I could suggest that the Rams obtain Justin Blackmon, Trent Richardson, Matt Kalil, Morris Claiborne, Stephen Hill, Fletcher Cox, Melvin Ingram and David DeCastro with their eight picks.  But we know that is not happening (even though it would be outrageously beautiful if it did).

    With the draft day fantasies set aside, let's look at the following (reasonable) scenarios that could help revive the Rams.

Best Case Scenario Segment 1: Ryan Tannehill Goes in Top 5

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    As I covered in detail in this piece last week, it would be absolutely ideal to see quarterback Ryan Tannehill come off the board at No. 3, 4 or 5 in the 2012 NFL Draft. 

    Tannehill's draft stock continues to skyrocket, and it appears possible that a team could trade up into the top five to secure the rights to the talented signal caller. 

    Jason La Canfora of the NFL Network reports here that the Cleveland Browns (who hold the No. 4 pick) are indeed considering Tannehill.

    Mike Mayock of the same network suggests that the Browns have got to make a move for the talented Texas A&M product, as reported by Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com.

    Regardless of how a top five exit for Tannehill goes down, his selection prior to St. Louis' pick would push an additional elite prospect to the Rams, and that, of course, is a best case scenario for St. Louis. 

Best Case Scenario Segment 2: Rams Trade No. 6 Pick and Still Get Who They Want

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    Rams general manager Les Snead and head coach Jeff Fisher possess a roster with a multitude of holes. 

    Teams do not go 2-14, after all, if loaded with players producing at All Pro levels.  

    That said, the second best case scenario would involve the Rams getting offered a terrific package to move down in the draft, obtaining additional picks and still getting a player they highly covet from their new draft slot.  

    According to the NFL Draft trade value chart, the No. 6 pick is worth 1,600 points.  Keep in mind that the new collective bargaining agreement is much more team friendly and made it less risky financially to move into the top 10. 

    Just as the Rams received more compensation than the draft value chart would have dictated when trading from the No. 2 position in the historic trade with the Washington Redskins, they could get another value heavy deal via a trade down from No. 6. 

    For another perspective on how lopsided some see the Rams No. 2 pick trade in terms of sheer numbers, please see this interesting evaluation from harvardsportsanalysis.wordpress.com. 

    For the purposes of analyzing a trade from No. 6, let us use the No. 16 pick, which is currently held by the New York Jets.  

    The Jets are always very aggressive in their offseason pursuits, as evidenced once again by their controversial trade for quarterback Tim Tebow.  

    For the Jets to move up to the No. 6 spot (and no I am not suggesting them as a potential trade partner necessarily), they would have to give up the No. 16 pick (1,000 points), their No. 47 (430 points) and No. 77 (205 points).

    The Jets total would come to 1,635 points worth of compensation.  That would give the Rams just slightly more draft value in exchange for the No. 6 pick (1,600 points).

    In this example, the Rams would still have a middle first-rounder and would have picked up a third second-round pick and a second third-round selection. 

    If the Rams trade down into the range of 10 to 16, they still get a player they love (perhaps a Fletcher Cox, David DeCastro, Justin Blackmon, Michael Floyd, Melvin Ingram, Dontari Poe, Michael Brockers, Riley Reiff or Kendall Wright) while obtaining some exceptional additional compensation.

    As for Blackmon, who is highly desired by Rams Nation, he is now pegged to go at No. 13 by Dane Brugler in his brand new mock at cbssports.com.

    The Rams trading down into this area and getting Blackmon would qualify as one of many very nice potential outcomes for St. Louis.

Best Case Scenario Segment 3: Players Fall to Rams During Entire 2012 NFL Draft

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    In best case scenario segment three, it would be ideal if players that St. Louis salivates over fall to them throughout the duration of the draft. 

    No, I am not talking about first-rounders being available in round six.

    I am talking about guys who St. Louis had with middle to late first-round grades being at the top of their board with one of their two second-round choices.

    I am talking about prospects who the Rams had an early to middle round No. 2 grade being there at the top of round three, or prospects who had a solid fourth or fifth round projection being there for the taking in round seven.  

    Different teams with different scouts and GMs look at various players differently and have different grades on different guys; this can and does occur.

    Furthermore, those famous runs can occur at any time when you see four or five offensive guards go over eight or 10 picks.  When that type of thing occurs, other players slide pushing them to team's who covet them.  

    Hopefully, throughout the entirety of the 2012 NFL Draft, those types of things will occur for the Rams. 

    After all, is it not time for St. Louis to have some good fortune after far too many recent rough drafts? 

Best Case Scenario Segment 4: Injury or Character Risks Pan out for the Rams

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    If the Rams end up grabbing a highly talented player who poses some type of risk (like an Alshon Jeffery) or one with an injury concern (like Josh Chapman), best case scenario four would see any players selected from this genre actually working out.  

    For example, if the Rams went for Jeffery in round No. 2 (not pushing for this, by the way), he could be successful in Randy Moss fashion—sliding a bit on draft day because of character concerns and putting up Hall of Fame quality numbers. 

    Or, if the Rams grab a guy with an injury history like Chapman (who played with a torn ACL last season) and he ends up with an injury-free, stellar NFL career.

    A couple of others who could fall into some type of concern area could include Michael Floyd, Janoris Jenkins or Dontari Poe.

Best Case Scenario Segment 5: Rams Fill All Areas of Need

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    St. Louis currently has eight picks in the 2012 NFL Draft.  

    If the Rams pull off best case scenario segment two and trade down from No. 6, they would end up with 10 picks (according to my example).

    In a fifth best case segment, the Rams would adequately address the following positions, in no order, via the 2012 NFL Draft:

    • Wide Receiver
    • Offensive Tackle
    • Left Guard
    • Defensive Tackle
    • Outside Linebacker
    • Cornerback
    • Tight End
    • Punter

    With 10 picks, the Rams could fill all eight above needs and have a couple of extra picks left over.

    St. Louis could then draft a couple of players at a couple of those positions with the extra picks, perhaps at wide receiver and defensive tackle, two spots where St. Louis could use multiple players. 

    Either way, if the Rams can address all areas of need in this draft, they will have achieved yet another best case scenario. 

Best Case Scenario Segment 6: Rams Get Best Player Available While Meeting Needs

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    A sixth and final best case scenario segment would see the Rams not only meeting all of their needs (as touched on in the last slide) but in doing so while taking the best player available all three days of the NFL Draft. 

    Any team will tell you that would be ideal, although that does not always occur for a plethora or reasons. 

    However, if the Rams can stick to their board and take the BPA (or someone awfully close to it) while simultaneously meeting their needs, that would certainly be a sixth best case scenario segment for St. Louis in the 2012 NFL Draft. 

    Shane Gray covers the St. Louis Rams daily as a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. You are encouraged to check out the rest of his work here. Gray also owns and operates stlramscentral.com.