St. Louis Rams NFL Draft Updates: Latest News, Trade Rumors, Storylines
Between last month and now, we are equally clueless as to the fate of the Rams' No. 6 overall pick.
We've heard rumors regarding the usual suspects (Justin Blackmon, Trent Richardson), but the outcome is far from being solidified. Clearly, we'll have to wait until it all plays out before we can totally satisfy our anticipation.
Will Richardson slip past Cleveland and fall into the Rams' lap? Will Blackmon finally be cemented as their top pick after months of being the fan favorite? Or will they trade the No. 6 pick altogether?
There are several directions the team can take, but we won't have a clue until it happens. Jeff Fisher and Co. could take the conventional route (Blackmon, Richardson), or they could surprise us all with a bombshell.
In the meantime, while you're trying to crack the case, you can skim through this article for all of the latest info on the Rams' upcoming draft, including news, rumors, speculation and a list of prospects who are currently being eyeballed by the Rams.
Latest Rams Draft News, Rumors and Speculation
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There are plenty of options for the St. Louis Rams at No. 6 overall.
They can possibly draft either Trent Richardson (Alabama) or Justin Blackmon (Oklahoma State), who seem to be the two front-runners at the moment, or they could potentially find a trade partner and move out of the top 10 altogether in exchange for additional picks.
With so much uncertainty, all we can do is follow the rumors (there are plenty this time of the year, even if most of them are complete garbage), as well as track the team's pro day visits and private workouts.
Apparently, the Rams absolutely loved Blackmon's pro day.
Blackmon answered questions regarding his speed after running a 4.41-second 40-yard dash. And regardless of his workout, his production speaks for itself. He racked up 3,304 receiving yards and 38 touchdowns over the last two years.
Blackmon has frequently been mocked as the Rams' ideal pick at No. 6 overall and is likely the fan favorite.
While Blackmon may be the fan favorite, it doesn't really matter if Richardson is Jeff Fisher's favorite.
If Richardson gets past Cleveland at No. 4, it wouldn't be the slightest bit shocking if he's the Rams' pick, even if Blackmon is still available.
Pro days attended:
Note: This is a list of pro day visits where the Rams' attendance was confirmed. It's likely an incomplete list due to a number of unconfirmed visits.
Private workout visits:
Note: Again, the actual list is likely much longer, but these are the visits that are confirmed.
Latest Rams Trade Rumors and Speculation
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Every year, there are a number of various rumors regarding possible trades on draft day.
Teams purposefully release a considerable amount of misinformation during draft season as a strategy. It helps to hide their true intentions, while it can potentially expose the intentions of other teams.
For this reason, every rumor you hear leading up to the draft should be taken lightly, but let's go ahead and explore some possibilities for the Rams.
The No. 6 overall pick
The Rams initially had the No. 2 overall pick, but they swapped with Washington in a blockbuster deal that landed them Washington's first-round picks in 2013 and 2014, as well as its second-round pick in 2012.
However, are the Rams ready to stop at No. 6? Maybe not.
Jeff Fisher has acknowledged there's a "very realistic" possibility the Rams would be willing to trade down yet again under the right circumstances.
It wouldn't be the most ideal move if the team wants to acquire an elite talent in the draft, but since the team is building for the long term, picking up the extra draft picks makes sense.
The No. 33 overall pick
Ever since the NFL draft took on a new format in 2010, the No .33 overall pick (the first pick of the second round) has increased in value.
In the past, they had both the first and second rounds on the opening night of the draft. Now they only do the first round.
Luckily for the Rams, if a highly valued prospect slips into the second round, they now have approximately 24 hours to work out a deal (as opposed to several minutes, which was the case in the past).
So while there are no clear trade partners at the moment, the Rams' top pick in the second round is certainly something to keep an eye on.
There were recent rumors suggesting the Rams are willing to trade up with Cleveland to acquire the No. 4 overall pick.
Presumably, the trade would be an attempt to secure Trent Richardson as the pick. And if he truly is the Rams' top target in the draft, it would almost make sense. However, the Rams were at No. 2 overall and had the option of trading with Washington (No. 6 overall) or Cleveland. The Rams chose Washington.
So why would the Rams make this deal when they could have just traded with Cleveland to begin with?
A move like this would make first-year general manager Les Snead look very foolish, which is why the rumor is most likely bogus.
The Rams clearly need a reliable target for Sam Bradford and they cannot afford to exit the draft without a top receiver.
So if the Rams draft Trent Richardson with the top pick, forcing them to miss out on Justin Blackmon, then what can they do?
This is purely speculation, but if the Rams fail to grab Blackmon with the top pick, don't be surprised if they trade back into the first round to grab a top receiver, such as Stephen Hill (Georgia Tech) or Rueben Randle (LSU).
The Rams are so desperate at the position that they'd almost be forced to pull a move like that in such a scenario.
Is the Love for Justin Blackmon Real?
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A solid majority of experts agree Justin Blackmon is the most likely player to be drafted by the Rams at No. 6 overall.
At this point, no player is more widely associated with the Rams' top pick than Blackmon. And if you saw the Rams play offense for even two minutes last season, you know why.
However, is the Rams front office as enthusiastic about the receiver as the fanbase?
At 6'1" and 207 pounds, Blackmon is slightly undersized compared to some of the recent top receivers, such as A.J. Green (6'4", 207 pounds) and Julio Jones (6'3", 220 pounds). And while he lacks imposing size, he also fails to possess blazing straight-line speed (although, his 4.41-second 40-yard dash at his pro day put some minds to ease).
With that in mind, is Fisher as comfortable with Blackmon as some of the fans?
If that scenario comes to fruition, it could be a nightmare for Fisher if he's not sold on Blackmon. All the top players are off the board and Blackmon is the only remaining pick that makes sense.
Sure, he could reach for Riley Reiff (Iowa) or Fletcher Cox (Mississippi State) in that scenario, but he'd then be arrested for inciting a riot in the city of St. Louis.
So if Fisher does question Blackmon's talent, he's surely praying for someone to trade up for quarterback Ryan Tannehill in the top five, which would allow Richardson or Claiborne to slip to the Rams' No. 6 pick.
However, if Fisher is buying the hype, he's in a good position.
If Fisher approves of Blackmon, that means there are six elite players in his mind (rather than five). This guarantees he'll get one of them at No. 6.
And after all, there's not a whole lot to dislike about Blackmon outside some of his measurables. Blackmon has elite body control and utilizes crisp route running. He looked like a man among boys during his time at Oklahoma State and was capable of completely dominating games.
If 38 touchdowns in two seasons and two Biletnikoff Awards can't convince a team to take a 6'1" receiver at No. 6 overall, then nothing will.
Restock the Offense, or Stay True to the Draft Board?
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It will be interesting to see what strategy Jeff Fisher and Les Snead utilize on draft day.
Clearly, the Rams need help on offense.
In 2011, they averaged just 12.1 points per game and scored just 16 offensive touchdowns (both are NFL-lows). They averaged just 179.4 passing yards a game (30th in NFL) and had just three plays that went for 40 or more yards (worst in NFL). And to top it off, their offensive line surrendered 55 sacks (more than any other team).
The Rams need additional help on the offensive line, but they're clearly in desperate need of firepower.
With that in mind, will Fisher and Co. purposefully focus on acquiring offensive talent in the early rounds, even if it means missing out on a slightly more talented defensive player?
With a $78 million quarterback under center in Sam Bradford, it would certainly make sense to reach for offensive talent, but only if it's a slight reach.
However, while the overall success of the team certainly depends on Bradford's personal success, there's a decent chance Fisher will stay true to his draft board. The Rams are not going to turn things around in one offseason, so it only makes sense they pick the best football players no matter what.