Lessons Learned from St. Louis Rams, Snead and Fisher's 2012 Draft Strategy

Sigmund BloomNFL Draft Lead WriterJune 19, 2012

ST. LOUIS, MO - MAY 12: Head coach Jeff Fischer of the St. Louis Rams watches his players during rookie mini camp at the ContinuityX Training Center on May 12, 2012 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

The St. Louis Rams' draft season was so action-packed that they made the biggest trade of the entire draft more than a month before it happened. New general manager Les Snead and head coach Jeff Fisher were movers and shakers throughout the first two rounds. They did more to immediately shape a roster to their sensibilities (and lay the groundwork for future growth via the draft) than any new regime in recent memory.

What did we learn about their philosophy?


The Rams are always open to talking trade

In addition to pulling off the trade down from No. 2 to No. 6 in March that landed two future first-round picks and a 2012 second-round pick, the Rams also traded down again from No. 6 once the pick was on the clock and again when their newly acquired and third second-round pick was on the clock.

The results were mixed, as the Rams got a player who was surely a top target at 14 (the pick they traded down to) in defensive tackle Michael Brockers, but they missed out on two of their top outside linebacker prospects when both Mychal Kendricks and Bobby Wagner went between the 45th pick and the 50th pick.

With the Rams having extra first-round picks the next two years, expect more draft day moves from Fisher and Snead.


Fisher and Snead are not risk-averse

With the first pick of the second round, they took Brian Quick, a small-school wide receiver who might be a bit raw over many receivers that were rated higher by the draft community consensus. Quick's size-athleticism combination at receiver was probably in the top three in the draft, along with Stephen Hill and Michael Floyd.

While at Tennessee, Jeff Fisher teams were known for taking the athlete first and worrying about what football player they would become second, and Quick fits that modus operandi.

The second pick of the second round was Janoris Jenkins, who many analysts had tabbed as the biggest character risk in the entire draft. Some suggested that teams should remove him from their boards completely, even though he more than held his own against the likes of AJ Green and Julio Jones before he got booted from Florida's football team.


The Rams believe small-school players can make it on the big stage

Perhaps Janoris Jenkins shouldn't count since he was originally at Florida, one of the biggest programs in the country, but even if you exclude him, two of the Rams' first five picks came from small schools. Trumaine Johnson, a defensive back from Montana, was the first of the third round, joining Jenkins and Quick as small-schoolers with big expectations. 

The Rams weren't done taking small-school players after the first two days of the draft. They took a kicker (Greg Zuerlien) from Missouri Western and a running back from Abilene Christian (Daryl Richardson, who is Cincinnati Bengal Bernard Scott's younger brother) in the sixth and seventh round, respectively.