Stating the obvious here, but Tim Tebow’s desire to change his throwing motion won’t impress the brass at St. Louis, who need to knock the first pick in the draft out of the park. St. Louis finished their one-win season just 7-9 ATS, meaning that their fans didn’t even have fun betting on their games. With +20,000 (that’s four zeroes) odds to win Super Bowl XLV , the St. Louis Rams are at the bottom of the barrel in NFL futures betting.
They’re the worst Super Bowl bet in football for 2011, a step below Tampa, Detroit, and Kansas at 15:1 odds. The only difference is that those teams have all found their quarterbacks of the present and future. Will the Rams elect to take a quarterback with the first overall pick just like Detroit did last year?
The only position that the Rams don’t need help in is running back, where Steven Jackson serves as the team’s sole anchor. They need to refurbish every spot on their sordid roster in a quick hurry and the best thing they can do for their fans is draft an offensive stud that can put fans in the seats. Of course, pleasing the fans and appeasing your winning record are two different things.
While Tim Tebow will make his appearance at the combine to show off his awesome physical gifts, which we’re well aware of, what teams are more interested in is his throwing motion. To put it simply, Tebow has the same kind of physical gifts as JaMarcus Russell, combined with the bulldozing rushing of a fullback in a tight end's body, with Byron Leftwich’s throwing motion. He’s promised to fix it, but I guarantee that nothing he does at the combine or at his pro day in Florida will boost him into the top five in this year’s draft.
The Rams, Lions, Bucs, Redskins, Chiefs, Seahawks, and Browns have the first seven picks in the draft with a combined record of 24-88 SU. Of those teams, only the Seahawks are absolutely desperate for a quarterback with Matt Hasselbeck entering his twilight years. Yet Tebow isn’t the only quarterback option in this draft. The Florida Gator is just the one that has the most star power.
Through the draft, there are seemingly only two options worth taking with the No. 1 pick to fill the void left by Marc Bulger. So, let’s break those two down real quickly:
Sam Bradford (QB) – Oklahoma Sooners
Pros – Insanely good vision, powerful arm, and a knack for scoring touchdowns. Has a big, prototypical quarterback frame at 6'4" and 214 pounds and is poised under pressure. Incredible touchdown numbers in 2008 and a former Heisman winner. The highest graded quarterback in the draft.
Cons – Never played away from home as an Oklahoma native and is coming off shoulder surgery from an injury during the college football betting season he sustained in Week One.
Jimmy Clausen (QB) – Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Pros – Accustomed to playing in a pro-style offense under Charlie Weis at Notre Dame. Bigger than you might think at 6'3" and 223 pounds and has terrific mechanics. Very intelligent, a gamer with a tremendous will to win. Carried Notre Dame on his shoulders as a Heisman candidate this season. A fiery leader.
Cons – Tainted by the Charlie Weis touch of death.
In my opinion, it’s a tossup between Bradford and Clausen. They are the two premier quarterbacks in the draft and both could very well go as high as top-10 should teams like Washington, Seattle, or Buffalo choose them in the first round. St. Louis needs stability under center the same way this season’s “24” needs new writers (I save my rants concerning Jack Bauer’s deserved “carte blanche” status in U.S. security matters for my inner circles). Taking either of those quarterbacks would not be a criticized move for the Rams. Bradford has the physical gifts, and Clausen isn’t far behind athletically.
Michael Vick A Possibility?
However, the other option for St. Louis is signing or trading for Michael Vick. The Eagles have no long term plan for Vick and I doubt that they’re prepared to pay him $5.6 million to sit on the bench in 2010. Vick has the experience and the unreal athletic potential to turn things around in St. Louis like he did in Atlanta as a rookie. With his past behind him, he also has the maturity.
Yet, Vick is a project for teams because of his unique assets as a quarterback, and his passing has been questionable at best. Still, putting a veteran in the backfield alongside Steven Jackson shouldn’t be outside of the box for St. Louis. Vick isn’t the greatest leader in the locker room, but he’s an experienced one and after the botch job done by the horrendous leadership of an oft-injured Marc Bulger, the Rams need to play it safe no matter what.
Playing It Safe
If they want to play it safe, then the pick in this draft for the Rams and Lions is taking the outstanding defensive lineman pegged at the top of everyone’s big boards. Ndamukong Suh is a disruptive force as a defensive tackle with many claiming he can be the type of game changing tackle that Warren Sapp was in his prime. That’s a big bill to fit, but anyone who watched the Big 12 Championship game where Suh nearly ruined Colt McCoy’s life knows that it’s well deserved.
The other choice is Oklahoma State’s Gerald McCoy, who is graded as being more athletic and dynamic than Suh. With great top-end speed and a great nose for the game, McCoy could be the disruptive force that the Rams so desperately need on defense. In my honest opinion, Suh is much more deserving of a first overall pick but you can’t go wrong either way.
Trading Down To Draft Bradford, Clausen
If the Rams elect to trade down, especially considering how much money they’ll have to pay the top overall pick with no immediate returns in sight, they can still have a shot at drafting Bradford or Clausen. One of the likeliest scenarios is trading with Tampa Bay, who would love nothing more than to add Suh to an improving defense packed to the brim with young talent.
Trading down would only happen if the Rams are seriously considering taking a quarterback with their first pick and there are plenty of teams who see Suh as a prospect that comes around once in a generation. If St. Louis opens a market for their top overall pick, then there will be plenty of buyers. Suh is simply that good.
Losing in an embarrassing fashion in 2009 has put the Rams in a strong position for at least the 2010 NFL Draft. This draft is loaded with talent at key positions on the offensive and defensive lines, boasting four potential All-Pros at safety and corner with a flurry of studs at skill positions. At the end of the day, once Ndamukong Suh has had a chance to impress them, the Rams will be very hard pressed to turn away a talent like his, especially considering all the moves they’ve done in the recent past to shore up their defense. All we know for sure is that the Rams won’t be taking Tim Tebow.