2010 NFL Draft: The Rams Must Continue To Go Offense

David LeonCorrespondent IApril 23, 2010

PALO ALTO, CA - NOVEMBER 28:  Toby Gerhart #7 of the Stanford Cardinal is tackled by Manti Te'o #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Stanford Stadium on November 28, 2009 in Palo Alto, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Early reports on Day 2 of the draft state that Ram GM Billy Devaney would like to deal the No. 33 pick (first in the second round) to see what he can get for it.  Former GM and NFL Network analyst Mike Lombardi believes he can get better than chart value for the pick.  Former GM Charlie Casserly concurs.

"He's going to be worn out with calls for that top pick in the second round," Casserly said. "If I were the Rams publicity manager, I would film spots with Devaney on the phone all day."

"The longer he waits and the more he plays this thing out, the higher those offers will go.  You can take that [draft-value] chart and throw it away, because it probably won't apply today," Lombardi said.

Other reports hold that Steve Spagnuolo would like to bring some balance to this draft by seeking some defensive players in the second and third rounds.  Some believe that Devaney will trade back in order to try to acquire dynamic defensive linemen such as UCLA's Brian Price , the PAC-10 defensive player of the year, and USC's Everson Griffen.

While the notion of raiding draft picks and seeking balance is generally good, I take a contrarian view today.  If the player we need is on the board right now, and likely not to be later, we cannot afford to trade this pick.  You take him right on the spot.

Furthermore, having spent an absolute No. 1 pick to Sam Bradford—not to mention astounding amounts of money to be negotiated later—we have now crossed the Rubicon.  We have to be totally committed to do everything necessary and possible to making Sam successful.  This means abandoning the defense and going offense the rest of the way in this draft. 

It is my contention that Devaney would serve the team best by selecting either Charlie Brown (OT USC), or Golden Tate (WR Notre Dame).  

With that said, both Sam Bradford & Jimmy Clausen were recently interviewed on the Dan Patrick show.  Both were asked "If you could chose only one, which would you prefer: A stud left tackle or a major play-maker receiver?"  Without hesitation both answered "a stud left tackle."  This is not surprising.  It's hard for a quarterback to throw touchdown passes when he is flat on his back in the hospital awaiting surgery.

Given that information, we would presume Charlie Brown is the first man off the board at the top of the second round.  However, the Rams just spent the No. 2 overall pick in the 2009 draft on a stud left tackle, Jason Smith.  He's a good one, and he is set to take over the LT position.  Further, Flozell Adams remains on the free agent market.  Although I shudder to think of it, Alex Barron remains on the roster also.

It is my contention that Golden Tate should be the first man off the board in the second round.  He answers a need that cannot be filled any other way.  He runs the full route tree.  He is brave enough to catch filthy passes in high-speed traffic.  He does dynamic things with the ball after he makes the catch.  He would be a quality receiver for Sam Bradford.  Together with Laurent Robinson, Donnie Avery, and Danny Amendola, we might actually be able to go four-wide and threaten somebody.

It is very difficult to project who might be available in the third round.  The draft gets crazier the further we move along.  More trades and chaos picks happen, and the board gets shattered.  

However, some rumors hold that Stanford RB Toby Gerhart is sliding, and may well be available when the Rams select at No. 65.  It's my contention that he has to be prefered over Ole Miss RB/WR Dexter McCluster , despite McCluster's higher grade.  Both are stupendous candidates in the third round.

I am a huge fan of Dexter McCluster, and reports hold that he was interviewed early by the Rams.  However, Gerhart is a rare power back with breakaway speed.  You might argue that the last one of these who came along was Adrian Peterson.  Before Adrian, it was Steven Jackson.  Gerhart would give us a major insurance policy against injury and/or the decline of Steven Jackson.

We should remember that Steven is a power back who has completed six full years in the NFL.  He is entering his seventh season.  Very few running backs in this league make it to their second contract.  Average life expectancy is just about four years.  When the drop off comes, it is usually swift and sudden, as was the case with LaDainian Tomlinson.   Gerhart would be good insurance, assuring us of continuity in the running game.  He could also spell Steve, extending his career.

Whatever the case maybe in the third round, the focus must remain on equipping Sam Bradford with the tools he needs to succeed.