Now one full calendar year removed from the 2012 NFL Draft, fans of the St. Louis Rams have to be thankful for the way things played out. No, I’m not talking about the Robert Griffin III trade necessarily; although that did play a significant role in the way things eventually progressed. What fans need to be most thankful for is the player that the Rams didn’t get in the 2012 selection in wide receiver Justin Blackmon.
Everyone knows by now that St. Louis moved up in round one of the 2013 draft to land playmaker Tavon Austin, but it was just a year ago that they nearly pulled the trigger on a different hopeful difference maker in Blackmon. After dealing down from the second overall pick to number six in the RG3 trade, the Rams appeared to have their eyes on Blackmon with no teams interested in receivers between the top of the draft and their new slot. The Jacksonville Jaguars made a move up the draft board to trade ahead of the Rams and select Blackmon leading to another trade down the order for St. Louis.
While this narrative is really nothing more than back story at this point, the real reason fans of the Rams should be thrilled with how things turned out is because of what has transpired with Blackmon in Jacksonville. Not long after being selected, the receiver was charged with DUI when his blood-alcohol content was .24 percent according to authorities. He has yet to be punished by the league for this incident, but inside Adam Schefter has said that the discipline is coming soon.
Obviously a suspension will hurt the Jags, and the rocky start to Blackmon’s career has already cast doubt on his lofty selection a year ago. What makes things even worse for Jacksonville (and better for St. Louis) is the fact that Blackmon’s 64 catches for 865 yards and five touchdowns were very comparable to the total production that the Rams received from Brian Quick (second rounder) and Chris Givens (fourth rounder) last year. Givens had 42 receptions for 698 yards and three touchdowns while Quick added 11 catches of his own for 156 yards and two scores. When added together, their 53 combined catches for 854 yards and five touchdowns is nearly identical to Blackmon’s numbers minus the off-field headaches of course.
In short, the Rams should be thrilled with the way General Manager Les Snead has decided to take this team over the past two offseasons. His direction along with Head Coach Jeff Fisher’s on-field guidance has led this team from the doldrums to a legitimate playoff contender in 2013. And while the RG3 deal played significant role in this turnaround, the decision and fortune not to have selected Blackmon has also made a big impact on the Rams’ current state of affairs.