Top 10 First-Round Trade Options for St. Louis Rams in 2014 NFL Draft
Top 10 First-Round Trade Options for St. Louis Rams in 2014 NFL Draft
Just like the past decade, the primary high-note for the St. Louis Rams’ 2013 season occurred during the NFL Draft when expectations were raised and some promising new blood was added to the roster. Many of those young faces made a serious impression in year one, and the team is hoping to make yet another impactful haul in the 2014 version come May.
This year will be the last chance for the team to reap the benefits of the Robert Griffin III deal as the draft choices from the Washington Redskins run out after this season. That doesn’t mean the Rams won’t try to replenish that stockpile, however, as general manager Les Snead has already hinted at the fact that he is more than willing to deal by the time draft day rolls around or potentially even before it.
There are a number of intriguing prospects at or near the top of many big boards at this point, and though that figures to change a time or two between now and May, the Rams could certainly extort another bounty from a team looking to land an impact player. The No. 2 overall selection that they own will be awfully attractive with the Houston Texans appearing locked in on Teddy Bridgewater at No. 1 overall, and that means any team looking for the second-best quarterback – Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel or Derek Carr – or possibly an impact pass-rusher – hello, Jadeveon Clowney.
Plenty of teams will be looking to take that next step this offseason, and it seems the Rams’ No. 2 overall pick will be a launching point for anyone interested in trading up. Here are ten trade options the team could be looking at in the next few months leading up to the 2014 NFL Draft.
10. Oakland Raiders
The Oakland Raiders seem to have made it a yearly right of passage to foul up the draft in any way possible. Though they have Terrelle Pryor and Matt McGloin on the roster, landing a true franchise quarterback could be their top priority this offseason. Maybe a kid like Blake Bortles with his impressive measurables will again intrigue this team prone to falling for the eye-test rather than on-field performances.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This one may seem unlikely, but logic says that all of the teams ahead of them at No. 7 overall want to stay put aside from the Rams. Tampa needs to address their need for a playmaking wide receiver to pair with Vincent Jackson, and Sammy Morris would be a great fit. It wouldn’t be a best choice to chase a receiver they could potentially still land at their current spot, but someone else could look to trade up just ahead of them to steal that opportunity.
8. New York Giants
The only way this one makes sense is if offensive tackles start getting pushed up the board like they did last offseason. With the plethora of quarterbacks that seems unlikely this time around, but the Giants desperately need offensive line time to keep Eli Manning alive. Jake Matthews has the family lines working in his favor, and he could give the team yet another player to start the turnaround in the trenches.
7. Buffalo Bills
E.J. Manuel needs a reliable go-to receiver devoid of health concerns – ahem, Stevie Johnson – and Mike Evans could be that guy in Buffalo. He is a beastly red zone target at 6-foot-5, 225-pounds, and size translates at any level of competition. The team has developing targets in the sure-handed Robert Woods and speed-demon Marquise Goodwin, but Evans would help round out the group and turn them into a truly formidable trio.
6. Atlanta Falcons
Trading up for a defensive end isn’t unprecedented, but it doesn’t exactly seem like the wisest move given the number of areas this team showed to have issues with during the 2013 season. Still, the Falcons have been searching for an impact pass-rusher for quite some time, and Jadeveon Clowney is the quintessential impact defensive end.
5. Tennessee Titans
This is my sleeper team to move up the draft order and make a play for an immediate impact at quarterback. Injuries have made Jake Locker’s future uncertain as a franchise guy, and Ryan Fitzpatrick is merely a stopgap type of option. We all know that this team has a formidable running game already with Chris Johnson, but could you imagine the threat with Johnny Manziel taking the snaps?
4. Jacksonville Jaguars
This type of a trade up would likely only happen if multiple teams started a bidding war to move up and get their franchise quarterback, but it’s clear that’s what the Jags need more than anything. Johnny Manziel would put fannies in the seats, but so would Blake Bortles given his Florida after attending UCF. They could be just desperate enough to pull a Cleveland Browns-esque trade up one spot from a couple of years ago to land their man under center.
3. Detroit Lions
They have a different general manager now with Matt Millen long gone in the Motor City, but drafting a wide receiver early still could be in the cards for this team. With many of the teams lined up in the early portion of the draft thinking QB, perhaps the Lions will have to move up to find their No. 2 receiving option to pair with Calvin Johnson. Sammy Watkins is a hot commodity currently, and a nice pre-draft testing performance could vault him even further up draft boards.
2. Cleveland Browns
Speaking of the Browns, they are certainly looking to start over at QB yet again after the failed experiment of Brandon Weeden. Whether they fall in love with Johnny Manziel or decide that Blake Bortles is the man to lead their franchise forward, the Browns are a real threat to trade up into that No. 2 slot.
1. Minnesota Vikings
This is the team to look out for when it comes to a potential deal. At their current selection slotted in at No. 8 overall, it’s quite possible the Vikings would have to settle for the fourth-best quarterback in the draft. That’s exactly what they did the last time they selected QB in the first-round with Christian Ponder, and you see how that has worked out for them. Moving up to get the showman in Johnny Manziel or the surging Blake Bortles would be a great move for this franchise desperate to win something before Adrian Peterson runs out of gas.
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