As I write, the Rams still own the first pick of the second round and we are less than one hour away from the announcement of the next draft choice. And looking at the lists of who's available, I don't see a strong candidate for the Rams to draft -- in short, who's the BATFAN?
I'm stealing this term -- Best Available That Fits Any Need -- from Josh over at Roar Of the Lions, who uses it to describe the draft strategy of Lions GM Martin Mayhew. The words "Lions" + "Draft" + "Strategy" just don't seem to go together, do they? But I have to admit, Mayhew and the Lions have been the model of aggressive deal-making all offseason, and both Suh (#2 overall) and Jahvid Best (#30) are players I would have loved to see on the Rams roster.
After the break, here's a list of players being touted, organized by position, as the draft restarts:
Jimmy Clausen, Colt McCoy -- obviously not a fit for the Rams any more, but just as obviously the juiciest bait in Billy Devaney's lobster trap as he trolls around looking for a trade down. Clausen lovers are still in shock, but his fall reminds me of Gilbert Arenas's fall in the NBA draft -- he used it as motivation and outperformed nearly every other pick in the draft until his idiotic handgun trick made him the poster boy for bad behavior.
Defensive Line/ Pass Rush
OLB/DE Sergio Kindle, DE Carlos Dunlap, DT Brian Price, DT Linval Joseph, DT Terrence Cody
@RamsHerd Sergio Kindle is someone they got to pick
I like the possibilities of Kindle as the Rams' year-too-late replacement for Aaron Curry, who I was very high on in last year's draft. But I'm both fascinated and terrified by the idea of drafting Mount Cody. Watching the Rams toy with gigantic, slow, out-of-shape Hollis Thomas last season, I wonder if Spagnuolo is dreaming up a scheme that revolves around a massive interior presence like his. Cody doesn't go side to side, doesn't rush the passer, he just creates an epicenter of destruction and a new center of gravity for the defensive line. I can almost see it working. But I can just as easily see it completely blowing up in the Rams' faces.
Big Target Receiver/Tight End
TE Rob Gronkowski, WR Arrelious Benn, WR Brandon LaFell, WR Damien Williams
Rams now weighing multiple offers for pick No. 33 but also might hold tight to take a WR for Sam Bradford. #nfldraft
Gronkowski is the big question mark here, especially as the Rams showed a lot of love for Jermaine Gresham. Like Bradford, though, he missed most of the season, and back injuries tend to be pretty pernicious. Most of these receivers sit a shade below smaller but flashier guys like Golden Tate, and it's easy to see at least one of them falling to round three. LaFell is probably still my favorite of this group, but I like any WR who can come in and play the Hines Ward role -- running physical routes, making the tough grabs, and delivering the blocks downfield that can turn SJ's 20-30 yard runs into breakaway touchdowns.
S Taylor Mays, CB Chris Cook
@RamsHerd rams could use Mays..especially with Atogwe in so many trade talks.
[Edit: forgot my Mays commentary when I first published!] Taylor Mays is an intriguing talent, but one who has consistently hurt his case this offseason with poor play, poor attitude, or both -- most notably in the Senior Bowl. I'm also not ready to move Atogwe out of the Rams' plans for 2011 until his contract status is resolved. He's a player who did everything in good faith last offseason -- attended all the workouts, minicamps, preseason, despite not having a contract. As a reward, the Rams franchised him and failed to negotiate long term. Maybe this is a sign that the Rams don't want him that badly, but it's also possible that they do want him ... but at a lower price than he and his agent are asking for. All of the bargaining this offseason, including tendering him at the lowest level, leans more toward the side of gaining contract leverage with Atogwe, rather than trade leverage with other teams.
Complementary running back
Jahvid Best, Toby Gerhart, Dexter McCluster The Best pickup by the Lions really trumped this pick, and I wonder if they were strongly motivated to move up by an inkling that the Rams really liked him at #33. Gerhart is being touted in a lot of corners, and McCluster is a pre-draft crush of mine, but I don't see the value here at the top of the round. Depending on how deep they could trade down to, though, this becomes a real option.
OT Bruce Campbell, OT Vladimir Ducasse, OT Charles Brown ... or OT Jared Gaither Earlier today I tweeted that perhaps my ideal draft scenario involved trading down with Cleveland (targeting Colt McCoy), and sending their #38 overall pick to Baltimore for Jared Gaither, who has been put on the trade block.
@RamsHerd it's rumored that gaither has that barron like attitude
That could be so, but Gaither is much more technically sound, and plays a much smarter brand of football. I don't have a categorical problem with a "quiet" player, even one who is withdrawn in the locker room. I have a problem if that translates into stupid, lackadaisical play like the oft-penalized Barron has shown more often than not. ProFootballFocus's ratings absolutely love him, and making the move here would be an important part of protecting our investment in Bradford.
Rams, trade this pick!
Couldn't have said it better myself.