Wheeling and dealing lands Rams extra choices

The Sports Xchange
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To assess the first two days of the Rams' draft, it's necessary to go deeper than to simply evaluate the five players the Rams selected in the first three rounds.

What the Rams accomplished must be viewed from within the prism of where they were as the new league year approached in mid-March.

With the second choice in the first round, general manager Les Snead and coach Jeff Fisher knew they had a precious commodity because of the obvious knowledge that quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III would be first two picks in the draft.

In unprecedented fashion, the Rams were able to engineer a deal with Washington that was completed before the start of the league year and landed them with the sixth pick in the first round, a second-round choice (39th overall) as well as first-round picks in 2013 and 2014.

Meanwhile, as their evaluations unfolded, it became apparent that a team with numerous needs could benefit from a draft that had a large number of very good players that were rated close to each other.

The plan came to fruition as the Rams watched Cleveland trade to select running back Trent Richardson and Jacksonville jump in front of them for wide receiver Justin Blackmon in the first round.

The Rams were in position to take Louisiana State cornerback Morris Claiborne, but instead moved down eight slots with Dallas and acquired the Cowboys' second-round pick (45th overall).

Asked about the rationale behind the deal, Snead said, "I'm not going to name the players but there were multiple players that we really liked at that pick (No. 6), but we also had a plan that we talked about all week. If they didn't fall there then we would try to move back and pick up another pick, and the goal was to pick up another second so that we could spread the pick and get more and also get a player we wanted."

That player was defensive tackle Michael Brockers.

There was a consideration to trading down again, but coach Jeff Fisher said, "We were prepared to. We had set the value. There were other players on the board, but we couldn't wait any longer. We couldn't pass up this opportunity."

When the dust cleared and their dealing was done, the Rams had Brockers, plus two additional second-round picks and first-round picks the next two years.

Then, on the second day of the draft, the Rams traded the pick they got from the Cowboys to move down five spots and pick up a fifth-round choice, the one round where the Rams entered the draft with no selections.

BEST PICK
Cornerback Janoris Jenkins - It could end up being the worst picks in Jenkins fails to mature, but his natural talent gives him tremendous upside.

COULD SURPRISE
Guard Rokevious Watkins - Played numerous positions in two years in college, but could be a stalwart at guard if takes to the coaching of Paul Boudreau.

A closer look at the Rams' picks

Round 1/14 - Michael Brockers, DT, 6-5, 322, Louisiana State

A quality run-stuffer in college, the Rams expect defensive line coach Mike Waufle to also help him develop as a pass rusher. But stopping the run will be important on a defense that has struggled mightily in that department.

Round 2/33 - Brian Quick, WR, 6-4, 222, Appalachian State

The Rams love his size, hands and ability to snatch the ball. They aren't worried the level of competition in college. General manager Les Snead said of the receivers they worked out, Quick "was as good, or better, than all of them."

Round 2/39 - Janoris Jenkins, CB, 5-10, 193, North Alabama

Boom or bust, the Rams rolled the dice on Jenkins who likely would have been a high first-round pick had he had not had a host of off-field issues in college. Coach Jeff Fisher said the team will have a plan and that "we're not concerned about him."

Round 2/50 - Isaiah Pead, RB, 5-10, 193, Cincinnati

The Rams finally made a commitment to address a complement to Steven Jackson, who will be 29 in July. Pead is viewed as a change-of-pace option behind Jackson and he is expected to contribute as a receiver.

Round 3/65 - Trumaine Johnson, CB, 6-2, 204, Montana

Recorded 15 career interceptions, and is viewed as a potential starter by the Rams. Johnson has excellent size with long arms and fits coach Jeff Fisher's desire for physical players.

Round 4/96 - Chris Givens, WR, 5-11, 198, Wake Forest

Has game-breaking speed and natural pass-catching ability, which was evident in his 2011 season that produced 83 receptions for 1,330 yards and nine touchdowns.

Round 5/150 - Rokevious Watkins, OG, 6-4, 330, South Carolina

Two-year starter after transferring from Georgia Military College, and played both guard and tackle. The Rams have an opening at left guard, and they hope the massive Watkins can come in and compete.

Round 6/171 - Greg Zuerlein, PK, 6-0, 190, Missouri Western

Incumbent Josh Brown has a salary of $2.7 million, and Zuerlein set a NCAA record with 21 consecutive field goals last season, including nine from 50 yards or more.

Round 7/209 - Aaron Brown, OLB, 6-0, 237, Hawaii

Productive, but undersized linebacker that had 103 tackles (13 for loss), 4.5 sacks and three interceptions last season.

Round 7/252 - Daryl Richardson, RB, 5-10, 192, Abilene Christian

Speed back with explosiveness, Richardson is the brother of NFL players Bernard Scott (Bengals) and Clyde Gates (Dolphins).

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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