Despite losses in Week 14, the Rams and Titans currently hold playoff spots. For the Rams, their 2017 season has been miles better than the Jeff Fisher-led iterations of the team. For the Titans, this is where they expected to be in Year 3 of Marcus Mariota at the helm, a reasonable improvement on a solid but playoff-less 9-7 campaign a season ago.
These clubs will forever be tied to one another for the blockbuster deal that went down at the top of the 2016 draft that ultimately led to Jared Goff quarterbacking the Rams and a boatload of picks being sent to the Titans over two drafts.
Will Brinson did a fine jobright after it went down. Let's revisit this trade nearly two full seasons later.
Titans traded to Rams:
- 2016 Round 1 pick (No. 1 overall)
- 2016 Round 4 pick (No. 113)
- 2016 Round 6 pick (No. 177)
|Pharoh Cooper||4||117||WR||South Carolina|
|Temarrick Hemingway||6||177||TE||South Carolina State|
|Mike Thomas||7||206||WR||Southern Mississippi|
Jared Goff: Had a poor rookie season in his seven starts. Major rebound this season. He's completed 62.2 percent of his passes at 8.1 yards per attempt with 22 touchdowns and six interceptions. His QB rating is currently 99.2, the seventh-best among qualifying signal-callers.
Pharoh Cooper: Has appeared in all 13 games in 2017, playing 125 snaps. Has nine receptions for 54 yards.
Temarrick Hemingway: Played in eight games in 2016. Did not record any statistics. Currently on IR.
Mike Thomas: Has two catches for 18 yards in five games this season. Had three catches for 37 yards as a rookie and returned nine kickoffs for 180 yards.
With the additions of left tackle Andrew Whitworth, center John Sullivan, wideouts Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods, and head coach Sean McVay, Goff has taken a sizable step in Year 2. His yards-per-attempt average, which typically is a good indicator of a quarterback's efficiency and overall quality of play, has improved by nearly three full yards, a significant jump. Goff has played like a No. 1 overall pick this season and only turned 23 in October.
Cooper and Thomas were acquired in another trade with the Bears -- that netted Chicago starting linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski -- but they've had a minuscule impact on the Rams during their time in the NFL thus far. Some of that is due to the regime change and subsequent players the new coaching staff acquired on the free-agent and trade market (Woods and Watkins) and the draft (Cooper Kupp).
Hemingway has yet to have any noticeable impact as a professional.
Rams traded to Titans:
- 2016 Round 1 pick (No. 15)
- 2016 Round 2 pick (No. 43)
- 2016 Round 2 pick (No. 45)
- 2016 Round 3 pick (No. 76
- 2017 Round 1 pick (No. 5)
- 2017 Round 3 pick (No. 100)
|Jack Conklin||1||8||OL||Michigan State|
|Austin Johnson||3||43||DT||Penn State|
|LeShaun Sims||5||157||CB||Southern Utah|
|Kalan Reed||7||253||CB||Southern Mississippi|
|Corey Davis||1|| 5||WR||Western Michigan|
|Jonnu Smith||3||100|| TE||Florida International|
Jack Conklin: Made First-Team All-Pro as a rookie. Has started all 29 games in his career. Has regressed as an NFL sophomore but still one of the better right tackles in football.
Austin Johnson: Has appeared in 23 games since the start of 26. Thus far in 2017, he's played 227 snaps with one sack and 19 total tackles. Rotational, run-stopping defensive tackle.
Derrick Henry: Fourth among 50 qualifying running backs in Pro Football Focus' yards after contact per rush statistic (3.56). Has been used on 45.8 percent of Titans' running back carries this season (133 of 290). Averages 4.9 yards per rush and has scored five rushing touchdowns.
LeShaun Sims: Has played 380 snaps so far this season. Has 25 total tackles (22 solo) with three pass breakups and one interception.
Kalan Reed: Has routinely been a part of Titans' game-day inactives. Hasn't played a snap this season. Played 14 snaps as a rookie.
Corey Davis: Has appeared in eight games as a rookie and has made 25 catches for 256 yards without a touchdown.
Jonnu Smith: Played all 13 games this season, playing 470 snaps. Has made 13 catches for 127 yards with two receiving scores.
Conklin was seemingly an important get, although he has come back to earth somewhat in his second season. Henry hasn't been able to jump DeMarco Murray on the depth chart, but I'm not sure the Titans have necessarily wanted him to anyway. However, he's been more effective than Murray individually. Sims and Johnson are quality yet unspectacular role players, and Reed, the seventh-rounder hasn't really seen the field.
Davis has battled injuries as a rookie and has flashed skills that made him the No. 5 overall pick. In general though, he's had a disappointing first year in the NFL. Smith has been a serviceable backup to Delanie Walker, who remains one of the league's best (and most underrated) tight ends.
*Unsurprisingly, the Browns are indirectly involved here. To get Conklin, the Titans traded picks that ultimately became wide receiver Corey Coleman, offensive lineman Shon Coleman, and quarterback DeShone Kizer.
For the Rams, they seem to have landed a franchise quarterback, which essentially makes it difficult to label them an outright trade "loser" in this scenario. The rest of the picks they acquired in the trade with the Titans have had menial impact in the NFL and are seemingly as much on their way to irrelevance as Goff is to being an entrenched, top-tier signal-caller from here on out. As for the Titans, the trade has to be separated into two segments.
First, the assortment of picks they received was a gigantic win, and they were an enviable situation without the need of a franchise quarterback at the time, although Mariota probably shouldn't be categorized as a legitimate "franchise" signal-caller at this stage. The picks they made with said additional draft capital were good, but far from great. What's important though ... the Titans were able to get one high-ish quality player (Conklin) and a few critical rotational players (Johnson, Henry, Sims, Smith) and a player with No. 1 receiver upside. If Davis reaches his potential, the Titans too will be "winners" here.
At this point, the Rams-Titans Goff trade is essentially a rare "win-win" for both organizations. And for as much as I'm a proponent of accumulating as many picks as possible in the draft to mitigate risk and improve return, I would lean ever so slightly in the Rams' direction as the current-day "winner" of this trade. And I'm talking a lean of like 51 percent to 49 percent.