Not many FCS quarterbacks are drafted in the first round, let alone drafted No. 1 overall, which is where Carson Wentz could go.
Carson Wentz and Jared Goff are not John Elway, Peyton Manning or Andrew Luck, but the Rams are in not in St. Louis anymore and Hollywood demands big names and stars.
So, this appears to be a completely one-sided deal for the Titans and a desperation move by the Rams. A huge gamble. The Titans sent the overall No. 1 pick in the April 28 draft to the Rams in exchange for six quality picks in the next two drafts. Did anybody really believe the Rams would open their first season back in Los Angeles since 1994 with Case Keenum at quarterback? Keenum might be a nice backup, but there was no way he was going to be the face of the franchise.
It appears Wentz has opened up a lead on Goff as the No. 1 quarterback in the draft, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t change. But if the Rams have Wentz first on their board, it would explain their sense of urgency to get the deal done now. The Browns at No. 2 were considered a likely spot for Wentz and the Eagles, with the eighth pick, were a team that might have put together a package to trade up with the Titans to get Wentz.
Now the Rams’ decision to overpay means they don’t have to worry about it. They have their choice of Wentz, who played at small college North Dakota State, or Goff, who played at Cal. Last week, Gil Brandt, the former vice president of the Cowboys who now lends his draft expertise to NFL.com, told me he didn’t believe Wentz or Goff had the potential of Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota, who went 1-2 in last year’s draft to the Bucs and Titans.
Titans general manager Jon Robinson is piling up draft picks as he tries to rebuild a franchise.
Drafting Mariota last year gave the Titans the freedom to trade down and not take a quarterback this year. If they had stayed put, they were expected to take Mississippi offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil.
“It is not often that you have the number one overall pick and we hope to not be in this position again, but we tried to use the pick as currency to work the draft and maximize player acquisition,” Titans GM Jon Robinson said after the trade was announced Thursday morning.
In return for the top pick and a fourth- and sixth round picks this year, the Titans receive the Rams first-round pick (15th overall), two second-round picks (Nos. 43 and 45) and a third round pick (76th) in this year’s draft plus Los Angeles’ first- and third-round picks in the 2017 draft. No team has ever traded up from as far back as the 15th spot to get to the top spot.
Cal’s Jared Goff throws 43 touchdowns against just 13 picks for the Bears.
This is pretty much the reverse of what the Rams did in 2012, when they traded the second pick in the draft to Washington, which was picking sixth, in exchange for three first round picks and a second round pick. That trade didn’t look so good at first when Washington drafted Robert Griffin III and he won the offensive Rookie of the Year award. But the Rams had drafted quarterback Sam Bradford first overall in 2010 and given him $ 50 million guaranteed, so it was logical for them to maximize the value of the 2012 pick.
The Browns signed Griffin a couple of weeks ago, but were still expected to draft Wentz. If they are not sold on Goff, they could wait until the second round to select Michigan State’s Connor Cook or Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg.
It’s the first time the first pick has been traded since the Chargers drafted Eli Manning in 2004 and then traded him to the Giants for Philip Rivers, who Big Blue had drafted for San Diego with the fourth overall pick. The Giants also sent their third round pick in 2004 and third and fifth round picks in 2005 to the Chargers.
Stan Kroenke, owner of the Rams, moves his team from St. Louis to Los Angeles.
The Rams thought they were set at quarterback when they drafted Bradford. But injuries and ineffectiveness led to him being traded to the Eagles last year for Nick Foles. The Rams signed Foles to a new contract, but he turned out to be a dud. Now they will start over in their new home with Wentz or Goff.
The hefty price for moving up illustrates that this is a quarterback league. The Rams have one of the better defenses in the NFL and have an excellent running back in Todd Gurley, the offensive rookie of the year. They are a team on the rise in a tough division with the Seahawks and Cardinals but it would be impossible to take the next step and be serious Super Bowl contenders without trying to come up with an elite quarterback.
The Titans now own six of the first 76 picks in this year’s draft, which includes Los Angeles’ first round pick and their own second round pick, which is No. 33 overall.
Robinson worked for Bill Belichick with the Patriots from 2002-2013, first as a scout and eventually as the director of college scouting. Nobody likes to work the draft more than Belichick and it appears Robinson learned well. Although he traded his way out of the top 10, in this draft he will still get a top player at No. 15 and then has three picks in the second round of a deep draft.
There are no guarantees for the Rams. This becomes a one-player draft for them. They better pick the right quarterback.