Oklahoma State QB Brandon Weeden could sneak into the latter portion of the first round.
This year’s NFL Draft figures to have plenty of intrigue when it comes to the quarterback position.
Stanford’s Andrew Luck and Baylor’s Robert Griffin III will go with the first two picks of the draft and both are considered franchise-altering stars in the making. Beyond that dynamic duo, Texas A&M’s Ryan Tannehill is considered the wild card of the draft and where and when he’s drafted could significantly alter the way the draft goes.
Even Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden, who is 28 but talented, will draw his share of attention, perhaps sometime late in the first round.
For all of that, though, the Rams’ part in the process played out nearly two months before the draft begins a week from today.
That’s when the Rams made it clear that they were sticking with incumbent starter
The decision for the Rams turned out to be an easy one considering the return they got for the pick combined with Bradford’s still immense upside according to NFL Network draft analyst Chad Reuter.
“For the value they got from that pick, yeah,” Reuter said. “You had to make that deal considering what they got. I think Sam can be a pretty good quarterback. He’s a good enough quarterback that you can win playoff games if you have the team around him. If you had a guy that wasn’t quite that high then you try to ditch him but I think Sam is good enough to keep starting.”
While the Rams certainly won’t be drafting a quarterback in the first round this year, they will be paying close attention to the fate of Tannehill.
Tannehill is perhaps the most confounding prospect on the board. He was solid for the Aggies and has plenty of athletic ability but he also has a small sample size of starts and comes with his share of question marks.
There has been some speculation that Cleveland could take Tannehill as high as No. 4 or that a team could trade up in front of the Browns to get him. If that happens, it would push another desirable player for the Rams down to them at No. 6.
Otherwise, there’s an outside chance a team could try to trade up past Miami, which has the eighth pick for Tannehill. That team could potentially want to do business with the Rams though it could simply trade with Jacksonville, which holds the seventh pick and save a little in terms of trade compensation.
As for the Rams’ needs at quarterback, it is far from pressing. Bradford is the established starter and the team re-signed veteran
It’s unlikely the Rams would use a draft choice on a quarterback anytime before round six or so, if at all. But if they do go that way and look for a developmental choice, there are some options in this year’s draft.
“A guy like Nick Foles of Arizona is a middle round guy that has got a little something to him,” NFL Network analyst Charley Casserly said. “He might be an interesting guy in there. Kirk Cousins, who has physical talent but is inconsistent, that’s a guy that if somebody sees something there he could be a possible name too.”
Foles and Cousins will likely be too rich for the Rams blood as possibilities but Reuter offers some intriguing late round options that could be there.
Reuter sees Foles as a good fit for the offense the Rams run but offers some other possibilities that would give them a different look.
“If they want more of a changeup guy, I think Russell Wilson is going to get some looks if not in the third round then early in the fourth as a Seneca Wallace backup with athleticism but good enough arm strength and accuracy and a good person on your team,” Reuter said. “He’s going to be a smart pickup for somebody in that range.”
Sixth and seventh round options as well as some undrafted possibilities also have some upside.
“The other two backup guys would be Ryan Lindley from San Diego State and B.J. Coleman from Tennessee-Chattanooga,” Reuter said. “B.J. has some attitude stuff going on and I don’t know how that is going to work out but I think those guys will be similar guys that could end up being solid backups because they have what you want in a quarterback.”
Top Five Quarterback Prospects
1. Robert Griffin III, Baylor
2. Andrew Luck, Stanford
3. Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M
4. Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State
5. Kirk Cousins, Michigan State
Sleeper: Chandler Harnish, Northern Illinois