If you’re sports fan, you know by now that the Los Angeles Rams have traded up to get the number one overall pick from Tennessee in exchange for multiple premium picks this year and next. You’ve probably also noticed, that is if you care, that everyone and their mother basically fell all over themselves trying to be the first one out there with comprehensive analysis of what it means. Ultimately, it’s pretty much split down the middle between having overpaid for the pick, or gotten a good deal. It’s split down the middle whether they take Jared Goff or Carson Wentz. It’s split down the middle whether they needed to make a move like this. It’s split. Why? Because nobody has any idea what they’re talking about. Nobody. Nobody from respected football experts like Mel Kiper, to former players like Ross Tucker, to hack bloggers like us. Why? Because history hasn’t been written yet. Nobody will know whether this was the right thing to do until a couple of years from now when it can be objectively looked back on. Now, all that said, everyone has opinions. So do we. Here are two reasons from us why this trade can spectacularly implode on the Rams, or how it can be resounding success – because middle ground is no fun.
How it can fail:
#1: They draft Jared Goff, or anyone other than Carson Wentz. Let’s be honest here, this is Jeff Fisher we’re talking about so a Laquan Treadwell pick can’t be entirely discounted. But assuming it’s a quarterback, picking Goff would be calamitous. Why? Look, there’s not a ton wrong with the kid. He’s fairly safe, in terms of quarterback picks go. High floor. Smart. Got some talent. But you don’t mortgage your next two drafts to pick a kid who will be a serviceable pro. If you’re shoveling premium picks out the door to draft a quarterback first overall, you’re doing it to get a guy who can be transcendent. Otherwise, why not keep your own first rounder and both of your seconds, draft three starters with them, and ride Case Keenum into battle.
#2: They do the right thing and grab Wentz, but sharpie him in as the Week 1 starter. Even the most fervent Wentz supporter will tell you, he’s a project. He needs to sit and learn for a year or two. But again, this is Jeff Fisher we’re talking about. There are things that Fisher does well as a coach. He educates his rookies on financial responsibility and what it means to be a pro, he keeps his veterans fresh by giving them rest days, he… yeah, that about covers it. He’s beyond any doubt the most overrated coach in the history of professional football. If anyone can scupper the bright future of a talented quarterback, it’s Fisher.
How it can succeed:
#1: They take Wentz and he’s as good as everyone hopes. But it’s not that simple. He needs time. The step up from Division I AA to the NFL is huge, and while it’s not a prohibitive step, it’s not one that can be taken instantly. He’ll have to spend at least a year, if not two, learning to make NFL progressions, hot reads, a bunch other quarterback buzzwords, AND, he’ll have to adapt his running style. There is no doubting his supreme athletic ability, but it’s one thing to flatten a Division I AA linebacker on a designed run, it’s entirely another to try it on Bobby Wagner.
#2: They take Goff and he proves me terribly wrong. Instead of the league average, reasonably solid quarterback he projects to be, the switch flips and he becomes a monster. Let’s be honest, Russell Wilson, one of the best quarterbacks in the league right now, wasn’t a first round pick. Aaron Rodgers didn’t get picked until the end of the first round. So sure, it’s within the realm of possibility that the kid turns out to be an absolute stud. It’s just not likely. And I’m exceedingly rarely wrong on stuff like this. Not because I know everything, but because I keep my mouth shut about things I don’t know about. All my married friends can sympathize. But in any case, I’ll be the happiest guy this side of the Mississippi if I’m wrong now.