Battling Groupthink: is Suh now out of the picture for the Rams?

If you’ve been following mock drafts, you know that the conventional wisdom now has the Rams taking Sam Bradford #1 overall, throwing caution (and the lessons of Alex Smith, JaMarcus Russell, Tim Couch, David Carr and Vinny Testaverde) to the wind. But thanks to the fine work by @MockDraftMaster to aggregate and score this year’s mocks, we can show you exactly when and why the landslide of public opinion changed.

Infoshot: RamsHerd asks, Who will the Rams draft #1?

There’s a full post on on the subject that’s very read-worthy. Here’s a few selected quotes:

“Suh is the consensus best player in the draft and that made sense for him to go to the Rams at number 1 and help shore up their run defense. But, then the NFL draft combine happened.

On February 24th, ESPN’s Adam Schefter went on a St. Louis radio show and guaranteed that the Rams would take Sam Bradford number 1 overall. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen and John Clayton all followed suit on the following day after the story was picked up by the ubiquitous Pro Football Talk.”

The Number One Pick and The Shift

Of course, in our inaugural FanBall Mock Draft, which just completed, I spoke for the Rams and put my flag in the camp for Suh. I still stand behind this pick and the logic behind it, for reasons that were just published by the fine folks at The Steelers N’at, an independent Steelers blog.

The Rams should not be approaching the draft as a “need”-based draft (i.e. “They need a quarterback of the future”) because they have every kind of need you can have, except at running back, and to a lesser extent, on the offensive line. They must get the best player available at every pick, and if possible, acquire more picks via trade.

NFC West Draft Outlook

The stories of teams that took quarterbacks — especially first overall — out of their own desperate need, or working under the false impression that having a young quarterback in the stable guarantees some sort of job security, are many. And few are pretty. Here’s the entire list since 1980, courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference’s awesome draft query tool. Out of that list we have three HOFers, including the elder Manning. We have three pretty decent quarterbacks in Eli Manning, Drew Bledsoe, and Carson Palmer. We have the enigma known as Michael Vick. and then there is a series of terrible, franchise-killing decisions.

It’s fairly obvious that Bradford is not a Peyton Manning. No one is claiming that he is. But is he even as good as a Carson Palmer? As tweeted by SI’s Jay Clemons:

SI_JayClemons I haven’t seen one ESPN or NFL Network video montage of Sam Bradford throwing the ball amid pressure OR showing off arm strength …
SI_JayClemons If that’s the case, how can anyone justify him as the No. 1 overall pick? This, in a nutshell, is why teams (and analysts) suck at drafting
SI_JayClemons I’m not saying Bradford can’t be a great QB … but I’m going to need more than “accuracy” and “smarts” as reasons for plunking down $43M

Increasingly, though, it appears that these are voices in the wilderness.

(Also, stay tuned for a guest post this week that provides a completely different perspective on the Rams and the #1 pick.)