With the 2013 Draft process in full swing, and with all but two teams eliminated from the playoffs, the vast majority of NFL fans have entered Eternal Optimist Mode. This blissful state, often accompanied by unrealistic expectations for the following season, is further heightened by the prospects of finding a starting quarterback in the 3rd round (Russell Wilson, anyone?) and dream scenarios of a pick swap-meet that flips a 2nd rounder for two 3rd rounders and a 1st in next year’s draft.
With two 1st round picks this year (their #16 and Washington’s #22) and in 2014, Rams fans do have plenty of reason for optimism. With that in mind, I offer up my dream scenario for this April and next.
My dream starts off around pick #12 this April. To my surprise only one QB is off the board, Geno Smith to the Eagles at #4, and road-grading guard Chance Warmack is still out there. To no one’s surprise though, Mel Kiper’s hair is perfectly styled as usual. Eternal minutes tick away as the Bucs, Panthers and Saints each ponder their picks. Finally, the Rams are on the clock at #16 and set a land-speed record in turning in their card. Warmack, complete with his size youth-medium jersey, has fallen to the Rams.
Ho-hum, nothing unusual so far, but my dream has just begun.
Things start taking a turn for the worse with the next few picks as likely targets at #22 start coming off the board. Vaccaro, Ogletree, and Allen go 19, 20, and 21 leaving us with no obvious value fit at 22. Cursing the TV and not wanting yet another first-round defensive lineman, my ears perk up as I hear chatter that since only Smith is off the board, the Vikings are seriously considering a QB at #23. Preparing for the worst as Roger Goodell walks to the podium, I am shocked to hear “We have a trade to announce”. As it turns out, Buffalo is fearful that the Vikings will get their man so they trade up to the Rams #22 spot to take their QB of the future, Ryan Nassib, who was too much of a reach at #8 overall.
While this may sound crazy, remember:
1) this is my dream.
2) Buffalo GM Buddy Nix is on the record stating that they will take their QB of the future in this draft, and that they are willing to trade up in order to do so.
3) Their new head coach, Doug Marrone, was Nassib’s coach at Syracuse.
In exchange, the Rams get the Bills 3rd round pick this year, and next year’s #1. While this may sound like a steep price to pay to move up about 20 spots, Marrone may insist on “his guy”, and we have seen these types of moves in the past when a franchise is locked in on a particular prospect.
Now, for those Rams fans who are tired of trading current assets (draft picks this year) for future assets, consider that this year’s draft is not top heavy but it is deep, next year’s class appears to have much more talent in the first round, and that Fisher and Snead have already shown a willingness to maneuver on draft day.
Time starts moving much faster in my dream and all of the sudden I find myself tuning in to the 2014 NFL Draft. The Rams made another incremental improvement in 2013 and are picking 23rd after a 9-7 season and Wild Card finish. RG3 had a setback with his knee rehab and only played in 7 games leaving the Redskins at 4-12 and picking 4th. And, best of all, the Bills suffered growing pains with their rookie signal caller going 1-15 and giving the Rams the #1 overall pick in the draft. Armed with the 3 number ones, Fisher and Snead go to work putting the final pieces in place on their roster renovation.
With visions of Jadeveon Clowney and Marqise Lee in my head I wake up excited and optimistic about what could be. Maybe this is the stuff of the irrational eternal optimist, but hey, a guy can dream.