For the seventh time since 1990 – and the first time since 2004 – the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft has been traded. The Titans traded this year’s top selection to the Rams in a nine-pick blockbuster reminiscent of the Rams/Redskins deal that netted Washington Robert Griffin III in 2012.
This time, though, it was the Rams giving up a bevy of picks, sending their first-round pick (15th overall), two second-round picks (43, 45), a third-round pick (76), a 2017 first-round pick and a 2017 third-round pick to Tennessee for the right to draft Carson Wentz or Jared Goff.
The Rams, who originally had the 15th pick, needed to move up if they wanted to draft one of the top two quarterbacks. They also had to move quickly, as several other franchises were reportedly in serious trade talks with Tennessee.
“I heard (Thursday) morning that the Rams had quietly brought both these guys in already and worked them out, so they’ve done a lot of their due diligence before now,” Bleacher Report NFL Draft lead writer Matt Miller said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “But I think the reason you go ahead and do it now is, one, you want to make sure no one else does this. They weren’t the only team involved here. I reported this morning I know the Eagles were trying to get this done. The Jets were a team that were talked about trying to move up. The Niners were maybe trying to move up. So I think the Rams just wanted to get this pick in their control and say, ‘Now we have two weeks. We can figure this out.’ But if it’s two weeks before the draft and you don’t have these guys graded – if you don’t know which one’s better – I would say you have a problem.”
The Rams claim they do not know which quarterback they will select, but Miller isn’t buying it.
“The deadline to have visits is coming up this week,” he said, “so you’re not bringing these guys in (at the) eleventh hour saying, ‘Who we going to pick?’ It’s not like that movie Draft Day. At this point, you know who you’re picking. You had those sit-downs at the Combine, you had a sit-down with Wentz at the Senior Bowl, you’ve had these guys into your facility, you’ve probably even gone to visit them at their place, and you were at their Pro Day. I know there’s a lot of talk right now. The Rams are saying, ‘We don’t know who were going to pick.’ I think that’s B.S. I think they’re doing the NFL a favor by not just coming out and saying, ‘Hey, we like Jared Goff. He’ll be the pick.’ I think they want some suspense at the top of the draft so the networks are happy.”
If Miller were a general manager, he would take Goff over Wentz “without a doubt.”
“He’s the most pro-ready quarterback, he has the best accuracy, the best poise under pressure, he elevated an awful team at Cal to a great start this year, to a bowl game – he is the guy,” Miller said. “I love Carson Wentz as well, but listen, this hype about him being Andrew Luck and Cam Newton, that’s crazy talk. We’re still talking about an FCS quarterback who started less than 25 games in college. He may end up being a Hall of Famer, but there are a lot of question marks when you look at Wentz. So I think Goff is the safer quarterback – and the better one right now, too.”
The Rams also traded for the No. 1 overall pick in 1997, moving up to draft future Hall of Fame offensive tackle Orlando Pace.
The NFL Draft begins April 28 in Chicago.