Rams Look for More Success from Second Pick

Posted May 6, 2014

Find out how the St. Louis Rams hope to continue their history of success with the second overall pick in the NFL Draft.

As the Rams’ brass makes its final preparations in anticipation of the draft this weekend, the team finds itself in somewhat of a familiar position. Few other NFL teams have had as much experience and success with the second overall pick than the Rams.

Provided they don’t elect to trade their first of two first-round picks, this year will mark the sixth time the Rams have picked at No. 2, including the third time in the past seven years.

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Among the franchise’s most prosperous picks at that draft slot have been veteran defensive end Chris Long, 11-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle Tom Mack, and all-time leading touchdown passer Roman Gabriel.

This year, the Rams enter the draft with desired upgrades at multiple positions, including safety, corner and offensive tackle. They also could elect to build upon a pair of positions that currently feature some of the best depth on the roster, at wide receiver and defensive end, with the likes of Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins and South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney widely expected to be among the first five selections on Thursday evening.

With the second and 13th overall picks in hand, the Rams enter this week in the most fortuitous draft position that included a second overall draft choice since 1965, when they held the 2nd and 3rd overall picks, which they utilized on Gabriel and Hall of Fame defensive tackle Merlin Olsen.

More recently, the Rams have had more mixed results from No. 2, as tackle Jason Smith appeared in just 27 games over three seasons in a Rams uniform after being chosen second overall out of Baylor in 2009. However, of the team’s eight top-10 draft picks since moving to St. Louis in 1995, six have served as a starter for the bulk of their Rams tenure.

The Rams have a litany of options at their disposal with the second overall pick, which also include the possibility of a trade for additional draft choices. The Rams have had tremendous success going that route in recent years, as they traded the second overall pick in 2012 to Washington for a bevy of future draft choices, the last of which being this year’s second overall pick.

General manager Les Snead discussed the possibility of a similar situation unfolding this year while meeting with the assembled media at the NFL Combine, though emphasized the desired options at No. 1 overall are much more varied than they were two years ago, when QB Andrew Luck was widely expected as the first overall pick before being chosen by the Indianapolis Colts.

“I would say (a trade) is definitely an option,” Snead said. “You look at, hey, that’s a nice asset. As an organization we need to make the best of that asset, like any business would do. That’s definitely an option, not saying that would happen, but we’ll evaluate and analyze all situations. Sitting at (number) two, this is going to be a little different year than in the last one in that you left Indy last time, and everyone knew who Pick One was going to be and who Pick Two was going to be.  I’m not sure we’re going to leave Indy this year and know who Pick One is going to be.”

True to Snead’s prediction, there remains no clear consensus on who the Houston Texans will choose with the first overall pick, as they sift through options that features pass rushers Clowney and Khalil Mack, in addition to quarterbacks Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel.

Whichever direction the Texans elect to go, the Rams will find themselves once again in a most gainful draft position, one that largely carries a history of success in St. Louis.