Say this for Rams GM Les Snead, he is not afraid of the moment. You might even say he lives for it. Our young GM was a key part of the Falcons war room that went all-in for Julio Jones in 2011; he just made his first big bet on an offensive playmaker tonight.
For the second year in a row, the St Louis Rams have found themselves at the center of the NFL Draft's most dramatic moment, making a huge deal involving its most highly sought-after player. Last year, the rebuilding Rams had to step away from the tantalizing prospect of Robert Griffin III; this year, they reversed course and outfought a number of teams -- including the heartbroken New York Jets -- for Tavon Austin.
Then, as the Rams held the 22nd pick, a mad panic of offensive linemen (Justin Pugh? Kyle Long?) swept through the lower half of the round pushing highly desireable defensive playmakers down the draft board. This, and the easy connection between Snead and his former boss Thomas Dimitroff, led to a trade down to pick #30, and yet another moment in the prime time spotlight.
After ignoring frantic calls from Minnesota (who traded most of the rest of their draft to take Cordarelle Patterson at pick 29), they used that moment on an intimidator, Georgia's hard-hitting linebacker Alec Ogletree. While not the most polished player at the position, Ogletree fits the Rams' "bigger, stronger, faster" profile to a tee. He also brings some problem-child baggage to Rams Park with him, continuing another pattern under Jeff Fisher's tenure.
Both Austin and Ogletree are linked in some fashion with the Redskins' iconic quarterback. Ogletree as a significant part of that bounty of picks, and Austin as a member of the fraternity of new-breed (and high-risk) NFL playmakers.
Longtime friend of the site Brent (@LannyOSU) said it best after the Austin pick: the Rams are building a roster based on creating athletic mismatches.
On offense, with Chris Givens able to win deep routes within five steps, Jared Cook and Brian Quick able to overtop most any defensive back out there, and Tavon Austin able to out-quick any slow-footed linebacker left underneath, the Rams suddenly have the raw pieces of a schematic nightmare for opposing defenses.
On defense, Ogletree (6'2", 240 lbs) brings the same physical demeanor as fellow enforcer Jo-Lonn Dunbar (6'0", 225 lbs), but delivers a bigger, faster, heavier package of hurt.
Now it remains for the Rams' coaches to get the most out of these talents, but that work begins next week. As a GM, Les Snead has done his job of giving them game-changing raw material to work with.