With Jimmy Clausen and Colt McCoy available at the beginning of Day 2, the popular consensus was that the Rams would field dozens of calls for the top pick, and the hardest job would be simply picking the best offer. Devaney -- in a calculated move to fire up the hot stove -- openly said he would be "surprised" if the Rams ended up picking at #33.
But clearly, the demand for these QBs wasn't what we thought it was, as Clausen fell to #48 (giving the Panthers a "first-round pick" with their first pick of the draft), and Holmgren refused to bid against himself for McCoy, letting him dangle until the #85 pick of the third round.
So the Rams took the highest-rated player on their board, Rodger Saffold (76-Indiana). Here he is lining up against Brandon Graham, perhaps the best pure pass-rusher in the draft:
@RamsHerd I think you are wetting yourself, I assume... Saffold is a fab pick man. REALLY like him. #Rams #NFLDraft
Not quite, but I'm coming around.
Initial Reaction: Disappointment
I admit, this is a pick that had to grow on me. I have no problem with the player, but I remain disappointed that Devaney didn't trade down to pick up more picks, and I wonder if they fell in love with their board without considering how many (or how few) other teams might be in the hunt for their guys.
According to league sources, the Rams received offers from Baltimore at No. 43 overall, Carolina at No. 48, and Cincinnati at No. 54. “But the offers were for (bleep),” said one source, particularly given how far down the interested trade partners were in Round 2.-- STL Today: "Rams Resist Offers, Take Saffold"
Devaney and the Rams might have been expecting a king's ransom, and were unwilling to take a prince's dowry for the pick. But if you look at the teams that have been really aggressive in trading down, like the Eagles (with 9 picks now in the last four rounds), they aren't looking for "perfect" deals, just fair deals. Devaney has excelled in finding players in the later rounds, but deprived himself and the Rams of the opportunity to get more of these value picks. Meanwhile, only two other offensive linemen were picked in Round 2, OG Zane Beadles (#45, Denver) and OT Charles Brown (#64, New Orleans), hardly a run on the position.
Three players, two positions?
However, I am willing to put all of that behind me if the pick heralds the end of the Alex Barron era in St Louis. Immediately after the pick, the NFL Network posted the following projected starting offensive line for the Rams:
LT - J Smith / LG - J Bell / C - J Brown / RG - A Goldberg / RT - R Saffold
However, there is another, more troubling factor at work here -- uncertainty as to Jason Smith's long-term health. His concussion last season was much worse than the Rams expected it to be, and the length and severity of its lingering symptoms have to be a serious warning flag. He may never live up to his draft billing, and the Rams did the smart thing by adding competent depth at tackle.
@RamsHerd After the Rams drafted OT-G Saffold, Sam Bradford, who was upstairs with the coaches, said: "My mom thanks you."