Throughout this entire draft season, nearly all Ram fans and experts have been united behind the idea that the Rams need to nail one of the top two WR prospects in this 2011 draft. Either A.J. Green or Julio Jones will be just fine. I am a little partial to Green, but don't take it hard Julio. I'm just fine if you're the guy.
Circumstances being what they are, we all know that we cannot control our destiny in this draft. We would need a good dancing partner to move up. We would need some good breaks for Julio and especially A.J. to fall our way. These things are outside our control. We can try to influence the situation, but we can't be certain of anything.
What if worse comes to worse? What if we are unable to select either of these great prospects? Well... Ive kicked this can around for several weeks now, and I've taken my time in coming up with my answer to the question. The guy I started with is the guy I finished with, but there were many swerves in the road before I got there.
It would take some time go through the decision trees and explain this situation, but if neither receiver is there for us, I think it is likely that J.J. Watt will be there. Why?
J.J. Watt is Mike Mayock's #12 prospect on the board. He is considered a better fit for the 3-4 than the 4-3, but I think that's horse shit. Any defense and any coordinator would love to have this kid. I think Coach Spagnuolo will love this kid to death. However, 5 technique is the prevailing opinion about the kid. Why do I love this kid? Because he reminds me very strongly of Grant Wistrom, one of my favorite Rams, and one of the most underrated dudes in our team's history.
There are a limited number 3-4 teams with a high need for a 5-technique DE. The three teams in range are the Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins, and Houston Texans.
I think Dallas is unlikely to take Watt. They would only do so to fuck the Redskins. This is possible, but unlikely.
The Redskins are the most significant threat to take J.J. Watt. Watt is one of the prime suspects on the Redskins draft board. Understand this: If they take J.J., they pass on Julio Jones. That is good for us.
The Texans are another major threat to take J.J. Watt. Everyone agrees that the Texan secondary is dogshit at best, so a defensive back is the primary suspect here. Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that either of the top two corners will be there at #11. There are no other DBs worth taking at #11. The next best thing is another killer 5 Technique who will work with Mario Williams to pressure the passer. However, the way things are going Da'Quan Bowers may just fall through to #11. The Texan administration may find him to be too much temptation to pass up. If you want a pass rusher, you might want Bowers.
If Watt passes this gauntlet of three teams, we are home free. I seriously doubt either the Vikings or the Lions will select J.J. Watt.
What do we get in J.J. Watt? We get a killer defender who can play DT and DE. He should have great chemistry with both Chris Long and Coach Spagnuolo. We get great leadership qualities in a kid who is going to be a hall of fame coach some day. I can see no downside in this kid. He is the most solid guy for us on the board.
A couple words of warning. There is a possibility that the Titans may pass on Nick Fairley. If they do, the Vikings might not. However, I would... always, and without exception. Bust warnings have been circulating like crazy about this kid, and everybody is concerned. You can read one such prophecy here.
Why? Nick pops up tall and straight to sprint around blockers and get to the QB. This may have worked for him in college, but I am surprised it did. As a DT, you have to stay low. This is why short guys like me and D'Marco Farr once upon a time had some success (although I never made it to the NFL). It is easy to stay low when you are short.
The first time Fairley pops up tall and tries to sprint around in the NFL, some big, ugly, nasty, smelly offensive guard (like Richie Incognito) will ball up two big fists and punch the hell out of his chest. This will break his balance and either knock him back, or knock him on his ass. I expect to see a lot of Fairley on his ass next season. This kid is banned. I am not taking him, no matter what. I don't want the kid. You take him.
Da'Quan Bower is another kid with some remote possibility of dropping through to us. Would I take him? Errrrrr... probably not. I don't dislike the kid. I feel bad for him. He has a medical red flag. The knee is a big problem. I know about torn Meniscusi. I've had several. I know about degenerative arthritis. I have advanced osteoarthritis in both knees. I know it gets worse. It doesn't get better. Right now, the fortune tellers are forecasting a foreshortened career for the kid. I couldn't justify this choice.