NFL draft: Top talent will still be available for Rams’ top pick on second day of draft
By Jim Thomas
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
ST. LOUIS — Despite all the talk about trade possibilities involving the Rams' No. 1 overall draft pick, a trade-down might be more likely a day later.
The NFL draft has gone prime time, and only Round 1 will take place Thursday night. So nearly a full day will pass between Round 1 and Round 2 when the draft reconvenes at 5 p.m. Friday.
When it comes to re-stacking their boards or adjusting strategy, not only can team executives sleep on it, they can ponder it over the morning coffee, and even into Friday afternoon. That could place a premium on the first pick of Day 2 and Round 2 — No. 33 overall — held by the Rams.
"I'm interested to see how it works," Philadelphia coach Andy Reid said. "I'd love to have that first pick of the second day, where you can sleep on it, re-gather your thoughts, which you normally don't get to do."
"I kind of think the second round will now be like the first round," New England coach Bill Belichick said. "Take those 32 (first-round) players out of there, whoever they are, now you're starting all over again for that second round."
And in what generally is regarded as a deep draft, the Rams might be able to add extra picks by trading their selection at the top of the second round.
"There's going to be some studs there," said veteran NFL scout Dave Razzano. "There'll be nine, 10 teams easily wanting that pick."
No matter how the first round shakes out, there will be players with first-round grades who slip out of the round for whatever reason. Teams that have stockpiled picks, such as Reid's Eagles, might want to package picks to get a player.
Depending on how badly a team wants to move up, Razzano thinks the Rams might get a third- and a fifth-rounder, perhaps even a third- and fourth-rounder, in exchange for moving down in the second round.
"I think the third and fourth rounds are going to be so stacked this year," Razzano said. "There's a lot of players."
The Rams don't have to worry about any funny business from New Orleans, which picks last in the first round. According to the NFL office, the Saints can't pass out of the first round just so they can have the first pick of Day 2.
"A club may not pass out of one session of the draft and into the next session of the draft," league policy states. "Under no circumstances will it be permitted to choose at the beginning of the subsequent session."
Only Rounds 2 and 3 will be selected Friday, so the Rams might have another chance to accumulate picks when the third and final day of the draft (Rounds 4-7) commences at 9 a.m. Saturday.
"I think the new format is going to be incredible because it's going to give teams time to reflect, refocus, and then regenerate an idea or a plan that they didn't have in a long, long day (under the old format)," said Michael Lombardi, NFL Network analyst and longtime NFL personnel executive. "I think there'll be a lot of trades. I think there'll be a lot of movement, and I think there'll be a lot of action each day because the break of time to reflect."
Rams general manager Billy Devaney, who will be sitting in the catbird seat each day, isn't so sure.
"I don't know," Devaney said. "It'll be weird. We've got to go through it. Nobody's gone through it. So it'll definitely be different."
Then he took a somewhat lighthearted swipe at the real reason behind the new draft format.
"Who cares what we think as long as TV's happy?" Devaney said. "Who gives a rat's ... about whether we like it or not?"
And precisely because the draft appears to be so stacked, Devaney isn't sure if multiple teams will be scrambling to trade up in Round 2.
"If there's a run on players at a position, and there's one guy left sitting up there and a team thinks they have to go get their guy — that's the last chance to get him — maybe we will (field more calls)," Devaney said.
Then again ...
"I think the thing we have working against us is the second round is so deep," Devaney said. "There's great players from top to bottom in the second round."
So teams might decide to stay put rather than give up a couple of picks to move up.