What does the Rams’ big swap for the No. 1 pick do to Round 1? Read on for a look at the fallout.
Get all of Chris Burke’s columns as soon as they’re published. Download the new Sports Illustrated app (iOS or Android) and personalize your experience by following your favorite teams and SI writers.
There are still two weeks until the NFL draft, and already we have pandemonium. The Eagles and Dolphins raised the curtain when they swapped picks 8 and 13 last month, and the Rams and Titans blew the roof off Thursday with a deal that sent the top pick to Los Angeles.
The trade came less than 24 hours after our latest mock draft, which included a trade-up scenario for the Rams that came fairly close to matching the actual terms. What does L.A.-to-No. 1 do to Round 1? Read on for an abbreviated look at the fallout.
The Rams moving up to No. 1 obviously counts as huge news for every team in the league, but the Chargers, Cowboys and Jaguars all should be feeling good about it. All along the odds were that a QB would come off the board within the top two picks, but this ensures it. If Cleveland also drafts a quarterback, Tunsil trickles down, along with all that defensive talent. The Jaguars have to be giddy at the thought of having at least one of Jack, Ramsey or Bosa fall to them at No. 5. Ramsey, in particular, would be an absolute heist there.
The fallout continues on down to San Francisco at No. 7. Earlier this week, I had the 49ers passing on a QB anyway. A Wentz-Goff 1–2 should seal it, but—as is the case here—it also could push another of those top defenders down into their range. Stanley, who was previously the San Francisco pick, drops to No. 10. Giants fans may not be thrilled at doubling down on tackles after taking Ereck Flowers ninth last year. Stanley is worth it.
The Saints continue to mystify a bit, as it is tough to pin down their primary Round 1 focus. However, with the Giants passing on Floyd for Stanley, it gives Sean Payton’s club a chance to add an impact defender. Floyd is not the dominant pass rusher he is often made out to be, but he can be a versatile playmaker, and his game matches up well against modern NFL offenses.
Next domino: Treadwell to Oakland. This is what I mean when I say that Oakland has made enough roster progress over the past two off-seasons to leave all doors open. Do the Raiders need Treadwell? Not necessarily. But they also are in solid enough shape at most spots to roll the dice on a potentially dominant receiver. Michael Crabtree has no guaranteed money beyond this season. Good luck stopping Treadwell, Crabtree and Amari Cooper in the meantime.
Tennessee, now at 15, still gets a tackle. Conklin should have no trouble sliding over to the right side, if the idea is to give Taylor Lewan another shot on the left. Rankins, the Raiders’ pick earlier this week, lands at 16, where Detroit has depth but a lot of question marks at DT. And it is now the edge-setting Dodd at No. 19 over the pass-rushing Spence, which is a development the Jets would be just fine with.
No changes in the 21–31 range from the mock earlier this week. The player in this grouping most likely to be impacted by the Rams’ trade up is Lynch, who is slotted for the moment to Arizona at 29. If Wentz and Goff indeed are the first two players off the board (or even if both are gone within the top 10), that wait for Lynch would be a very long one given the desperate need teams have to find a starting quarterback. Any number of teams—San Francisco, Chicago, the Jets and Buffalo, for starters—could eye Lynch ahead of Arizona’s pick. It’s also very possible a team trades back into the end of Round 1 just to get a QB.