Over the next three weeks, FishDuck.com Feature Writer Caleb Couturie will be analyzing the 25 teams in the NFL Draft that may look to select Marcus Mariota.
**DISCLAIMER: This is part of a project FOR FUN. All trades suggested are merely hypotheticals, and do not reflect my actual opinion of what will happen on draft day. Enjoy.**
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No. 9: The St. Louis Rams
STL’s Draft Pick: Tenth
STL’s 2015 Cap Space: $3,577,133
STL’s Top Needs: QB, CB, RB/WR
When Sam Bradford actually graced the field with his presence, he didn’t look that bad. In fact he looked like he might’ve even deserved his lofty expectations, but sadly Bradford and the football field don’t seem to mix all that well anymore. The former No. 1 pick has played just seven games the past two years. St. Louis can’t wait forever for him to get healthy.
The Rams have a lot of young talent, especially at WR, but Shaun Hill simply isn’t the guy who’s going to take them to the next level, especially in the uber-talented NFC West. Stout on defense, the Rams now need firing power. The Rams were their own worst enemy this year after winning six games when they probably should’ve tried to tank, so getting Marcus Mariota would be tough, but here’s a look at how it could happen.
HOW IT CAN HAPPEN:
St. Louis trades: Sam Bradford, their 2015 first, third and 2016 first-round picks.
Tampa Bay Trades: No. 1 pick.
This is the best of both worlds for these two teams. If Bradford can overcome his injury bug he does look like he could one day be a Top 10 QB in the NFL, evidenced by his 3,700 yards and 21 TD 2012 season. As for STL, they officially give up on the promising Bradford assuming he won’t be able to stay healthy. They also give up next year’s first-rounder, but in the end it should all be worth it.
A solid QB makes all the difference in the NFC West, as we have seen with Russell Wilson and the Seahawks, and while Bradford oozed promise he simply couldn’t stay healthy. Mariota could be the answer for the Rams to finally move up in the West, and he’s certainly worth giving up a few first-rounders to get.
HOW MARIOTA WOULD DO IN STL:
If you’re a Duck fan you should have big flashing lights in your head when you think about Mariota going to the NFC West. By far the most physical division in the NFL, Mariota would have to face the 49ers‘, Cardinals‘, and more importantly Seahawks’ D a total of six times in one season.
Not only would it be hard to build a reputation against some of the league’s toughest defenses, but those three are also some of the hardest hitting defenses as well. On the other hand, St. Louis has some young talent with Tre Mason, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey all showing their share big-play ability. The Rams also have Jared Cook, a solid TE with good hands that Mariota could rely on early.
WOULD HE START?:
Not immediately, but there’s no way Jeff Fisher would let Austin Davis/Hill start over Mariota for very long. Also, with a great offensive mind such as Fisher coaching them, the Rams could run a creative offense that combines the speed of Austin and Bailey with the downhill running abilities of Mason. Sound familiar? (Royce Freeman the downhill back, Byron Marshall and Devon Allen the speedy receivers) Sounds similar to something Mariota would be used to.
The offense would be similar to what the Seahawks run, which is ironic because Mariota and Wilson are basically the same quarterback with about a six inch height difference. Mariota excels due to his high football IQ and decision making, very similar to Wilson. Although neither of them will put up Peyton Manning numbers, they’ll both get the job done. Mariota would almost certainly see inflated INT numbers, though, if his first professional season was spent playing against the NFC West.
STL’s Projected Record with Mariota: 9-7
STL’s Projected Record W/O Mariota: 6-10
Mariota’s first year stats: 2,600 yards/18 pass TDs/10 INTs/4 Rushing TDs
Top Photo from flickr.com