Remember Suck for Luck? Teams were supposedly tanking (or at least that’s what some fans wanted) in order to land the top pick in the draft to reap the benefits of being in position to draft Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.
But while Luck hasn’t lost value and is still slated to be picked by the Indianapolis Colts (who successfully sucked for Luck), it turns out in hindsight that the key wasn’t necessarily to land the top pick, but instead to land either of the top two picks.
Because Robert Griffin’s stock continues to rise, the value of that No. 2 overall pick keeps soaring. The St. Louis Rams don’t need a quarterback and used a top pick on Sam Bradford two years ago. And as a result, their pick is for sale.
Preliminary word has emerged on the possible return, at least out of Washington, where the Redskins hold the No. 6 overall selection and a need under center. “The Redskins, according to people familiar with their thinking, are willing to trade this year’s sixth overall pick and next year’s top pick,” writes Mike Jones of the Washington Post,” as well as two others in the range demanded by St. Louis.”
The problem is that it’s only February, giving the Rams time to stoke up further interest. And the particular problem in Washington is that the Cleveland Browns hold the trump card with a higher pick. With Minnesota expected to take offensive tackle Matt Kalil with the third pick and St. Louis not expected to spend a first-round selection on a tackle, the Rams could trade with Cleveland (fourth overall) and still end up with the highest-ranked man on their draft board.
So essentially, as long as they’re willing to give up similar complementary picks to the ones the Redskins offer, the Browns will have the inside track on the second pick and Griffin.
And I’d imagine that the price tag will increase anyway. People keep saying that the Rams will be looking for what the Chargers got for the top pick (Eli Manning) in 2004. But that year, San Diego still got its franchise quarterback in Philip Rivers. It was a very different scenario, especially when you consider how cheaply first-round quarterbacks are paid now.
In exchange for a pick swap in the top 10, the Rams will obviously require a first-round pick next year and — I’m guessing — a second-round pick in this year’s draft, with the second-rounder being the real deal-breaker that ultimately separates Washington and Cleveland.
The successful team will hope that it was worth it to sell the farm just to move up two or four spots in one draft to grab one player who — let’s face it — could fall on his face.
The unsuccessful team will say good riddance and call it a blessing in disguise.
The only guaranteed winner: St. Louis.
That’s what you get for a fortuitously-timed two-win season.