"Just from a numbers standpoint, this is the best draft since we’ve been here. Since 2010, sheer numbers—we usually have about 130 or 140 guys on our board, this year we’re going to have about 200, which is a lot."
It seemed obvious then that we had our first real clue as to what the Seahawks were planning to do in the 2016 draft, which is: Acquire more picks. At present, Seattle has nine picks in the upcoming draft, including five of their own, three comp picks, and one seventh rounder from the Cowboys from the Christine Michael trade. (And to top that one off, they still have Christine Michael too.)
Now, as Schneider just said, the Seahawks usually like about 130 guys each year in the draft and in his six seasons with the team they've averaged taking 9.3 players per season. (The .3 is Russell Wilson because he's short, do you get it? Do you get my joke?) This year they like 60-70 more players than usual, which is an increase of approximately 50% more than a regular class. Does that mean that they're going to try and add four picks in the draft this year? Maybe not, but if you like that many guys in the class, why not aim for acquiring more of them?
To that end, I am now 50% more convinced than usual that Seattle will trade down from 26 to acquire more picks in the draft this year. It will be the fifth year in a row that they've traded their first round pick. But when you look at the board and when you assume which players they probably like (Germain Ifedi and Jason Spriggs certainly among them but I'm hardly certain they'll even target an offensive lineman with their first pick) and the players that might be available that other teams might want to trade up for (perhaps if the Browns don't target a QB with their first pick they want to trade up for Connor Cook at the end of round one), then a trade seems even more likely.
So the message from the Seahawks yesterday was loud-and-clear: This is the deepest draft we've seen in seven years, we want a lot of these guys, there's a ton of depth, we don't see a huge difference from picking where we are at or trading down and picking 5-20 spots later or whatever as long as we get a lot of these guys to compete in camp.
And then the Los Angeles Rams responded later that same day (announced on Thursday) that they were going to give up picks number 43, 45, and 76 in this year's draft so that they could move up 14 spots for a quarterback prospect. For, by all accounts, a decent quarterback prospect. For which QB prospect? Oh, they don't even know yet. But they're pretty sure they want one of them and they gave up three day two picks to get one of them -- not sure which one of them yet, but probably one of them. And no, I'm still not convinced that Paxton Lynch isn't the best QB prospect in the draft this year, but that's for another argument.
This is about how the Rams gave up three good draft picks in the deepest class that the best front office has seen in seven years so that they could get a rookie QB who is still playing behind a suspect offensive line with a seemingly-bad supporting cast of receivers. Not that I'm complaining.
Of course, LA also traded away a first and a third in 2017, they also gave up the 15th overall pick, and they also received a fourth and a sixth round pick. Their net difference in picks in 2016 is simply minus-one, but when you notice that the Tennessee Titans are going to be picking six times in the top 76 of John Schneider's favorite draft class, you start to realize that might have an opportunity to truly solidify themselves as the best roster in the AFC South while the Rams continue their dogfight between mediocrity and idiocracy.
Yet how many times today have you heard, read, or said these words: "Well the Rams gave up too much but they had to!"?
First of all, you can't give up too much for something you had to do. If people agree that you had to do something, then by mere definition you gave up the amount needed. You wouldn't spend $70,000 on a used 1996 Toyota Corolla and then say, "Well, I had to do it!" simply because you needed a car. No, you didn't have to do that, dude. There were a lot of other cars out there for cheaper and a lot of other cars that cost $70,000 that are worth it, if that's what you want to spend on a car.
There is no other argument to be made other than the fact that Los Angeles overpaid for the number one pick. I'm not even going to hear the argument that "Well, if the QB they draft turns out to be great, then they were right!" because even the Rams have already fucked themselves on that argument. Why? Because they said that both of the QBs are equally good, so that's why they haven't picked one yet. So now both QBs have to turn out to be great for that to be true and also, if they are both equally good, why not trade up to the Browns and give up a little less? After all, we already know that Cleveland is stupid and desperate. If you'd be fine with either, why not just go up to number two?
Also, a good organization knows how to find good quarterbacks without giving up that many draft picks.
A lot of people today have pointed out that you can't win consistently without a franchise QB -- which is true -- but how many of those franchise QBs were picked number one overall? Let alone at the cost of all the extra picks that LA gave up to get him? Whoever they pick won't just cost as much as a number one overall pick, like Sam Bradford for example, but will cost that pick, plus the first rounder in 2017, plus etc. etc. etc. Which didn't work out all that well for Robert Griffin III in Washington, in part due to the pressure on RGIII to live up to those expectations and for Mike Shanahan to squeeze as much out of him during that first season as he could.
So who are these "Franchise" QBs? Tom Brady (6th round), Russell Wilson (3rd), Andy Dalton (2nd), Ben Roethlisberger (11th overall), Joe Flacco (18th), Aaron Rodgers (23rd), Tony Romo (undrafted), Drew Brees (2nd) to name a few. Sure, you've got Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Cam Newton, but if ever there was a year where the second tier might be better than the first tier, and the third tier might have a couple of gets worthy of the first tier, this would seem to be it.
Which brings me back to my original point and the point I've been trying to make to people for years:
The Rams suck.
As an organization, they're terrible. They make bad decisions constantly. They will never win consistently and they will never be the team you're constantly saying is going to "be good next year!" until they get new ownership or a change in philosophy, because they don't do smart football. Since when did people decide to start apologizing for the Rams on their "bad luck" and congratulating them on their 7-win seasons? Why did we stop lumping them in with the Browns, Lions, and Raiders of the world?
I mean, shit, even the Oakland Raiders have improved and become respectable before the Rams have.
Over the last four years, the Rams have won seven, seven, six, and seven games, respectively. They haven't won more than eight games since 2003. They have been terrible for well over a decade and they will be terrible next season too. What this trade did for me today, if anything, was give me more reason to believe that LA will go 2-14 next season and the pick they sent to the Titans will be number one overall.
I'm tired of hearing about how the Rams are kinda good, or kinda scary, or kinda going to be better than .500 next season -- especially since they haven't actually even been .500 since 2006. They're going to suck because that's what the Rams do. They suck.
Bully for the rest of the NFC West. Bully for the Tennessee Titans, who just got three really good picks in a really deep draft. Bully for the Seahawks, a team that has drafted as many Pro Bowlers since 2010 as the Rams have since 1998; For reasons just like the one on Thursday where LA announced that they were going to forfeit three day two picks so they could take a while to decide if one of these quarterbacks was worthy of the number one pick.
Schneider's going to come out of this draft with a dozen guys he thinks could be good enough to make the most competitive roster in the NFL. The Rams are going to come out of it with a quarterback and a number of holes on the roster that still need to be filled, probably by veterans who are still without a job in May and dudes they took in the supplemental draft last year that could barely make their practice squad.
And that's just the way I like it.