It is the first time since 2004 (Eli Manning) the No. 1 pick has been traded and it happened two weeks before Roger Goodell took the podium. The Titans already armed with their “Franchise” quarterback in Marcus Mariota, have a dearth of talent on their roster and did well by acquiring two first round selections (15th overall in 2016 and a 2017 1st round pick); two second round selections (both in 2016) and two third round selections (one in 2016 and 2017 respectively). Meanwhile, the recently relocated L.A. Rams have their pick of the litter atop the draft and will either select the FCS darling Carson Wentz or PAC12 product Jared Goff. Either of which would be a considerable upgrade to the battery of Nick Foles and Case Keenum and becomes the new face of the franchise (Todd Gurley/Aaron Donald anyone?). On its surface the Titans pulled a coup but this deal could serve both teams incredibly well if the Rams selection of either Goff or Wentz finally brings some stability and productivity to the quarterback position for the Rams organization.
Wentz vs. Goff
Many national reports are split on whom the Rams are leaning towards and there has been speculation that the Rams made the deal in order to give themselves two weeks to decide between either signal caller. Conventional wisdom suggests that the pick is already in but stranger things have happened. We at CPGM are NOT passengers on the Carson Wentz hype train and prefer Jared Goff (more analysis to come as the draft approaches) but we certainly wouldn’t be surprised if Wentz dawned a L.A. Rams cap come Thursday night. There doesn’t appear to be a Jameis Winston, Andrew Luck, or Cam Newton in this year’s class so the bold move to go from 15 to 1 carries significant risk. Who knows whether or not Wentz/Goff will face-plant or succeed. What we do know is that Jeff Fisher’s conservative and unimaginative offensive philosophy, a lack of talent outside the numbers, and a stingy defense built for playoff success will result in whoever is under center feeding thoroughbred, Todd Gurley, more often than not.
Titans 2016 Outlook
The idea is to add copious amounts of talent and garner needed experience for a young, re-building football team. This trade gives the Titans a larger margin for error and allows them to be the aggressor as they continue to build around Marcus Mariota. I do not expect the Titans to pick in the Top 5 in 2017, let alone Top 2. If they do, they didn’t get enough of their selections right in 2016.
Rams 2016 Outlook
Personally, I think it is a pivotal year for head coach Jeff Fisher (former Titans head coach – 17 years). The Rams are still reaping the benefits of the RGIII trade (hell, the Sam Bradford trade too) and have one of the better defenses and rushing attacks in the NFL. Both of which are key components in winning football games in December and January. But unless their new signal caller can elevate the play of an unimpressive receiving corps they will be mired in mediocrity and Fisher will be on the outs. Anything less than a 10 win season won’t sit well with Rams’ brass and most certainly won’t help season ticket sales.
The draft will be the determining factor as it pertains to the Titans. Laremy Tunsil would have improved Tennessee’s offensive line which in turn would account for at the very least a marginal bump in Demarco Murray’s and Mariota’s fantasy prospects but he’s likely no longer in play. I anticipate the Titans GM Jon Robinson will be aggressive and look to move back into the Top 10 to land one of the upper-tier prospects on the defensive side of the ball (Joey Bosa, Deforest Buckner, Myles Jack). So if you’re playing IDP keep your eyes on Tennessee. With respect to the Rams I wouldn’t count on a Jameis Winston/Derek Carr type rookie season. The last semblance of a bon-a-fide receiving threat in a Rams uniform had Holt or Bruce on the back of their jersey. Frankly, a running back, Steven Jackson, was the last decent “receiver” to play for the Rams. Am I missing someone..? I think not. Gurley, Gurley, Gurley, and the Rams DST.
I think there isn’t any question that the Titans did what was in the best interest of their organization. Stock piling HIGH draft picks when your roster is talent deprived is the best way to go about re-stocking the cupboard. And while it remains to be seen I can’t knock the Rams decision to take a big swing and go get “their guy.” There is a substantial drop-off from Goff and Wentz to Paxton Lynch and Lynch may not be on the board at 15. A running game and defense can earn you a Lombardi Trophy but you cannot go for long stretches during the regular season with a one-dimensional offense and hope to make the playoffs. Particularly if that dimension doesn’t involve throwing the football. Not in today’s NFL.