Houston, St. Louis admit they’re looking to trade down

January 3rd, 2014 | Written by Rob Staton

And so it begins.

The mad rush to let the world know you’re open for business.

Rams GM Les Snead (who for some reason is still rocking a ‘Leonardo Di Caprio in Titanic’ look, even though it’s not 1997) was the first to move:

“There are going to be some teams that want to pick a quarterback, and that could increase the value of our pick… I have told people I’m not sure I know how to draft without multiple first-round picks, so I’m always going to be interested when it comes to making sure I can continue to do that.”

Last time he had the #2 pick he turned it into a treasure trove — although I’d argue it’s debatable whether the Rams are better off without Robert Griffin III.

Clearly he’s hoping history will repeat itself. I doubt there was a happier man in America when Johnny Manziel led that comeback against Duke earlier in the week.

The Rams are in a very strong position, even if they won’t quite match the RGIII. The three teams sitting behind them in the draft — Jacksonville, Cleveland and Oakland — all desperately need quarterbacks.

If the Texans don’t select Jadeveon Clowney, they could also field calls from Atlanta — who badly need a pass rush.

Bob McNair and the Texans will be envious of this position. I suspect some potential trade partners will wait to see what they do before reacting.

They don’t have an Andrew Luck sitting there — or an RGIII for that matter. They’d almost certainly prefer to move down and get more bang for their buck.

Manziel and Clowney will be two guys that make a trade possible, as long as they let it be know they’re willing to take either at #1 but not at all costs.

I suspect one or two teams (maybe more) are going to fall head over heels for Johnny M. Ditto for Clowney.

I’m not sure anyone’s going to feel that way about Teddy Bridgewater or Blake Bortles.

Some teams won’t have any interest in Johnny. But I’m willing to bet there’ll be a handful who talk themselves into needing him. Big time.

I can see Cleveland taking that stance.

Maybe Minnesota, too.

Clowney is a generational physical talent. He’ll go in the top 5. There’ll be no shortage of takers. But will anyone want him badly enough to go get the top pick?

I’ve mocked Clowney to Houston at every opportunity so far. But quarterback is their biggest need. They’ve appointed an offensive minded coach and he’ll want his own guy to build around.

Jay Cutler — the only obvious veteran out there worthy of a big trade — has now signed a mega-extension with Chicago.

Clowney is a nice fall back option if they can’t commit to Bridgewater, Manziel or Bortles. He’d be a terror alongside J.J. Watt.

But you have to wonder if they’ll feel obliged to take a quarterback, even if it is a little forced. There are two main reasons they slumped to 2-14 last year — bad offensive play calling and poor quarterback performance.

They’ll hope part one was addressed with their new coaching hire. Part two is the quarterback.

Waiting until #33 is an option, but A.J. McCarron’s performance against Oklahoma last night highlighted the issues within his game. His decision not to attend the Senior Bowl is also a head scratcher.

Nobody should expect Houston to draft another Carr brother.

If they do end up drafting a QB with the top pick, in a way it still helps St. Louis.

Take one of those signal callers off the board and the group thins. Now you’ve got three or four teams knowing they better move up or risk missing out on what is developing into a ‘power three’ of Bridgewater, Manziel and Bortles.

Cleveland, with two first round picks, might get a twitchy trigger finger. Minnesota — with GM Rick Spielman seemingly on a short leash — might feel like they need to make a splash.

Advantage, St. Louis.

Be prepared for the Rams possibly having three first round picks this year, or at least another couple next year.

But hey — at least it means Les Di Caprio (or is it Leonardo Snead?) won’t be drafting the guy in the video below.

Because frankly, they can draft all the Alec Ogletree’s they want.

As long as Sam Bradford is throwing the darts, the Rams will likely be as average as their quarterback.

33 Responses to “Houston, St. Louis admit they’re looking to trade down”

  1. Kenny Sloth says:

    Lol Les DiCaprio.

    What is everyone humming about Bortles for? I don’t see much on tape. Certainly like Carr more.

    Honestly Bridgewater reminds me of Roethlisberger.

    What are the odds Houston takes Manziel at #1?

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think Houston could take Manziel, but for whatever reason it doesn’t seem like a Bill O’Brien/Texans move.

      I think Cleveland will end up with Manziel, whether that’s after moving up or whatever.

      Bortles could be another Gabbert. Physically looks the part. Some good and bad tape, but lots of upside. I can see why he will go early, but I wouldn’t want to invest my reputation in him. I’d rather take a chance on Manziel.

      • SunPathPaul says:

        I’d like to see the Jags get Manziel. Good old Gus Bradley with the hot hand Manziel! They have some decent offensive weapons…Mercedes Lewis, Ace Sanders, legal case Blackmon… Who knows??

        Cleveland is the one place I don’t want to see him go…I’d rather Minnesota with that constant threat AP behind him—-damn! That’d be dangerous! I could see him launching balls to C Patterson all day! Hah!

        • Turp says:

          Cle is a train wreck of a FO. Despite the talent, not really worried about what they do…

          Houston should draft Manziel. The more tape I watch, the more I like him. Goes through reads. Arm strength is just fine. He can throw on the run. He can run. If you give a guy to spy on him, he throws it. There’s just so much to like about his game.

          Houston has a good line and good WR…a fine setup for him.

          • Kenny Sloth says:

            i would certainly not say that his arm strength is just fine. It’s definitely like. Matt Barkley level. Maybe better velocity.

  2. Patrick says:

    Rob, what about Ryan Mallet? I believe O’Brien was in New England when they drafted Mallett, and I for one have always been high on his potential. If it’s Bridgewater or Mallett/ Clowney, seems like Texans would be willing to give up a 2/3 for Mallett. Thoughts?

    • Rob Staton says:

      Well, I had a chance to interview him a year ago and he seemed like a nice enough guy despite all the stuff out there during the draft process. I’d like to see him get a chance somewhere, because it’s about time he showed what he can do. Whether he’ll warrant that type of draft stock I’m not sure. I think NE would be very fortunate to get even a third. Maybe it’s an option. I just think the Texans will want a QB they can really, truly invest their faith in. Mallett for me has all the unknown of a rookie, but less of the appeal.

      His best fit was Cleveland with Norv Turner as OC. Since Turner and Chud got fired, he’s in a bit of a situation. Hard to think which team gives him a shot.

      • Michael M. says:

        I would think the Cardinals would be a good fit to give Mallett a shot. If he is even a marginal upgrade over the aging Palmer then you’re probably looking at a playoff berth, and if he doesn’t pan out it’s not like you’re putting a ton of eggs in that basket if you get him for a 3rd. I am actually really intrigued with what Arizona does at QB going forward.

        Rob, would love to read an article detailing your thoughts on each division rival and this draft.

  3. Michael M. says:

    How’s this for a scenario: Detroit Lions trade up for Clowney?

    This is mostly just for the sake of rosterbation, but can you imagine a front 4 of Suh, Fairley, Ansah, and Clowney? Holy crap! With the talent already on that roster you could easily envision a quick turn around with some better coaching. Why not take a shot at assembling the greatest pass rushing line of a generation?

    • SunPathPaul says:

      That would be unique to see! It’d be cool to watch it! WOW

    • CC says:

      How about the Jags jumping up either for Clowney or Bridgewater? I really think that Caldwell and Gus want to build their teams like SEA and SF – defense first, so I could see them wanting Clowney.

  4. Sun says:

    Not sure why the Rams are so attached to Bradford? Clemens seemed to do a decent job after he got settled in.

  5. Cysco says:

    Since we’re talking possible trades, I’d like to put my prediction out there.

    Seahawks will trade out of the first round this year and pick up an extra 2nd and 4th. With their two 2nd round picks they’ll grab a WR and DE. Both players will be viewed as reaches by the pundits, but will be athletic freaks with incredibly high ceilings.

    Speaking of which, I sure hope we get to see some Christian Michael next year.

    • CC says:

      We need a third – can you change your scenario to make it a 3rd? Grab a TE in the 3rd?

      • House says:

        It would virtually impossible to trade our 1st to acquire a 2nd and 3rd.

        A Top 8 pick in the 4th would still yield us 3 players in the Top 110 or so.

    • Seameat says:

      I would love to see Christine Michael get some carries too in the playoffs. I also would not be surprised trading out of the first if the WR, DT, is picked. Drop down grab their defensive player or guard.

  6. Nolan says:

    http://nfl.si.com/2014/01/02/nfl-draft-2014-mike-evans-top-10-wide-receivers/

    This is one review of the top ten receivers in the draft that I found indeed it could be a good year for WR

    • Rob Staton says:

      No offense to Chris Burke, the author of that piece, but if he thinks Odell Beckham is “raw” I’m not sure what he’s watching.

      Beckham is a NFL receiver playing college football. You don’t get more polished than he is.

  7. Kenny Sloth says:

    WHERE IS CALVIN PRYOR! Why is no-one talking about this kid?

    The best FS prospect since Earl Thomas. Love this here kid. He’s a smart missile. He’s fiery. Long. A leader. Constantly calling out checks on D.

    He should be a first round pick. He’ll be a steal otherwise.

  8. Jarhead says:

    Alright Rob, I don’t have anywhere else to put this but seriously, Carlos Hyde looked like Beast Mode Jr. tonite. He had a great burst, was punishing, didn’t go down easily even when there was nowhere to go. I know everyone will jabber about Watkins and his game but I am very excited and hopeful about Hyde joining our team. Michael is useless as he never sees the field so having Hyde to pass the torch to for Lynch has me stoked. Hyde ran behind his pads, was always going North-South, ran to create contact as opposed to prevent it, and he was the only bright spot in the OSU offense. I know you want receiver addressed first and foremost but Beast Mode Part II I think will be even more important to maintaining the success of our offense for the intermediate future

    • Kenny Sloth says:

      Can’t say Michael is useless. Much more accurate to say he isn’t used. Perhaps they’re saving tread?

      • Seameat says:

        CMike running ability isn’t in question, I believe it is his ability to pick up blocks. I think they will draft another RB, but after 4th would be my guess since higher picks will be used on starter potential now or challenge starters. Hawks will be losing players at alot of positions but not RB.

    • Rob Staton says:

      He’s a good player but one thing we’ve learnt in this modern NFL is it doesn’t often pay to go running back early. You can find guys from anywhere. Hyde worries me a little bit — some character issues that need to be looked into and he’s listed as 6-0 and 242lbs. That’s big, even for a physical running back.

  9. dave says:

    Rob, another WR that you’d mentioned a little is Martavis Bryant, 6’5 hasn’t caught alot of balls but when he does its for chuck yards, similar to the Seahawks style. interesting guy in maybe rounds 2-3

    • CWU Hawk says:

      Did anyone else think the rams GM sounded like a moron in that particular instance? Only know how to draft with multiple picks? Hahaha and look at the team… Imagine if js/pc had those picks… Anyway i like the UCF QB and Manziel seem like decent NFL QB’s, but we will see…. praying Hageman (sp?) from Minnisota drops or we trade up for Evans or Watkins

  10. Clayton says:

    Wow. I can’t believe Houston would trade the pick. It almost seems suspicious that Houston has the first pick with the talent that they already have at a time when a once-in-a-generation type player is coming out in the draft.

  11. House says:

    HOU has options. They opened Pandora’s box for other teams. With Manziel’s stock only going up, someone will jump. I think it’ll be CLE. The Browns possess 2 1st Rd picks (#4 and IND’s 1st). Looking at the trade value chart, CLE could trade BOTH 1st rounders to HOU as well as their ’15 2nd Rd pick for #1 overall. HOU would see Clowney, Bridgewater or Matthews @ #4. I’m going with Clowney being there. They then have the flexibility to draft a QB w/ IND’s 1st or at #33. Another option could be to conditionally trade CLE’s ’15 2nd Rd pick to NE for Mallet. Mallet would be very familiar w/ terminology and he has the BIG arm to get the ball downfield. HOU could then address its other needs such as RT, relatively early.

    STL is doing their part to c*ck-block HOU and force them to show their hand. HOU has to sell the possibility that they can/will take Manziel/Bridgewater. STL could easily just draft Matthews or Watkins, but if HOU drafts Clowney #1, a bidding war will begin. Teams like CLE, OAK, MIN or ARI could all jump up to steal a QB from JAC.

    There is A LOT of risk trading top picks and HOU definitely has the pressure on them. STL didn’t do the Texans any favors…

  12. Ukhawk says:

    Any chance the hawks trade upon to top 20 for Evans/Clowney/Watkins, thoughts please? Seems like we could go for an elite player we could never get otherwise and maybe can count on getting depth from late round/FAs??

    • Rob Staton says:

      I suspect they’d have to get into the top five for Clowney or Watkins — so we’re talking two first rounders there. I’m not convinced they’ll do that with some big decisions coming up over the next few years. They’re going to need early picks, and they’re going to need to hit on most of them.

      Evans — I would encourage a move up if he drops into the teens. You might be able to avoid spending two R1′s. But even then we’d have to hope for what would be an unlikely fall. I think he’s a top-10/15 lock.

  13. UKhawk says:

    Rob. Thanks for the response. I honestly think they should do it even though I’m generally onboard with their traditional BPA approach. If the hawks could give up 2 picks which are almost guaranteed very low R1 for Clowney – I’d do it in a heartbeat. Same goes for Watkins if he will has a good chance to become a true #1. Agree similarly on your logic re Evans. This makes total sense given our track record in drafting in bottom half of R1 !!! Furthermore, I see it as the ONLY viable way of significantly upgrading in the near term whilst best managing the cap for the future.