Rams, Steelers could benefit from trades
April, 16, 2010
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By Kevin Weidl, Scouts Inc.
It has been reported that the Cleveland Browns are interested in trading with the St. Louis Rams to obtain the No. 1 overall pick. Should that trade go down, it would likely cost the Browns the No. 7 pick this year and their first-round selection in 2011.
Cleveland obviously needs franchise quarterback and would target Oklahoma's Sam Bradford. Team president Mike Holmgren has said publicly that he is not in love with Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen -- which all but rules Clausen out as a possibility for the Browns at No. 7 -- and while the price for Bradford would be steep, he would fill a very big need.
As for the Rams, the move would make sense for them if they still have reservations about Bradford's surgically repaired throwing shoulder and how his experience in Oklahoma's spread system would translate to the NFL. It could also make financial sense because St. Louis would not be locked into paying Bradford something north of $40 million in guaranteed money.
The Rams could then select Clausen at No. 7, mitigating concerns about his arm strength and how he handles bad weather by giving him eight home games per year in a dome and another guaranteed game in Arizona. He would perhaps be the biggest winner of all, given the playing situation and money involved.
Should the trade not materialize, the Browns would likely target a safety, such as Tennessee's Eric Berry. If Berry comes off the board in the first six picks, Cleveland could take a pass-rusher such as South Florida's Jason Pierre-Paul or Georgia Tech's Derrick Morgan, or even Berry's college teammate Dan Williams, as the heir apparent to aging NT Shaun Rogers.
And while it would seem to make sense for St. Louis to begin negotiating with Bradford in the absence of a trade, ESPN's Adam Schefter and others are reporting that neither side wants to enter into negotiations ahead of draft day. That opens up the possibility that the Rams could select Bradford and put him on the market immediately, much like what the San Diego Chargers did with Eli Manning in 2004.
Pondering a Roethlisberger trade
There has been speculation in recent days that the Pittsburgh Steelers might consider trading away troubled QB Ben Roethlisberger. Some argue that strictly from a football perspective the Steelers would be foolish to part ways with a franchise quarterback who has won two Super Bowls and is just now entering his prime years, but from Scouts Inc.'s perspective, some interesting scenarios develop when you start connecting the dots.
First, rule out bitter division rival Cleveland and other quarterback-starved AFC teams like Buffalo, Oakland and Jacksonville. The last thing Pittsburgh wants is to face Roethlisberger twice a year with the Browns, or have him standing in the way of a Super Bowl run with another AFC team.
(Yes, Philadelphia recently traded Donovan McNabb within its division to Washington, but in our opinion, the Eagles are not afraid of an aging McNabb in the way the Steelers would be of Roethlisberger.)
That leaves two NFC teams with a need at quarterback and the ammunition to acquire a player of Big Ben's stature: Seattle and San Francisco.
The Seahawks (Nos. 6 and 14) and 49ers (Nos. 13 and 17) each have two first-round picks and could conceivably package their earlier first-rounder with their 2011 first-round pick to acquire Roethlisberger, who would be an upgrade over fragile Seahawks starter Matt Hasselbeck or inconsistent 49ers QB Alex Smith.
Either team would instantly have the best quarterback in the NFC West and would maintain a first-round presence this year while Pittsburgh -- which currently picks at No. 18 overall -- would end up with two first-round selections this year and next.
That would leave the Steelers free to shore up needs along the offensive line and at cornerback this year, and if Seattle dealt the No. 6 pick, Pittsburgh would be in the running for a tackle, such as Oklahoma's Trent Williams or Iowa's Bryan Bulaga.
If San Francisco included the 13th selection, perhaps an interior lineman such as Idaho G Mike Iupati or Florida G/C Maurkice Pouncey would come into play, and -- trade or not -- Alabama CB Kareem Jackson is and would remain a possibility at No. 18.
The Steelers could then find a stopgap quarterback solution such as Byron Leftwich or Marc Bulger in 2010 and be set up nicely to use one of its 2011 first-rounders to obtain a top prospect such as Jake Locker (Washington), Andrew Luck (Stanford) or Ryan Mallett (Arkansas), either straight up or in a trade-up scenario.
There are certainly no guarantees when it comes to quarterback prospects, but all three players listed above will enter the NFL ahead of the game compared to most other college quarterbacks. Locker and Luck play in pro-style systems for coaches (Steve Sarkisian and Jim Harbaugh, respectively) who know how to develop quarterbacks, and Mallett has the kind of size and rifle arm NFL teams covet.
No one is quite sure how Pittsburgh will handle Roethlisberger, and we all know how hard it is to find a franchise quarterback on his level, but there are possibilities out there that are feasible and could turn a short-term loss into a long-term gain for the Steelers while giving some lucky team one of the best quarterbacks in the league.
Analyzing the Ginn trade
The San Francisco 49ers filled a need for a playmaker opposite Michael Crabtree by trading what is reported to be a fifth-round pick to the Miami Dolphins in return for WR Ted Ginn Jr.
Scouts Inc. did not have the 49ers seeking help at receiver in its latest first-round mock draft, and they are now more free than ever to focus on upgrading their defense and/or offensive line with picks No. 13 and 17.
A cornerback like Florida's Joe Haden would make sense with the 13th pick, and with the 17th pick, San Francisco could address its need for a pass rusher with Texas DE/OLB Sergio Kindle.
Offensive tackle is also a possibility at No. 17, and with the top three tackles likely off the board and Rutgers' Anthony Davis facing character questions, the Niners could opt for USC's Charles Brown, who has gained momentum lately in scouting circles.
Miami, meanwhile, filled its own hole at wide receiver with the Brandon Marshall trade and can now use the No. 12 overall pick to bolster its 3-4 defensive front with a pass rusher such as Morgan or Pierre-Paul, or perhaps a nose tackle such as Williams.