2012 NFL Draft: St. Louis Rams Trade Down, Washington Redskins Pursue Robert Griffin III

Robert Griffin III proved too much for the Washington Redskins to resist: The St. Louis Rams have reportedly traded their No. 2-overall pick to Washington for three first round picks and a second-rounder.

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NFL Draft 2012: Andrew Luck-Robert Griffin III Rumors Still Flying, Somehow

It's the 2012 NFL Draft side-story that refuses to die: People continue to suggest that the possibility exists the Indianapolis Colts, who dumped Peyton Manning to draft Andrew Luck, will instead take Robert Griffin III, for whom the Washington Redskins recently traded all their draft picks. I'm sure the Redskins wouldn't be too disappointed to end up with Luck, but the whole thing suggests a more nebulous process than I'm sure either front office is engaged in. They don't just want a superstar prospect quarterback—they want their superstar prospect quarterback.

Look: It could certainly happen. Stranger things have—like when some football analysts wanted the St. Louis Rams to take Jimmy Clausen instead of Sam Bradford. But it probably won't.

More duly skeptical NFL Draft analysis from SB Nation St. Louis:

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NFL Mock Draft 2012: Robert Griffin III Makes Pro Day With Washington Redskins Brass Count

I don't want to act as though 2012 NFL Mock Draft writers' job is easy, exactly, but I will say that if the Washington Redskins don't select Robert Griffin III with the No. 2 pick—acquired from the St. Louis Rams—come April it will be because the draft was canceled after a shocking zombie apocalypse, not because they decided someone better had come along. Nevertheless: RG3's pro day at Baylor came and went without issue, confirming the quarterback's status as the second-best prospect in the draft.

With "Thriller" playing in the background, and the mandate that it "not be so uptight like the combine can be," Griffin wasn't going to surprise anybody who'd already seen him play. But with Mike Shanahan and Daniel Snyder in attendance—among other NFL executives—it was a fine chance for the Washington Redskins and their expensive quarry to get some pre-draft face time. Let's hope, for their sake, that the Redskins' brass liked what they saw.

More NFL Mock Draft stories hand-picked from SB Nation St. Louis:

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NFL Mock Draft 2012: The St. Louis Rams' Free Agency Missteps Could Mean Justin Blackmon Pick

A few days ago (a million days, in NFL Mock Draft years) it looked like the St. Louis Rams would exit the vicious 2012 NFL free agency season with a Mario Manningham type at wide receiver—not a true number-one by any measurement, but closer to one than, say, Danny Amendola and Danario Alexander. Instead, the San Francisco 49ers got Mario Manningham, the New England Patriots signed Brandon Lloyd, and the Rams got a rock. It's all speculation at this point, but it seems like their free agency goose-egg might mean that the Rams selecting Justin Blackmon at No. 6 is more likely than ever.

Of course, if you ask the mock drafters, it's been pretty likely for a long time now. We'll know more as we approach the actual NFL draft, but for now it seems like the Rams' only chance at grabbing a number-one wide receiver, if that was ever their goal, involves selecting Justin Blackmon and hoping he and Sam Bradford make an immediate connection.

More NFL Mock Draft coverage from the Justin Blackmon coveters at SB Nation St. Louis:

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NFL Mock Draft 2012: St. Louis Rams' Robert Griffin III Bounty Adds Draft Depth

For a guy who will never put on a St. Louis Rams uniform, Robert Griffin III could have an enormous bearing on the team's future—and it's already showing in their 2012 NFL Mock Draft performance, if you like that sort of thing. In addition to moving them down to Justin Blackmon territory and giving them two additional first-rounders to work with in the future, he was worth the Washington Redskins surrendering this year's second-round pick, which gives the Rams two early second-rounders.

Those two early second-rounders might not sprout impact players, but for a team with as many holes as the Rams entered 2012 trying to patch, they could yield some vital role players. Scott Wright's DraftCountdown, for instance, has the Rams selecting DT Jerel Worthy and OT James Brown with their two picks in the 30s. Tackles on either side of the ball rarely get the blood pumping, but the Rams are in need of depth and upside at both positions; if they can fill both of them in one draft while still getting their man with Blackmon—well, it's almost enough to make me want to buy a Robert Griffin III Rams jersey.

More on the Rams' newly embiggened 2012 NFL Draft plans, from SB Nation St. Louis:

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2012 NFL Mock Draft: Rams-Redskins Trade And Peyton Manning Uncertainty Reshape Draft

The St. Louis Rams’ decision to trade the second overall pick for the Washington Redskins’ next three first round picks (and change) wasn’t exactly unexpected by the 2012 NFL Mock Draft cognoscenti, but now that it’s finally happened weeks of speculative mock drafts can go all in on the Rams’ No. 6 pick. No more worrying about whether Justin Blackmon would be a reach at number two—now we can worry about whether he’ll be available at number six! Meanwhile, the teams who can no longer hope to select Robert Griffin III have to consider selecting… Peyton Manning.

WalterFootball has the Rams selecting Blackmon in their latest mock draft, with two other competitors for the Rams’ good graces, Morris Claiborne and Trent Richardson, going directly ahead of the sixth overall pick.

With the Rams’ ability to fill holes through the next few drafts effectively doubled, Blackmon makes considerably more sense than he did a few weeks ago. If the Rams see him available at sixth, it seems like they won’t hesitate to take him.

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NFL Mock Draft 2012: St. Louis Rams Could Use Redskins' Pick On Morris Claiborne

It’s finally happened, 2012 NFL Mock Draft writers—after months of wearying yourselves with speculation about whether the St. Louis Rams would trade the second overall pick to a team looking for Robert Griffin III, they’ve reportedly done it, trading down with the Washington Redskins for a sixth overall pick that’s been connected with them all along. Among the picks being suggested for that spot: Morris Claiborne.

In the latest SB Nation Mock Draft, of course, Claiborne actually ends up with the Cleveland Browns, the jilted RG3 lovers of the last few weeks, leaving the Rams with the even-more-speculated-about Justin Blackmon.

The Rams could certainly use a cornerback, given the wrecking ball that went through their defensive backfield last year, but they might have traded down a little too far to use their new pick on the most coveted corner in this year’s draft. Of course, this is why they made the trade in the first place: Now if they can’t fill all their needs in April, there’ll be another chance next year.

More reports about the Rams' near-future draft plans from SB Nation St. Louis:

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St. Louis Rams' Trade With Washington Redskins A 2012 NFL Draft Difference-Maker

The St. Louis Rams’ reported trade with the Washington Redskins, centered around the No. 2 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, could be one of the biggest difference-makers we’ll see before April’s draft. With Washington in place as a team that’s unlikely to let Robert Griffin III slip, teams who’d hoped to grab the second-best quarterback in the draft with a later pick will have to begin thinking very differently; with the Rams newly stocked with draft choices, they look more like a franchise on the rise than they have since they cratered last fall.

A lot could still change between now and draft day, but the biggest question mark in the early part of the draft—who would trade up to grab Griffin, and what would they have to give the Rams to do it—appears to have been settled. For St. Louis, now, the question is what they’ll do next, not only with this year’s picks—the sixth overall and an additional second-rounder—but with the two new first-rounders they have to play with.

On this, the best day in some time to be Sam Bradford, related pieces from SB Nation St. Louis's 2012 NFL Draft coverage:

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2012 NFL Mock Draft: St. Louis Rams Could Use Redskins Pick On Justin Blackmon

The St. Louis Rams and the Washington Redskins have reportedly traded draft picks, sending the No. 2 pick—and, presumably, Robert Griffin III to the Rams in exchange for the No. 6 pick, two more first rounders, and this year’s second-round pick. It’s a big haul, and bigger news, but for 2012 NFL Mock Draft mavens it’s old hat—they’ve been acting as though one of these trades were a foregone conclusion for months now. And now that it’s actually happened, we’re back to the old question: Will the Rams pick Justin Blackmon?

The questions about Blackmon have never been related to his talent or the Rams’ need for a wide receiver who Sam Bradford can grow with—they’ve always been about whether he could possibly be the best player available when it came time for the Rams to pick. He wouldn’t have been at second overall, but at sixth—well, sixth is far enough back, given how granular the early moments of the NFL Draft are, that the Rams could have competition for him. For fans who can’t wait for Bradford to have a deep threat, this trade is nothing but good news.

More Rams-Redskins and Justin Blackmon coverage from SB Nation St. Louis's NFL Draft stream.

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Robert Griffin III Trade Means The End Of St. Louis Rams' Non-Existent Quarterback Controversy

So: The St. Louis Rams have traded what amounts to Robert Griffin III for the sixth overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, two more first-rounders, and a second rounder. It’s a great haul for a team that needs more than one player and zero additional quarterbacks… and it also means the end of the non-existent quarterback controversy that pitted RGIII against the Rams’ savior-in-residence, Sam Bradford.

At SB Nation St. Louis we did our own hey-why-not stoking, asking why the Rams wouldn’t just select RGIII after all, and while the question creates some interesting thought experiments, the logistics are really just too much to deal with.

Now all that’s over: The Washington Redskins are done with Rex Grossman, and the Rams are all in on Bradford, who will get all the young talent he can reasonably expect if the Rams do a half-decent job of drafting with their forthcoming haul. Having taken one last minute to wonder what might have been, I’m more than happy with what’s actually happened.

For more on the trade, follow our NFL Draft story stream. Here’s more on the Rams and Redskins’ draft swap:

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