The St. Louis Rams currently hold the second overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft, but Sports Illustrated's Don Banks projects the team to trade down to the fourth overall pick and select Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon.
In his latest mock draft, Banks has the Rams trading the No. 2 pick to the Cleveland Browns, who will then select Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III. He believes that Griffin is a lock to be selected second overall, and given the presence of Sam Bradford in St. Louis, some other team will likely trade up in order to make that move. Cleveland would then be the best fit for a trade, in Banks' opinion, because the Browns have two first-round picks in 2012, including the fourth overall pick.
Here's what Banks says about the decision to trade down and take Blackmon:
No wonder Jeff Fisher wanted the Rams job over the Dolphins' head coaching vacancy. By dealing with the Browns, St. Louis gets the same player it likely would have taken at No. 2 -- landing the top-rated receiver it needs to help Sam Bradford and the passing game rebound from a dismal 2011 -- plus pockets Cleveland's No. 22 pick and maybe another late-round selection. Blackmon and Bradford should be able to make beautiful music together for years to come.
This seems to be following logic that's been used most often to explain the reasoning behind trading down: the Rams can get the same player that they'd select with the No. 2 pick at some later point a few picks later in the draft. This allows St. Louis to also have the No. 22 pick in the 2012 draft through the trade with Cleveland, which Banks projects to be used on Georgia offensive lineman Cordy Glenn.
With the underachieving Jason Smith a good bet to become a salary cap casualty any day now, the Rams could stand to identify a potential starting right tackle with the No. 22 pick they will get in the projected RG3 trade with Cleveland. Ohio State tackle Mike Adams remains available in this scenario, but he does come with off-field baggage that could impact his standing this spring. Here's a long-shot name to file away: Ole Miss tackle Bobby Massie.
While some might argue that the Rams would be better off trading Bradford and taking Griffin themselves, being able to add multiple top prospects for next season obviously has to be a tempting option.