Rams get good return on second-round investments

Posted April 27, 2012 @ 8:55 p.m.
Posted By Dan Arkush

Possessing three of the first 13 picks in the second round, including the first Friday-evening pick, the Rams quickly got down to business.

After losing out on Justin Blackmon in the first round when the Jaguars traded up one pick ahead of St. Louis' No. 6 spot to steal away the draft’s most coveted pass catcher, the Rams used their first pick of the evening on Appalachian State WR Brian Quick, a hopefully quick fix for a receiving corps in dire need of a reliable, big-play, downfield threat.

While not as highly rated as LSU’s Rueben Randle or Georgia Tech’s Stephen Hill, Quick has tremendous upside with exceptional tools. He can make great adjustments in the air, has excellent hand-eye coordination and plays big. He also could possibly figure in the return mix, which would increase his value. The problem is the fact he played at the Division I-AA level and might need more time to develop than the Rams, quite frankly, can afford.

Six picks later, new Rams GM Les Snead showed some gumption when he took a shot on North Alabama CB Janoris Jenkins, who was widely considered a first-round talent and also has considerable potential as a kick returner. But the problem with Jenkins that can’t be ignored are his multiple off-field arrests related to marijuana and, as PFW’s Nolan Nawrocki explained in his scouting report, Jenkins has “more red flags than May Day in Moscow.”

While the Rams might have had more serious needs at other positions, holdover CBs Bradley Fletcher and Jerome Murphy are both coming off season-ending injuries with no guarantees they can regain their prior form. That Jenkins was also too much of a top-grade talent to pass up made the Rams’ second pick of the second round look even better than their first pick of the evening. A potential starting CB tandem of free-agent addition Cortland Finnegan and Jenkins could be a gigantic upgrade.

Then Snead’s itchy trigger finger started acting up and the Rams made a slight trade down five spots to the 50th spot overall, adding a fifth-round pick from the Bears in the process.

Enter Cincinnati RB Isaiah Pead, the first of what figures to be a couple of badly needed backups for workhorse Steven Jackson from this draft. Pead is considered a very quick, competitive back but also has some character issues.

Did we mention that he, too, could return kicks?

We are now, in addition to concluding that the Rams appear to have gotten a really nice return from their second-round investments, red flags notwithstanding.