For weeks we had heard that the Tennessee Titans would be willing to trade the number one overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft. It finally happened Thursday morning when it was announced that the newly re-minted Los Angeles Rams would be trading up with the Titans for the first overall pick.
Titans have traded No 1 pick to LA Rams. The Rams are on the clock.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 14, 2016
Rams and Titans agreed to trade at 9:30 pm ET Wednesday and withheld announcement so nothing would detract from Kobe Bryant's last NBA game.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 14, 2016
The Rams, of course, had to pay handsomely to move up from15th to first overall.
Rams get No. 1 pick, their 4th and 6th. Titans get Rams' 1, two 2s (43 + 45), 3 and then Rams 1 and 3 next year.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 14, 2016
The question for us now shifts to how this will change the remainder of the top 10. It was long expected that either Laremy Tunsil or Jalen Ramsey would go first overall. However, you don't mortgage your future like the Rams did on a tackle or defensive back.
They're going quarterback, the only question is which one.
But before we even question how far Tunsil or Ramsey fall, we need to ask if the Cleveland Browns will even be picking second overall. They are the true wild-card of this draft. With the fundamental philosophic shift in the Browns' front office, it's impossible to know what they are thinking. But by bringing in an executive with a baseball background, it's likely that they are embracing a more analytics based "moneyball" philosophy towards team building. They also have to be well aware of how many holes their roster has. With one of the top two quarterbacks a virtual lock to be drafted first overall, that dramatically increases the leverage, and attractiveness of the second overall pick.
If they are at least comfortable with the possibility of Robert Griffin III as their starting quarterback, the second pick very well could be for sale.
At fourth overall the Dallas Cowboys could -- and in my view, should -- be coming to grips with Tony Romo's football mortality. They also (likely) aren't expecting to be picking in the top five again any time soon. So the possibility of Dallas taking a quarterback could be enough to prompt the San Francisco 49ers or Philadelphia Eagles to trade up for the second quarterback.
Regardless of how the various picks fall, it is now almost a lock that two quarterbacks will be drafted in the first nine picks. The Rams' trade -- and a strong Pro Day -- also increases the likelihood that Paxton Lynch re-enters the conversation as a top-10 pick.
The potential for quarterbacks to go first and second overall in the draft dramatically changes the potential order of picks and pushes talented players who play less valuable positions down the board. Adding a third quarterback to the equation further increases the likelihood that a player falling into the laps of the Giants at which they might have thought they had no shot.
Then there is yet another possible outcome of this trade, courtesy of the NFL Network's Mike Mayock:
Great point by @MikeMayock on @nflnetwork just now: Titans have enough ammo to easily move back up and grab Ronnie Stanley if they want LT.— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) April 14, 2016
With three picks in the second round, could the Titans part with one to move up to 10th overall to pick Ronnie Stanley? While Laremey Tunsil is considered the top all-around offensive tackle in this draft class, Stanley might be the top pass protector. If the Titans' top priority is protecting Marcus Mariota, the possibility exists that they could jump back up in a trade with the Giants. The two teams got a deal done last year for the Giants to move up to the top of the second round and select safety Landon Collins. If a working relationship still exists, the Giants could be the Titans' best chance to trade up for a "blue chip" offensive tackle to protect their franchise quarterback.
Or nothing could happen. It's important to keep this in perspective and realize that while the potential permutations are tantalizing, we still don't know how it's all going to play out.
At the very least Thursday's trade shakes up what has become a fairly boring Top-10 and potentially creates new options for the Giants a 10th overall. If it puts them in a better position to pick up more picks in this draft's deep second tier of talent, so much the better.