NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Rams have gone Hollywood with one of the splashiest trades in NFL draft history.
As if their return to Los Angeles after more than two decades in St. Louis wasn’t bold enough, they traded for the No. 1 overall selection in this month’s draft. The quarterback-strapped Rams sent a collection of picks on Thursday to the Tennessee Titans, freeing the way for coach Jeff Fisher’s team to likely grab the QB they covet.
“Our philosophy has always been to build through the draft,” Rams general manager Les Snead said in a statement. “This trade is a reflection of that goal and Mr. Kroenke’s dedication to assembling a winning team on the field.”
Tennessee swaps the top pick to the Rams along with its choices in the fourth and sixth rounds. The Rams will give the Titans their first-round pick (No. 15 overall) along with two second-round selections and their third-round pick in the draft starting April 28. The Titans also will receive the Rams’ first- and third-round round picks in the 2017 draft.
Fisher, who coached the Titans from 1994-2010, including more than two seasons when they were the Houston Oilers, is familiar with such big moves. Four years ago, the Rams made a massive draft-choice deal with the Redskins that landed Robert Griffin III in Washington.
“In order to make a move of this magnitude you have to have a good trade partner,” Fisher said in a statement. “We appreciate working with the Titans on an opportunity that can benefit both organizations.”
This will be the first time the Rams have held the No. 1 pick since 2010 when they took Sam Bradford, a quarterback they traded to Philadelphia last year. The second-round pick the Rams got in that deal now belongs to the Titans.
After struggling with mediocre quarterback play last season, the Rams almost certainly are looking at Carson Wentz of North Dakota State and Jared Goff of California, considered the top QB prospects.
Tennessee certainly benefits, now holding six of this draft’s first 76 picks. General manager Jon Robinson, hired in January, is looking to rebuild a franchise that has gone 5-27 the past two seasons. He noted Thursday that the extra picks give him more flexibility.
“I would say this doesn’t really knock us out of moving back up. It doesn’t mean we’re going to,” Robinson said. “It gives us options. Much like a play call sheet on game days, you want to have your full play sheet that you can call plays from. We want to have the same thing with the draft. We want to have multiple options and multiple plays, if you will, that we can go to to make this football team better.”
Robinson also isn’t shying away from making more trades before the draft.
“My phone is still working,” Robinson said. “Feel free to call.”
The draft-shaking trade also impacts the Cleveland Browns, who have the No. 2 overall pick and have their sights set on landing a franchise quarterback after more than a decade of futility. They’ve extensively studied both Wentz and Goff, and still could get one, though perhaps not the one they prefer.
Also, the recent signing of Griffin, coincidentally, as a free agent may have lessened their need to address the position.
This is just the seventh trade involving the top overall pick since 1990, and the first since 2004. That was when San Diego drafted Eli Manning and traded his rights to the New York Giants, with the Chargers winding up with Philip Rivers.
Details of the deal: The Titans send their No. 1 pick to the Rams for LA’s No. 1 (15th overall), two second-rounders (No. 43, No. 45), and a third-rounder (No. 76). Tennessee also gets the Rams’ first- and third-round picks in the 2017 draft. The Rams also get the Titans’ fourth-round (No. 113) and sixth-round (No. 177) selections this year.
AP Sports Writer Tom Withers in Cleveland contributed to this report.
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