Los Angeles (AFP) – The newly relocated Los Angeles Rams are making a splash in the NFL even before their first game back in Southern California, making a blockbuster deal on Thursday to acquire the top pick in the 2016 draft from the Tennessee Titans.
The Rams are expected to use the selection to draft a quarterback, either Jared Goff of the University of California or Carson Wentz from North Dakota State, when the NFL holds its annual intake of new talent April 28-30.
The trade is the first involving the number one overall selection since 2004, when the New York Giants acquired Eli Manning from the San Diego Chargers.
“It is not often that you have the number one overall pick and we hope to not be in this position again, but we tried to use that pick as currency to work the draft and maximize player acquisition,” first-year Titans general manager Jon Robinson said. “We now have the ammunition to work the draft and acquire players that are good for this football team.”
The Titans already have their quarterback of the future in Marcus Mariota, last year’s second overall selection.
In return for surrendering the top pick and their fourth- and sixth-round selections to the Rams the Titans receive the chance to choose a wealth of talent with the Rams’ 15th-overall selection, two second-round selections and a third-round selection.
Tennessee will also get the Rams’ first- and third-round selections in 2017.
“Being able to acquire six picks in the top 76 this year and additional picks next year not only helps our depth but gives us ammunition to move in this year’s draft and next,” Robinson said.
The Rams, meanwhile, are hoping to land a quarterback who can be the face of the franchise for seasons to come.
The Rams have suffered from a lack of stability at the position. The Rams were 29th in total offense last season and 32nd in passing offense. They still managed to post a 7-9 record, thanks largely to a talented defense.
However, the bold move to give up so much with the aim of targeting a particular player who has yet to prove himself in the professional ranks remains fraught with uncertainty.
In 2007, the Oakland Raiders took quarterback JaMarcus Russell with the first pick, but Russell never lived up to expectations, compiling a 7-18 record in three seasons in Oakland.
That’s just one of the flops that litter the history of the draft, tales of woe that include the Cleveland Browns’ selection of Tim Couch in 1999 — he lasted five seasons before exiting the league.
Meanwhile superstars have emerged from among lesser selections. Tom Brady, who has led the New England Patriots to four Super Bowl titles, was a 199th selection, while Seattle’s Super Bowl-winning quarterback Russell Wilson was taken 75th in 2012.