The Fork in the Road: Do the St. Louis Rams Sell Tickets or Play It Safe on Defense?

Most years, being first on the clock is a mere formality in the NFL Draft game, with the last-place team’s needs and choices obvious, and left to be envied by much of the league. Such is not necessarily the case for the St. Louis Rams in 2010; with the direction they choose going a long way in determining the franchise’s long-term future.

Offense or defense? Quarterback or defensive tackle? Bradford or Clausen? McCoy or Suh? Talk about choices! Should the Rams choose offense, should they pick the guy many think is the best quarterback available, Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford, or do they go to the second-ranked QB according to, Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen, due to his familiarity with a pro-style offense versus Bradford playing in the spread? If St. Louis decides to bolster the defense, there is yet another tough choice at defensive tackle, between Oklahoma’s Gerald McCoy and Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh, who according to Sport Inc.’s Top 32 on are respectively considered the number one and number two prospects in the entire draft!

As one of the NFL Draft’s most prolific experts, Mel Kiper predicts the Rams will take Suh, with McCoy going second to Detroit, Bradford fourth to Washington, and Clausen ninth to Buffalo. Some may tend to agree with this pick, especially since Rams Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo is a defensive-minded coach who loves to pressure the quarterback – something St. Louis does not seem to have the right personnel for up front. On the other hand, many would argue that everything in football revolves around the quarterback, and that the Rams simply cannot afford to pass on yet another franchise-caliber signal caller, with most agreeing that it should be Bradford over Clausen.

The bottom line is that while McCoy and Suh will most likely provide two NFL teams with Pro Bowl careers, and Clausen will probably prove to be a starter in the league as well, Sam Bradford should be the Rams’ pick on April 22nd. He has the natural ability and intelligence to take over under center right away – similar to Mark Sanchez last season and Matt Ryan the one before – and as a popular choice of the fans, he will undoubtedly help to sell a lot of St. Louis Rams tickets, which is all a part of the big picture as well.