Make no mistake, the Rams won the Robert Griffin III trade. They ended up with Michael Brockers, Janoris Jenkins, Isaiah Pead, Rokevious Watkins, Alec Ogletree, Stedman Bailey, Zac Stacy and Greg Robinson. But, was it the right time to rub Washington's nose in what they had given up? St. Louis, since the 2012 trade, has gone 27-36-1. Janoris Jenkins now plays for the Giants. Pead plays for the Dolphins and Stacy plays for the Jets. Robinson is still a developing prospect with an explosive raw skillset. Watkins is a free agent.
As we enter a very different NFL landscape than we came into Thursday morning, let this be a lesson to Titans general manager Jon Robinson: The honeymoon will not last long if you don't make the picks count. Just four short years later, you could wind up being the one getting fleeced again for a "face of the franchise" that never came.
Now, the hard work begins.
In the moment, Robinson can linger in the limelight. The move was perfect, especially considering the fact that Los Angeles might have been able to prod the Browns for the No. 2 pick and still end up with the same player for slightly less. That, however, would have involved sorting through more smoke than any team cared to do.
They took a pick they did not need and spun it into six chances to select an impact player in the top 76 picks -- odds that any general manager has to like. And, as NFL Media's Mike Mayock mentioned Thursday morning on NFL HQ, they have plenty of ammo to trade back into the top 10 if there was a player they had their eye on all along.
"I think it was a chance for us to really bolster the depth of our football team," Robinson said this morning. "Having six shots at the top 76 players in this draft, not to mention five next year with the extra one and extra three. It was a chance for us to bolster the depth of this football team and add a lot of good quality players that will be at the top of the draft."
All at once, the move has to be thrilling and terrifying for a first-time general manager. Robinson has the chance to reverse Tennessee's fortunes over the course of two years. In 2014 and 2015 alone -- a very short evaluation period for draft picks -- there have been nine Pro Bowl players selected.
The Titans need help across their defensive line, at safety and cornerback. They need depth across the offensive line and targets for Marcus Mariota to throw to. Some general managers consider this a draft where first-round caliber defensive linemen will be available in the third. Some see wide receivers dotted throughout the draft who could be Day One starters.
This is what Robinson sees, too. In the spirit of his former mentor, Bill Belichick, he is placing a value on the higher odds as opposed to the bigger, one-time payoff. Now, it's up to Robinson to make it work.