New city, new quarterback?
NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks identified the Rams among six teams that need to draft a quarterback this year, noting the club needs a more dynamic link between its top two playmakers: burgeoning star rusher Todd Gurley and versatile dynamo Tavon Austin. The Rams did so just last year, taking Sean Mannion from Oregon State in the third round of the 2015 draft. His rookie season amounted to just seven pass attempts, however, as the club turned instead to Case Keenum when starter Nick Foles faltered.
So what traits does a quarterback in coach Jeff Fisher's offense require?
Top senior quarterbacks in the draft include North Dakota State's Carson Wentz, Michigan State's Connor Cook, Arkansas' Brandon Allen, N.C. State's Jacoby Brissett, Mississippi State's Dak Prescott and USC's Cody Kessler. The Rams will have a chance to see all those except Cook at the Reese's Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., later this month. Top underclassmen at the position that have indicated they intend to enter the 2016 NFL Draft include Memphis' Paxton Lynch, Cal's Jared Goff, Ohio State's Cardale Jones and Penn State's Christian Hackenberg.
"Jeff Fisher wants to be able to run the ball and dominate physically, so in a quarterback, he wants someone like Steve McNair was, who is efficient and doesn't turn the ball over," said NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein. "Someone who will complement a running game, someone who can run playaction and convert third downs. I think (Paxton) Lynch fits that mold. He has the athleticism to bootleg out and run, and convert third downs with his feet, and his interception numbers were very low last year. In a brand new city, you get an extended honeymoon. So what better time to bring in a young quarterback who is still growing?"
If the right quarterback is available at the right time, however, a rookie-meets-Los Angeles introduction could be forthcoming.