Prior to trading for quarterback Matthew Stafford, the Los Angeles Rams were considered to be in the market for drafting a quarterback. It would have been unlikely for them to take a passer with their first selection at 52, but late on day two or on day three made some sense.
If Jared Goff were still under center, the Rams would have been looking to add some competition. Some options that were being thrown out were Kellen Mond and Jamie Newman. However, with Stafford now being the guy, that seems to be less of a need.
Even though it may be less of a need, should that completely throw the option out the window? The Rams proved that they could win a game or two with John Wolford starting if needed. They also have a developmental player that they brought in as an undrafted free agent last year in Bryce Perkins. That doesn’t even mention Devlin “duck” Hodges.
A plan for life after Stafford
However, with Stafford under center, the Los Angeles Rams have the perfect opportunity on their hands. Most likely Stafford is only going to be the Rams quarterback for three years. That would put him at 36 years old. Quarterbacks are playing until they are in their late-30s or early-40s, but 36 is still considered old.
That potential three year period would allow the Rams to draft a quarterback in the middle rounds this year and let them sit and learn behind Stafford for three years. When Stafford’s contract expires or he retires, the Rams would then have a quarterback in the waiting. That quarterback would have then been groomed and learned behind Stafford for three years.
That’s not to mention Stafford’s injury history. While he has started all 16 games in all but one season since 2010, that doesn’t mean he’s been 100% healthy in that time frame. Stafford detailed an example of that from last year:
“I had the partially torn UCL in my right thumb, I tore my UCL on my left elbow on the second to last play of the Houston game that nobody knew about, trying to stiff arm a guy … I broke my cartilage on my eighth rib in Green Bay (and) also tore something (in the back of) my left knee. And then I had a subtalar, right ankle sprain.”
Those are injuries that would have most players out for weeks, if not for the majority of a season. That doesn’t mention 2019 in which he missed eight games due to a fracture in his back. He also played through a broken back in 2018.
This isn’t to say that Stafford will get injured while playing for the Rams. He’ll have a much better offensive line than he did in Detroit as well as a better offensive system. However, that doesn’t mean that the Rams shouldn’t be prepared. Yes, John Wolford played well in Goff’s place last year, but it’s uncertain how much anyone would trust him over an extended period.
Learning from mistakes with Bradford
When the Los Angeles Rams had Sam Bradford at quarterback, it seemed as if they never had a solid backup option for when the inevitable happened. In 2011, AJ Feely and Kellen Clemens started a combined six games as Bradford suffered from an ankle sprain. In 2013 after Bradford tore his ACL, it was again an uninspiring Clemens. It was then the Austin Davis and Shaun Hill show in 2014.
The Rams had solid teams in 2013 and 2014. Had Bradford been healthy or the Rams had a viable backup quarterback, they may have ended up with more wins.
Again, this isn’t to say that Stafford will get hurt with the Rams, but drafting a rookie would give the Rams a potential option for the future as well as an inspiring option if an injury scenario were to occur.
Drafting a quarterback would also mean carrying three quarterbacks on the roster as John Wolford’s contract expires at the end of the year. However, if the Rams drafted someone like Newman, Mond, or even Shane Buechele from SMU, the Rams would have their backup quarterback set for next year as well as a potential starting option for when Stafford retires.
The Rams have other needs other than quarterback right now. As mentioned, they currently have four on the roster. Drafting a quarterback isn’t likely. However, it also shouldn’t be something that’s completely thrown out the window either. If the value is there late in the draft, quarterback should be considered.