On Thursday, April 26, the St. Louis Rams will take the next step in rebuilding the franchise when they make their first selection in the 2012 NFL Draft. The team has plenty of options, but what is the best decision for the organization? I think the answer is easier than what many people think.
The Rams love Alabama running back Trent Richardson, and I think he is the best running back to come out of college in the past five years. However, I don't think he makes it past the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their No. 5 pick in the first round. My guess is that the Cleveland Browns will probably take Richardson, or we could see a team make a trade with the Bucs.
If either of those two moves take place, Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon should be available for the Rams. Blackmon is slightly undersized and lacks elite speed for a top 10 draft pick, and his attitude has been questioned across the NFL. Yet he is a playmaker with a nose for the endzone. Blackmon has solid hands and almost always seems to get open in coverage. He would be a fine addition to the Rams' receiving corps.
However, I think the Rams would be better off taking Notre Dame receiver Michael Floyd in the first round. The team needs a deep threat, and that's what Floyd brings to the table. He has the tremendous combination of size and speed that the Rams need for a No. 1 receiver. The only problem I can see with Floyd is his baggage, but I think there are enough quality people on the Rams' roster who would keep him out of trouble.
There is another positive to choosing Floyd instead of Blackmon. I think the Rams could trade down in the draft and still get Floyd. They wouldn't have that option if they select Blackmon.
The Rams got an outstanding deal when they traded the No. 2 of the first round to the Washington Redskins for three first-rounders. Now they have the opportunity to add some more picks by moving down in the draft one more time, and the best part about it is that the Rams could still get the player they need to help Sam Bradford and the offense.
Derek Ciapala has been a Rams fan since he was a child and the team was in Los Angeles. His favorite Rams moments include Flipper Anderson's 336-yard receiving night against the Saints in 1989, and their miracle 1999 run to their first Super Bowl victory. You can follow him on Twitter @dciapala.