The Los Angeles Rams are hoping to solidify their franchise this week.
More than likely, the recently transported Rams are going to begin a new era by selecting California quarterback Jared Goff as the No. 1 overall pick. If the Rams don’t take Goff, they will likely pick North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz.
From a marketing standpoint, it makes sense. Los Angeles is a city that’s enamored with glitz and glamour. So picking a quarterback from the home state as the No. 1 overall pick will only help the city pay attention to its newest team. And the Rams are in need of a new signal caller.
But marketing and team need shouldn’t ever supersede taking the best player on the board.
Maybe Goff is the best player in the draft. Maybe it’s Wentz. Or maybe it’s not a quarterback at all.
Taking a look at past drafts is a quick way to learn that picking team need over overall talent is a bad idea. Teams looking for their franchise quarterback are often the worst offenders.
In desperate need of a quarterback in 1993, the Seattle Seahawks picked quarterback Rick Mirer instead of Hall of Fame offensive tackle Willie Roaf. In similar fashion, the San Diego Chargers were dead set on drafting a quarterback in 1998 and picked Ryan Leaf instead of Heisman winner and future Hall of Famer Charles Woodson.
Caught up in the allure of a quarterback, Cleveland and Cincinnati chose Tim Couch and Akili Smith over such stars as Edgerrin James, Ricky Williams, Torry Holt and Champ Bailey in 1999. Three years later, Houston and Detroit were locked in on David Carr and Joey Harrington in lieu of future defensive stars like Julius Peppers, Roy Williams, and Dwight Freeney.
In 2007, Oakland got caught up in idea of having a shiny new quarterback and picked JaMarcus Russell instead of Calvin Johnson, Joe Thomas or Adrian Peterson.
Sure, it will be nice for the Rams to start their new era with a new quarterback and an unquestioned face of the franchise.
But at the end of the day, it’s always better to have the best player.
Mark Schremmer has been a sports reporter since 2000 and has covered games at the professional, college and high school levels for The Topeka Capital-Journal and The Joplin Globe.
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