Quarterback-needy teams may not be the only ones eyeing that No. 2 overall draft pick currently held by the Rams. Sitting at No. 6 overall are the Atlanta Falcons, who desperately need someone on the edge to boost their pass rush. Jadeveon Clowney, that’s your cue. Clowney, the defensive end from South Carolina, may be the best athlete in this year’s draft. He has openly lobbied for Atlanta to trade up for him. Jacksonville, Cleveland, and Oakland are Nos. 3, 4 and 5 overall, respectively, in the upcoming draft. And all three of those clubs could use a quarterback. But what if one of those squads takes a fancy to Clowney? That’s where a trade-up with the Rams comes in. Conveniently, Rams general manager Les Snead is just two years removed from working in the Atlanta front office. Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff is both a mentor and a good friend. That familiarity could help both parties cut through the red tape and smokescreens and make a deal. “That helps,” said Snead, who spent 14 years with the Falcons before joining the Rams. “That may be overblown, though. You know just about everybody, so you don’t pick up a phone and think, ‘I’m calling a stranger. This is gonna be a cold call.’ “But yeah, some relationships you have maybe make the initial calls easier. But I think it’s a little overblown that the relationship is gonna get the deal done.” Not unlike the Rams, the Falcons aren’t afraid to make bold moves on draft day and are always willing to listen. The prime example came in 2011 when the Falcons moved all the way up from 27th in the first round to No. 6 in a trade with Cleveland for wide receiver Julio Jones. Snead was in his last season with the Falcons before coming to St. Louis and helped make the trade happen. “I’ve said that from day one, since 2008, that I always want to have the light on for business,” said Dimitroff, who was hired as Falcons GM in 2008. “I never want to be one of those teams that (when) people pick up the phone, they quickly throw the phone back down and hesitate to reach out thinking we’re not going to be straight up. “I think that’s the biggest thing. When you are ever able to cultivate trades, it’s about being honest with people in your dealings, and I think that we’ve done a nice job of that. We’re always going to be open for business.” Of course, before any trade takes place, the Rams must decide if they’re going to take Clowney at No. 2. Sure, the Rams are well-stocked at defensive end, with starters Robert Quinn and Chris Long plus backups William Hayes and Eugene Sims. All four are under contract at least through 2014. Not only does coach Jeff Fisher love collecting pass rushers, he might just see a little bit of Jevon Kearse when he watches Clowney on tape. Speaking generally (wink, wink), Fisher didn’t exactly slam the door on the possibility of adding another pass-rusher.
Clowney could be Rams' ace in the hole
St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Feb 26