RENTON, Wash. -- The only NFC West team with an established passer benefited Thursday night when four of the 13 teams drafting ahead of it selected quarterbacks.
The St. Louis Rams, owners of the 14th overall selection in the 2011 NFL draft, suddenly found themselves in position to select the third outside pass-rusher.
When the Rams snagged North Carolina pass-rusher Robert Quinn at No. 14, only Texas A&M's Von Miller (second to Denver) and Missouri's Aldon Smith (seventh to San Francisco) were off the board among edge rushers.
Quinn was the player I had projected to San Francisco at No. 7. He's a higher-risk prospect than the Rams have typically considered in the first round under general manager Billy Devaney and coach Steve Spagnuolo. But with Chris Long developing into an excellent every-down player at left end, Quinn gives the Rams more of a pure pass-rushing prospect to mold on the other side.
Quinn missed the 2010 season while serving a suspension for dealings with an agent. He also had a benign brain tumor, another risk for teams to consider.
The Rams have the right idea with this selection. Yes, they could have used a defensive tackle as well, but pass-rushers are harder to find. Spagnuolo now has another young prospect for his rotation up front.