It's not just that general manager Billy Devaney's teams have never drafted a quarterback in the second, third or fourth rounds. Mostly it's because the Rams can't afford to invest a high choice in a quarterback without feeling strongly about getting a franchise player in return. Taking a quarterback they're less sure about should not come at the expense of immediate needs.
"One thing that should be noted is the success rate of quarterbacks drafted in the second round is far worse than that of those drafted in the first round," Rams executive vice president Kevin Demoff wrote during a March 4 chat. "The only second-round quarterback to make the Pro Bowl in recent memory was Drew Brees, and he would have been a first-rounder if there had been 32 teams in the NFL when he was drafted."
Such a cold recitation of facts hardly came off as a smokescreen. As noted, Kordell Stewart (1995 draft) and Jake Plummer (1997) went to Pro Bowls as second-round choices, although neither enjoyed exceptional careers by elite quarterback standards.
"I believe at the end of the (2009 season), 18 of the 32 quarterbacks starting in the NFL were first-round picks, and the next most prolific round was undrafted," Demoff wrote in the chat. "If you look at the playoffs last year, nearly all of the starting quarterbacks were first-rounders, with the exception of Brees, Brady and Warner, who all could be in the Hall of Fame. The percentages are much better in the first round, but with the reward comes great risk."