EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Although the Los Angeles Rams won't pick until No. 15 in this year's NFL draft, there already seems to be a consensus forming for which direction they'll go with the choice.
On Wednesday morning, ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay unveiled the third edition of his 2016 mock draft. In it, McShay joined the growing legions of draft experts and pundits sending Mississippi wide receiver Laquon Treadwell to Los Angeles.
For McShay, the move represents a shift from his second mock draft in which he selected Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch for the Rams. Of course, in that mock draft, he also had Treadwell long gone at No. 7 to San Francisco before the Rams picked.
But now as we get closer to free agency and further into the draft process with pro days forthcoming, things are starting to become clearer. In this case, McShay joins fellow ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. in choosing Treadwell for the Rams. It's a pick that has been made in other corners of cyberspace as well. Also like Kiper, McShay no longer has Lynch in his first-round projection.
The growing belief that Lynch could fall deep into the first round or out of it altogether and the expanding belief that Treadwell to the Rams is a good fit are not unrelated. In looking at the Rams' offseason business, it's assumed that they'll spend the bulk of their salary-cap space retaining their key free agents, most of whom play defense.
If that's the case, it would leave the Rams still looking for ways to upgrade their woeful offense. The draft would be the logical next place to look for such help. In a perfect world, the Rams would get a quarterback who could help right away and be the long-term answer with that 15th pick. But based on this year's crop of quarterbacks, only the long-term option seems feasible and even that would be no guarantee at No. 15 or anywhere else.
So the safer alternative might be to try to find a top wideout who could help whichever quarterback the Rams choose to use in 2016. Whether that's Case Keenum or someone not currently on the roster, a rookie receiver in this class seems more likely to have success right away than a rookie quarterback.
Of course, this receiver class doesn't seem too loaded, either. In fact, Treadwell is the first wideout off the board in McShay's mock, and if he was a slam dunk like an A.J. Green or Julio Jones, he'd be long gone by No. 15. He also left plenty of questions about his speed by choosing not to run the 40-yard dash at the scouting combine.
Still, the early read on this draft class is that the chances of getting a receiver who can help the passing game now and in the future are better than the chances of getting a quarterback who can do the same.