Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 4/27/12

There probably isn't a very long list of items that the St. Louis Rams' new football tandem of head coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead salvaged from the rubble left behind by its predecessors, except a penchant for picking good talent in the second round.

The significance of that key ingredient was magnified on Friday night, of course, when the Rams exercised their second-round windfall to select three players within the first 18 slots of the round (after another trade down).

They were wide receiver Brian Quick (Appalachian State, 33rd); talented but troubled cornerback Janoris Jenkins (North Alabama/Florida, No. 39) and tailback Isaiah Pead of Cincinnati (No. 50).

The most notable, if not notorious, was Jenkins, who possesses first-round ability but a penchant for smoking dope and siring children out of wedlock with a variety of women. The steal of the draft or a classic bust based on a player's past indiscretions? We'll find out, but certainly a key to the Rams' fortunes in the 2012 draft, no question.

"I'm just grateful," said a relieved Jenkins.

Time will tell if Snead and Fisher are similarly disposed. But sometimes, you've got to take a chance or two. And the St. Louis brass, even given the impatience there of the populace for turning things around, had the luxury of multiple chances in the value round. They were essentially playing with house money and, even with the Jenkins gamble, may have elicited a jackpot.

The bounty was essentially forged through a trio of trades -- the heist with Washington nearly seven weeks ago in which St. Louis abdicated the second overall selection in the draft so that the Redskins could take quarterback Robert Griffin III; the Thursday night slide-back into Dallas' slot (14th overall) that allowed the Cowboys to choose cornerback Morris Claiborne; and then Friday's mini-maneuver in which the Rams fell back five spots (to No. 50) so that Chicago could jump up for South Carolina wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.

It will be a while before the deals can be evaluated in terms of what the Rams netted from the trade-back activity. As un-cool as it might be in an instant analysis society, we're not into knee-jerk evaluations made before a prospect ever slaps on his first set of NFL shoulder pads, and remain fixated on empirical results instead of mere projection or guesswork. That said, the early returns on the Rams' efforts appear fairly solid.

Quick is a big, play-making target, who might not give quarterback Sam Bradford the speedy home-run hitter he has lacked, but is very good. Just a hunch, but the bet here is that Quick will catch nearly as many balls from Bradford this year as Justin Blackmon does from Blaine Gabbert in Jacksonville. He should help Bradford improve on his anemic 6.06 yards per pass in 2011.

The Rams dealt back with Dallas on Thursday night after Blackmon, the receiver they coveted, went off the board. Jenkins, as noted, is the key, the player around whom the St. Louis draft class will be determined. He's a big-time question mark, but with exclamation-point potential. Pead, a hit at the Senior Bowl practices, might finally be the running back who assumes some of the Steven Jackson workload.

"We think," Snead said, "we got three good football players."

Needless to say, the Rams need 'em.

In most drafts, but particularly this one, true value is unearthed in the second round. That remains true, even though the rookie wage scale negotiated as part of the CBA extension last year has made it infinitely more palatable to target players and move up for them into higher slots, clearly a factor in Thursday night's first-round deals.

But with no single player capable of instantly resurrecting the Rams, it was more sagacious to amass picks and stock up on players.

That's exactly what Snead and Fisher -- the former noted for his work ethic and his attention to detail during his tenure as an Atlanta personnel director, the latter the best and most experienced coach available in the offseason -- accomplished over the past two months.

No one can blame the long suffering St. Louis fans, who haven't been able to cheer for a playoff team since 2004, for a lack of patience. But the NFL's quick-fix mentality aside, and with apologies to the league's propaganda machine that spits out all those worst-to-first statistics, assembling a winner with staying power is a process, not a weekend pursuit.

So the results of the Rams in the second round over the past three years is pretty good, and Fisher and Snead can only hope history repeats itself.

Consider the club's past three second-rounders:

Tight end Lance Kendricks (Wisconsin, No. 47 in 2011) started in 10 games as a rookie last year and is a solid player. In 2010, St. Louis took Rodger Saffold (Indiana, No. 33), and he started all 16 games at left tackle as a rookie, and probably would have last season, were it not for a pectoral injury that cost him seven games. The 2009 pick, middle linebacker James Laurinaitis (Ohio State, 35th overall), has started all 48 games in three years, averaged 125.3 tackles, and is arguably the club's defensive centerpiece.

The Rams' new football regime will take similar results, and just might get them from the trio of players added on Friday night.

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