The Los Angeles Rams made a historic, blockbuster trade Thursday morning that could drastically impact where Ole Miss offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil is taken on draft day.
The Rams shipped off the No. 15 overall pick, two second-round picks and a third-round pick in the 2016 draft, plus a first- and third-round pick in the 2017 draft, for the Tennessee Titans’ No. 1 overall selection. The Rams will also receive Tennessee’s fourth and sixth-round picks in 2016.
Yes, this is a monstrous trade for former UGA star Todd Gurley and the Rams. But here’s why it affects Tunsil:
The Titans already have their potential franchise quarterback in Marcus Mariota, who was drafted second overall in 2015. Many experts believed if Tennessee didn’t accept a trade, it would have taken Tunsil to provide its franchise quarterback with an elite left tackle.
The Rams presumably made this trade to pursue a franchise quarterback of their own. Last year’s starter, Nick Foles, was mercurial in his debut season. He threw for 2,052 yards and seven touchdowns in 11 starts after being acquired from the Philadelphia Eagles last offseason.
It’s safe to assume the Rams will be taking either California quarterback Jared Goff or North Dakota State prospect Carson Wentz with the first pick.
The question is, how far could Tunsil fall? The good news is it might not be too far.
Many believe the Cleveland Browns will either take the remaining top quarterback or select a defensive player with the No. 2 pick. The Browns have a left tackle in Joe Thomas, so Tunsil wouldn’t make the most sense for them.
Tunsil’s best shot of remaining a top-five pick will be with the San Diego Chargers at No. 3 overall. The Chargers desperately need stability along an offensive line that featured 24 different combinations in the trenches last season. San Diego must get the most out of quarterback Philip Rivers before he exits his prime — providing him with better protection would be a step in the right direction.
If not San Diego, Tunsil will likely fall out of the top five. The Dallas Cowboys (No. 4) possess one of the strongest offensive lines in the league and have multiple holes to fill on defense, while the Jacksonville Jaguars (No. 5) are still hoping former Texas A&M left tackle Luke Joeckel develops into an elite player.
Tunsil could fall out of the top five, but it’d be an absolute stunner if he fell outside of the top 10. The Baltimore Ravens (No. 6 pick), San Francisco 49ers (No. 7 pick), Philadelphia Eagles (No. 8 pick) and New York Giants (No. 10 pick) all have needs at offensive tackle.
It wouldn’t be the first time the best player in the draft slipped below his projection. Last year, former Southern Cal defensive lineman Leonard Williams was regarded as the best player in the class, but wasn’t taken until the No. 6 pick. Tunsil won’t be taken first overall, but he will still be taken somewhere within the top 10.