Rams are going all in for a quarterback. Will that No. 1 draft pick pay off?

Nineteen years ago, the newly minted St. Louis Rams made a stunning move, trading up five spots -- and leapfrogging the Oakland Raiders -- to grab the No. 1 pick in the draft and select tackle Orlando Pace, a future Hall of Famer.

The Los Angeles Rams can only hope things go as well this time.

One day after the sports world was focused on Kobe Bryant’s farewell and the record-setting Golden State Warriors, the Rams reclaimed the spotlight with a dramatic move. They made a trade with the Tennessee Titans for the No. 1 pick in this month’s NFL draft, moving up 14 spots from the 15th pick. No team has ever traded up to the top slot from so far back

The Rams are believed to be leaning toward drafting North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz, left, but Cal’s Jared Goff is in the mix as well.

The Rams are believed to be leaning toward drafting North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz, left, but Cal’s Jared Goff is in the mix as well.

(Bruce Crummy, Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

The Rams are definitely taking a quarterback, and they’re leaning toward North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz, but Cal’s Jared Goff is heavily in the mix too. Making this move two weeks before the draft gives the Rams time to turn over every stone on both players.

Not surprisingly, the Rams gave up a lot -- their picks in the first, second (two selections) and third rounds this year, and their first- and third-rounders next year. In exchange, they got the No. 1 pick as well as Tennessee’s selections in the fourth and sixth rounds this year.

The last time an L.A. team had the No. 1 overall pick was 1963, when the Rams selected Oregon State quarterback Terry Baker.

With the NFL releasing its 2015 schedule Thursday night, and that slate likely to prominently feature the Rams in multiple prime-time


games, it’s quite a bonus to stroll back into the nation’s second-largest market with the top pick.

Of course, pure publicity wasn’t the Rams’ motive here. They need a quarterback. Neither Case Keenum nor Nick Foles is the answer. Cleveland is eying a quarterback at No. 2, and Dallas (No. 4) and San Francisco (No. 7) are strongly considering that option too. Philadelphia is shopping for one as well. The Rams had to do something dramatic.

Los Angeles had ammunition to move up, with an extra second-round pick this year and a likely compensatory third-rounder next year after losing cornerback Janoris Jenkins in free agency to the New York Giants.

The Rams have the NFL’s youngest team, and in the last two drafts selected back-to-back rookies of the year: defensive tackle Aaron Donald (defensive) and running back Todd Gurley (offensive).


In the pass-happy NFL, getting a coveted quarterback requires being bold. The Houston Texans, for instance, lured the lightly experienced Brock Osweiler away from Denver by offering him $18 million per year.

Now the Rams have pushed their chips to the middle of the table. They believe that they have a talented young team. They just need someone to throw the ball.


Johnny Manziel’s new agent gives him an ultimatum: get help or I quit


Lynn Swann is hired by USC to replace Pat Haden and restore luster to the football program

Lawyer: Ex-Saints DE Will Smith never held a gun as he was shot eight times in the back