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Rams' trade for No. 1 would make even Kevin Costner flinch

Actor Kevin Costner smiles during a news conference for the movie "Draft Day" in New York on Friday, Jan. 31, 2014.
Actor Kevin Costner smiles during a news conference for the movie "Draft Day" in New York on Friday, Jan. 31, 2014.(Paul Sancya / AP)

There's a forgettable movie called "Draft Day," in which Kevin Costner — playing the GM of the beleaguered Cleveland Browns — gives up his first-round pick in three straight drafts for the No. 1 overall pick that year. He wants to use it on a fictional, can't-miss quarterback … until he doesn't. The day of the draft, he takes a linebacker at No. 1 and makes another trade to get all his picks back. The whole thing makes you think, "Well, this is unbelievable."

Then you see Thursday's trade between the Los Angeles Rams and Tennessee Titans. Maybe Hollywood plotlines and real-life L.A. lunacy aren't so different.

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The Rams traded up for the No. 1 pick, and got a fourth- and sixth-rounder for their troubles, by squandering the following...

  • No. 15
  • No. 43
  • No. 45
  • No. 76
  • A first-round pick in 2017
  • A third-round pick in 2017
That's, umm, a lot. Especially when their picks in 2017 could be high -- considering they'll be starting a rookie quarterback. 

Sure, the Rams are in desperate need for a QB as they relocate to a glitzy city with no better option than Case Keenum. But they're selling off valuable assets and betting everything that a Division I-AA product (North Dakota State's Carson Wentz will presumably be the pick) can help the franchise reach the playoffs for the first time since 2004.

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If this draft featured another Andrew Luck — or even next year's top prospect, Clemson's Deshaun Watson — then touché. Way to secure the most important piece on the chess board.

But Wentz, solid as he might project, isn't worth mortgaging the potential pieces around him. It isn't even clear among scouts if he's the best QB in this draft.

If I'm the Browns, picking at No. 2, I pass on the other QB, Jared Goff. Take left tackle Laremy Tunsil or defensive back Jalen Ramsey, concede you'll be awful again this season (did you see all the moves they didn't make in free agency?) and aim for Watson in the 2017 draft. He's the franchise-changer. With analytics nerd Paul DePodesta (and not Kevin Costner) now in charge, I expect the Browns will steer away from Goff, and maybe even trade the pick.

The Ravens, meanwhile, have to love what's transpiring two weeks before draft day. If Cleveland doesn't exercise the patience I'm suggesting, two QBs will go before Baltimore picks at No. 6. That means they'll land one of the top guys on their board, whether it's Tunsil, Ramsey, Myles Jack, Joey Bosa or DeForest Buckner.

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