With two minutes, twenty-two seconds left before the Arizona Cardinals' deadline to make the 13th overall selection in the 2012 NFL draft, St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher had a lump in his throat and a sinking feeling in his gut.
Fisher, flanked by chief operating officer Kevin Demoff to his left and rookie general manager Les Snead to his right while sitting at a table in the Rams' war room Thursday night, was riding an emotional roller coaster in his first draft with the franchise. Earlier, he'd hopefully embraced scenarios that would have allowed the team to select Alabama halfback Trent Richardson (a home run) or Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon (the next-best thing) with the sixth overall pick, only to lose out on both.
In response, Fisher, Snead and Demoff had engineered a dramatic, on-the-clock trade with the Dallas Cowboys which landed the Rams a third pick in Friday's second round. Now, with the 14th pick that once belonged to the Cowboys, Fisher desperately wanted to draft the man he'd happily have selected eight picks earlier had there been no trade option: LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers.
Only the Cardinals, the Rams' NFC West rivals, stood in St. Louis' way. Would Arizona take Brockers? Would another suitor swing a trade with the Cards to nab the interior lineman, as the Jacksonville Jaguars had in landing Blackmon with the fifth pick?