Let's go back to 1984. 25 years ago. At that time the United States Football League was signing away college stars like Steve Young and Mike Rozier. Steve Young signed with the LA Express of the USFL for a then record, $40 million contract. One magazine said that the USFL signed eight players who would have been 1st round draft picks in the NFL Draft. Steve Young, Mike Rozier, Reggie White, and Herschel Walkers were among those players. Walkers signed with the New Jersey Generals in 1983, after his junior year at Georgia.
The LA Rams were coming off a playoff season in 1983 behind the running of Eric Dickerson. But they needed a passing game to go with the Eric Dickerson. Vince Ferragamo was the Rams starting QB in 1983.
The LA Raiders won the Super Bowl with a pair of cornerbacks that dominated the Washington Redskins WR's. Now every team was looking for shutdown corners. In the 1984 draft, two cornerbacks were drafted in the top 10, Mossy Cade by the Chargers, #6 overall and Leonard Coleman by that damn team in Indy, #8 overall. Ironically both would sign with the USFL after being drafted by cheap bastard owners.
In 1983 the Rams starting cornerbacks were LeRoy Irvin, who was also a great punt returner and Eric Harris, a player they acquired from the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Rams had pick #21 in the 1st round, going into the 1984 NFL Draft. The Rams would trade that pick to the KC Chiefs for CB Gary Green. Green had made three straight Pro Bowls and made All Pro, three straight times, with the Chiefs.
Green would play for the LA Rams for two seasons, 1984 and 1985. He was All Pro in both 84 and 85, making the Pro Bowl in 1985. But in late 1985 Green suffered a neck injury that would prove to be career ending. In 1986 Green officially retired from the NFL.
The KC Chiefs draft OT, John Alt with the pick acquired from the LA Rams. If the LA Rams had kept the pick, they could have drafted QB Boomer Esiason, from Maryland. In fact Sports Illustrated's mock draft had the LA Rams drafting Esiason. At worst the LA Rams would have had a young QB to develop behind Ferragamo.
But the decisions and choices made after 1984 really proved the LA Rams made a huge mistake by not drafting Boomer Esiason.