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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Choices can bolster defense and offense

    BY STEVE KORTE
    News-Democrat

    ST. LOUIS - Scott Linehan approached his first NFL Draft as head coach of the St. Louis Rams with the same attacking style that he uses when calling plays against opposing defenses.

    The Rams made three trades and wound up with 10 picks in the 2006 NFL Draft this weekend.

    "We wanted to accumulate talent," Linehan said. "The only way to do that is to have more picks than everybody else.

    Of those 10 picks, five were offensive players and five were defensive players.

    The Rams filled key needs with their secondary and defensive line as well as totally overhauling their tight ends and getting a punt returner.

    The Rams took Clemson cornerback Tye Hill after trading down from No. 11 to No. 15 in the first round.

    Linehan said Hill was the guy that the Rams would have taken at No. 11 even if they hadn't moved down, though the team also had interest in Florida State defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley, who went to Philadelphia with the 14th overall pick.

    "It went the way we wanted, and it doesn't always work that way," Linehan said. "We would be happy to take one of those guys, but it just so happened to work out just the way we hoped."

    Linehan didn't shy away from taking chances.

    The Rams used the extra pick gained from moving down in the first round to take LSU defensive tackle Claude Wroten, who was arrested earlier this year and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

    The charges were later dropped, but Wroten also failed two drug tests, one at LSU and one at the NFL Combine.

    "(It's a) controversial pick, I understand that," Linehan said of Wroten. "We were looking at the player in the first round for about a week. That is an issue.... (But) you get into the third round and say, 'That guy is still one of the best tackles we've seen all year."'

    The Rams took two tight ends on the first day -- Colorado's Joe Klopfenstein in the second round and USC's Dominque Byrd in the third round.

    It was the precursor to starting tight end Brandon Manumaleuna being traded to the San Diego Chargers for a fourth-round pick on the second day.

    "I think it more developed because we were able to get two tight ends that we coveted highly," Linehan said. "We just got very, very youthful at tight end."

    The Rams, looking to add some size on defense, took Indiana defensive end Victor Adeyanju in the fourth round and Northwestern middle linebacker Tim McGarigle in the seventh round.

    The 6-foot-4, 268-pound Adeyanju and the 6-foot, 240-pound McGarigle could eventually provide some bulk to the Rams' run defense.

    "I think one of the things we wanted to address was our ability to line up toe-to-toe with some of these people that get into these two tight end sets and run the ball at you," Linehan said.

    One area the Rams didn't address in the draft was running back.

    "We were very tempted," Linehan said. "A lot of the guys we had up there gone before we were able to pick them. When you get into that third and fourth round, there were some really good players who fly off that board."

    Linehan pointed to Wisconsin running back Brian Calhoun, who was taken in the third round by Detroit, as one of the running backs that the Rams were interested in.

    The Rams took Virginia quarterback Marques Hagans in the fifth round with the plan of converting him to punt returner.

    Hagans returned punts for the Cavaliers as a freshman and sophomore.

    "Even though it's a projection, it's not really based on if you watch the ball with in his hands," Linehan said of Hagans. "We really think he is a great fit for that."

    Hagans also could be used on offense in the kind of "Slash" role made famous by Kordell Stewart.

    "I think you really have to have some versatility as a returner," Linehan said. "The more you can do, the better. Wide receiver, running back maybe because he has the size, emergency defensive back, whatever it is, he is going to help us."


  2. #2
    BIG-BLUE's Avatar
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    Re: Choices can bolster defense and offense

    You gotta like Linehan, he has a plan and his sticking to it. With all the pcs. to the puzzle falling together, this team has alot of potential & could be kickin some major butt again real soon.

  3. #3
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    Re: Choices can bolster defense and offense

    I hope wroten stops using marijana! and we made great trades, so far we've seen Linehan do well in Free Agency and the Draft, now we have to wait what he does in the season...... I CANT WAIT!!!!
    GO RAMS!!!!!!!

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    Re: Choices can bolster defense and offense

    I hope wroten stops using marijana!
    At least Wroten and Linehan are saying all the right things. Wroten has been apologetic and is doing his best to reassure everyone that part of his life is over. Linehan has demonstrated that he's researched every aspect of Wroten's current status, including talking to his LSU connections. The only thing that concerns me is history. I can't think of many character concerns that straightened themselves out. Well, maybe Pisa, but I think he was straightened out before he got to us anyway. We don't even have Incognito on the field yet, and now we have another potetential "issue".

    However, I guess we just have to give Linehan the benefit of the doubt and believe him when he says he's not concerned about Wroten's past becoming his present.

    IF Wroten is done with that life, we made the steal (potentially) of the draft. Wroten is the best backfield DT in the draft. He's not the run stopper that Bunkley, Ngata, or Watson is, but he is more explosive off the line than any DT, and will find himselves in the backfield a lot. He will start out as situational on passing plays, but could find his way on the field a lot more as Glover ages.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  5. #5
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    Re: Choices can bolster defense and offense

    Wroten's willingness to acknowledge his mistake is important. Compare that to Marcus Vick who, when asked about his "troubles" responded by saying "well I guess that I broke too many mirrors or something when I was a kid and that caused me to have bad luck."

    When you are a repeat offender who has been arrested multiple times and kicked off your college team, you have a problem - particularly if you believe it to be the result of "bad luck."

    I don't know how Wroten will "behave" as a pro - none of us do. But I trust that the Rams FO did their best due diligence before taking him.

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