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  1. #1
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    ESPN's On the Clock: St. Louis Rams

    On the Clock: St. Louis Rams
    April 16, 2009 9:30 AM
    Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

    Team needs: Offensive tackle, receiver, linebacker, defensive tackle, cornerback

    Dream scenario: The Rams are starting over. They need multiple starters. Their dream scenario would involve another team offering several picks for the No. 2 overall choice. That scenario isn't very likely, but the Rams can still come out of this draft feeling good about their progress. They would get their choice of offensive tackles -- likely Baylor's Jason Smith or Virginia's Eugene Monroe -- if the Lions drafted a quarterback first overall. That scenario would allow the Rams to find Orlando Pace's replacement at left tackle before addressing needs at receiver and in the defensive front seven.

    Plan B: Steve Spagnuolo is a defensive head coach. He could use a charismatic linebacker to build around. Wake Forest's Aaron Curry fits the profile. The second overall choice is generally too early to select a linebacker, but if Curry is the best defensive prospect in the draft, as so many analysts insist, the Rams could do worse than adding him to their roster. Recent first-round choices Chris Long and Adam Carriker could use a young, active linebacker patrolling behind them.

    Scouts Inc. take: "I think they are going to take Jason Smith. Matthew Stafford is going to go No. 1. I don't think the Rams could afford to not take Stafford at 2. A lot of people don't think they are going to take a quarterback, but Marc Bulger? I don't know if they want to take a quarterback -- Spagnuolo is a defensive guy -- but they are in a good spot. They are going to get one of two players who is going to help them. They are either going to get a starting tackle or a future quarterback. I don't know how you could take anyone but those two players." -- Jeremy Green, Scouts Inc.

    Who has final say: General manager Billy Devaney leads a clearly defined front office. He makes the personnel decisions with input from Spagnuolo and the personnel department. This is Devaney's second draft with the Rams.


  2. #2
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    Re: ESPN's On the Clock: St. Louis Rams

    Here's my beef: why do all the experts think that #2 is too high to take a LB, but nearly all of them have Curry going number 3 to the Chiefs??? Is one spot really that much of a drop off?

    And that Scouts, Inc dude is a joke. If we take a QB I...............................


    Will be very supportive of Billy Devaney and crew, because they selected who they thought was the BPA

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    Re: ESPN's On the Clock: St. Louis Rams

    After meeting w/Coach Spags, he told me that he and Boss Devaney agree on Monroe. End of story!

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    Re: ESPN's On the Clock: St. Louis Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by RealRam View Post
    After meeting w/Coach Spags, he told me that he and Boss Devaney agree on Monroe. End of story!
    But what will we talk about for the next nine days???

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    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: ESPN's On the Clock: St. Louis Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by C-Mob 71 View Post
    Here's my beef: why do all the experts think that #2 is too high to take a LB, but nearly all of them have Curry going number 3 to the Chiefs??? Is one spot really that much of a drop off?
    It's an interesting point, definitely. Truth be told, it's probably all about money. It's easier for teams to justify $50-60 million contracts on premium positions like QB, OT, DE, WR, than it is for them to do it on a MLB or non-pass rushing OLB. And I think the difference in money between the second pick and the third pick, while not incredibly substantial, is a fairly noticable chunk.

    Given current contracts from the last few high picks, I would expect Curry's rookie contract to exceed the contract Bart Scott just signed with the Jets this offseason, which to my knowledge is the biggest contract ever for a LB. Scott makes an average of $8 million per year, and I think Curry's will come in ahead of that. And that's just a lot of money to spend on a linebacker who isn't rushing the passer like a DE or hybrid 3-4 OLB.

    If the Chiefs draft Curry, it's likely to play 3-4 ILB, and that's not really a position where teams want to spend $50 million. Could he play 3-4 OLB? Well, Curry's ability as a pass rusher is kind of up in the air; some feel he has the ability to do it, but Wake Forest apparently didn't scheme it into their defense. If that's the case, it just doesn't make sense. Wake finished with a mere 24 sacks last season, 60th in the NCAA. If you have a stud linebacker who has the ability to rush the passer and help you disrupt the opposition, why aren't you using him?

    Ultimately while many feel Curry is the best defensive player - and perhaps the best overall player - in this draft class, I wouldn't be shocked to see him slip out of the top three. Money isn't as big of a consideration for fans as it is for the owners writing the checks and the GMs spending the money and working the cap. But you can bet those are very important considerations for teams, at least until a rookie wage scale is in place.

    While I'm not sure how probable it is, I could envision a scenario where the draft goes...

    1. Detroit: M. Stafford
    2. St. Louis: J. Smith
    3. Kansas City: E. Monroe
    4. Seattle: M. Sanchez
    5. Cleveland: M. Crabtree

    ...just because those fat contracts are more justifiable to positions like QB, LT, or WR, as opposed to a traditional 4-3 LB. Again, not saying it's probable, but it wouldn't shock me.

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    Re: ESPN's On the Clock: St. Louis Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    It's an interesting point, definitely. Truth be told, it's probably all about money. It's easier for teams to justify $50-60 million contracts on premium positions like QB, OT, DE, WR, than it is for them to do it on a MLB or non-pass rushing OLB. And I think the difference in money between the second pick and the third pick, while not incredibly substantial, is a fairly noticable chunk.
    I'd like to know why you don't think MLB is a premium position. And while you're at it, tell me who has been more valuable to any defense over the past decade than Ray Lewis has been to the Ravens. Isn't the MLB generally known as the QB of the defense? So how could the QB of a defense (MLB), not be a premium position?

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    Re: ESPN's On the Clock: St. Louis Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by Fortuninerhater View Post
    I'd like to know why you don't think MLB is a premium position.
    It's all about money and what teams are willing to pay for players at various positions. I'll give you some examples.

    QB Matt Ryan as a rookie signed a deal that averages $12 million a year. Tom Brady's deal from 2006 averages $10 million a year, while Peyton Manning's deal from 2004 averaged $14 million per year. Ben Roethlisberger last March agreed to a new eight-year contract worth $12.75 million per year.

    OT Jake Long as a rookie signed a deal that averages $11.55 million a year after the sixth year was voided for playing time. The Carolina Panthers just locked Jordan Gross up to a six-year deal that averages $10 million a year. Now that Jason Peters has been traded to Philly, I'd bet he'll receive a deal on par if not exceeding Gross' contract.

    DE Chris Long as a rookie signed a deal that averages $9.6 million a year after the sixth year was voided for playing time. When Dwight Freeney signed his new contract with the Colts in '07, it was a six-year pact that averaged $12 million per year. After trading for Jared Allen, the Vikings signed him to a six year deal paying him over $12 million on average per year.

    WR Larry Fitzgerald signed a new contract with Arizona last March to the tune of $10 million per year over four years. Bills WR Lee Evans signed a contract extension in October paying him $9.3 million per year for the next four years.

    LB Bart Scott just became one of the NFL's highest paid linebacker by signing a six year deal that averages $8 million a year. The Ravens resigned Ray Lewis to a deal averaging less than Scott's over three years. When the Bears resigned Brian Urlacher last summer, it was to a five year deal that averages $8.12 million per year.

    Simply put, NFL teams dictate what the premium positions are based upon who gets the money in this league. As you can see, linebackers are lower on the food chain than a number of other positions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fortuninerhater View Post
    And while you're at it, tell me who has been more valuable to any defense over the past decade than Ray Lewis has been to the Ravens.
    Ray Lewis has been an incredible player for the Ravens, no doubt. But you have to wonder, why did Baltimore allow him to hit free agency and risk losing him to another team because they instead chose to place their franchise tag on pass rusher Terrell Suggs? If he's such a monumentally important player to their defense, why doesn't he get the tag?

    Teams that have a top middle linebacker are really in a great position, there's no denying that. But I think there's a strong amount of evidence to support the opinion that NFL teams do not value MLB as much as they do other positions.

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    Re: ESPN's On the Clock: St. Louis Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    Ray Lewis has been an incredible player for the Ravens, no doubt. But you have to wonder, why did Baltimore allow him to hit free agency and risk losing him to another team because they instead chose to place their franchise tag on pass rusher Terrell Suggs? If he's such a monumentally important player to their defense, why doesn't he get the tag?
    Oh come on Nick, even I can figure that one out Ray Lewis is on the twilight of his career, and T Sizzle is entering his prime.

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    Re: ESPN's On the Clock: St. Louis Rams

    I really like Eugene Monroe and I really hope we sign him. He's an excellent player, and we do need to find Pace's replacement. Monroe will fit that perfectly.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    Devaney, if you care about this team... fire the offensive coordinator!!!!

  10. #10
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    Re: ESPN's On the Clock: St. Louis Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by C-Mob 71 View Post
    Oh come on Nick, even I can figure that one out Ray Lewis is on the twilight of his career, and T Sizzle is entering his prime.
    Oh I agree, age was a big factor. I also think positional importance was a factor as well. It goes back to NFL teams putting a higher value on pass rushers than they do MLB/ILB.

    But let's approach this from a different direction. Let's assume that the Ravens chose to give Suggs the franchise tag over Lewis solely because of age. Even if the Ravens give Suggs the franchise tag, they still have the option of giving Ray Lewis the transition tag. In doing so, they have the option of matching any offer that Lewis receives on the market. Why not protect themselves in that way?

    If Lewis is THAT important and that valuable, why let him hit the market freely? If Ray Lewis is of the highest importance to your team and more of an impact player than anyone else at any other position, then you turn around and do everything you can to make sure you keep him and he doesn't hit the market.

    Instead, the Ravens held their negotiating ground and let Lewis hit free agency to see if he could get the money he wanted. And no one paid it to him. So he returned to Baltimore and signed a deal that was less than their original offer.

    I'm not suggesting that Ray Lewis should have gotten a huge six-year deal like Bart Scott did. I understand that Lewis' age means that teams will be wary of signing him long-term. So if he's that great and is that important, sign him short term. Give him $20 million over two years. Heck, give him $9 million for one year. No one did, though. The Ravens were content letting him walk untethered into free agency, and then signed him to a contract that averages less per year than fellow free agent Bart Scott and fellow elite MLB Brian Urlacher. Lewis couldn't find better money on the free agent market.

    This goes back to what I'm saying - there are other positions that NFL teams place a higher premium on and are more willing to spend the big bucks on than MLB. The Ravens offered Lewis a contract that averaged $8 million a year over three years. Lewis turned it down, and the Ravens would not go higher than that for a guy who, as Fortuninerhater said, may be more valuable to his team than any other defender in the league. It's just not a position that NFL teams are going to spend that big money on, at least not when compared to other positions like QB, OT, DE, etc.

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    Re: ESPN's On the Clock: St. Louis Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    Oh I agree, age was a big factor. I also think positional importance was a factor as well. It goes back to NFL teams putting a higher value on pass rushers than they do MLB/ILB.

    But let's approach this from a different direction. Let's assume that the Ravens chose to give Suggs the franchise tag over Lewis solely because of age. Even if the Ravens give Suggs the franchise tag, they still have the option of giving Ray Lewis the transition tag. In doing so, they have the option of matching any offer that Lewis receives on the market. Why not protect themselves in that way?

    If Lewis is THAT important and that valuable, why let him hit the market freely? If Ray Lewis is of the highest importance to your team and more of an impact player than anyone else at any other position, then you turn around and do everything you can to make sure you keep him and he doesn't hit the market.

    Instead, the Ravens held their negotiating ground and let Lewis hit free agency to see if he could get the money he wanted. And no one paid it to him. So he returned to Baltimore and signed a deal that was less than their original offer.

    I'm not suggesting that Ray Lewis should have gotten a huge six-year deal like Bart Scott did. I understand that Lewis' age means that teams will be wary of signing him long-term. So if he's that great and is that important, sign him short term. Give him $20 million over two years. Heck, give him $9 million for one year. No one did, though. The Ravens were content letting him walk untethered into free agency, and then signed him to a contract that averages less per year than fellow free agent Bart Scott and fellow elite MLB Brian Urlacher. Lewis couldn't find better money on the free agent market.

    This goes back to what I'm saying - there are other positions that NFL teams place a higher premium on and are more willing to spend the big bucks on than MLB. The Ravens offered Lewis a contract that averaged $8 million a year over three years. Lewis turned it down, and the Ravens would not go higher than that for a guy who, as Fortuninerhater said, may be more valuable to his team than any other defender in the league. It's just not a position that NFL teams are going to spend that big money on, at least not when compared to other positions like QB, OT, DE, etc.
    Ray Lewis isn't a good example for your point. I'm sure that 5 years ago the Ravens and almost any team in the NFL would've met his contract demands. Him not getting the money he wants doesn't have to do with his position but with his age.

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    Re: ESPN's On the Clock: St. Louis Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by jmk321 View Post
    Ray Lewis isn't a good example for your point. I'm sure that 5 years ago the Ravens and almost any team in the NFL would've met his contract demands. Him not getting the money he wants doesn't have to do with his position but with his age.
    I agree that age was a big factor, and started my post saying that. That's also why I referenced Scott and Urlacher to make my point initially as well. But I do think positional value is also a factor in where teams spend money, including Lewis' situation.

    Again, the Ravens chose to designate Suggs their franchise player; they let Lewis and Scott hit free agency even though they could have transition tagged either and matched any offer they got. Lewis is older, sure. But age didn't stop Kurt Warner from getting a two-year deal averaging $11.5 million. If they want to, teams can find ways to structure contracts to protect them from age.

    If you still don't like Lewis as an example, that's okay. We can turn our attention to Scott, whom the Ravens also let hit the free agent market. There was a report prior to the free agency period that said the two parties were only $400,000 to $700,000 apart on contract terms. Why not pay that for a young MLB whom you've groomed on your defense if he plays at one of the NFL's premium positions?

    Instead Baltimore lets Scott test the market where he's almost sure to sign somewhere else. And he did, in New York with a deal averaging $8 million a year. That deal, given to a younger player by a team where he fits perfectly, is one of the highest for the position but is still ranks below the deals inked by players at other positions.

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    Re: ESPN's On the Clock: St. Louis Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by RealRam View Post
    After meeting w/Coach Spags, he told me that he and Boss Devaney agree on Monroe. End of story!
    Boy I hope not. He's third on my list....

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    Re: ESPN's On the Clock: St. Louis Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    I agree that age was a big factor, and started my post saying that. That's also why I referenced Scott and Urlacher to make my point initially as well. But I do think positional value is also a factor in where teams spend money, including Lewis' situation.

    Again, the Ravens chose to designate Suggs their franchise player; they let Lewis and Scott hit free agency even though they could have transition tagged either and matched any offer they got. Lewis is older, sure. But age didn't stop Kurt Warner from getting a two-year deal averaging $11.5 million. If they want to, teams can find ways to structure contracts to protect them from age.

    If you still don't like Lewis as an example, that's okay. We can turn our attention to Scott, whom the Ravens also let hit the free agent market. There was a report prior to the free agency period that said the two parties were only $400,000 to $700,000 apart on contract terms. Why not pay that for a young MLB whom you've groomed on your defense if he plays at one of the NFL's premium positions?

    Instead Baltimore lets Scott test the market where he's almost sure to sign somewhere else. And he did, in New York with a deal averaging $8 million a year. That deal, given to a younger player by a team where he fits perfectly, is one of the highest for the position but is still ranks below the deals inked by players at other positions.
    If you could get an MLB that is as skilled as Ray Lewis in his prime I think a lot of teams would take him over a good OT and pay as much money for him. Ray Lewis was probably more important to the Ravens superbowl title than Jonathan Ogden was but Ray Lewis is a special player and players like him don't come along too often.

    I agree with the point you are making that OT is more important than MLB but if Curry had the leadership, talent and the energy of Ray Lewis then I wouldn't be mad if the Rams took him and then adressed OT in later rounds but I doubt that Devaney and Spags think he does, so OT sounds good at number 2 to me.

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    Re: ESPN's On the Clock: St. Louis Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by jmk321 View Post
    If you could get an MLB that is as skilled as Ray Lewis in his prime I think a lot of teams would take him over a good OT and pay as much money for him.
    That's it exactly - the word If .. The problem is no team knows for sure what it is getting until the player proves himself out -- one way or another. So if a team has a crystal ball that is infallible, then perhaps you are right. Since no one has that crystal ball though, I'd bet on an OT.

    In a side note, I don't agree that Ogden was less important than Lewis. If Ray had not had the good fortune of playing behind the mammoth Tony Siragusa, things might have turned out differently for the Ravens. Jonathan Ogden played on an island and wasn't relying on a person playing in front of him to make his job easier ...

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