By Jeff Gordon
Sunday, April 27, 2008 01:00 PM CDT
Join columnist Jeff Gordon for a live chat at 1 p.m. Sunday, after the Rams have made Day 2 picks in the NFL Draft.
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Jerome: now chris long was a great pick and donnie avery was a little shock but still a good pick do you think he will do good in the nfl?

Jeff Gordon: Avery has speed, so he will help. He HAS to help. Other than Stanley, there wasn't much speed in the receiver corps.

Chuck Smith: Gordo how do the fans not know that Glenn Dorsey is the superior player.. superior size... superior conference.. superior everything. Have they noticed are lack of run stoppers and leadership?

Jeff Gordon: Obviously the Rams are expecting Clifton Ryan and Adam Carriker to develop into run stoppers in the middle. The pressure on Carriker will be considerable, since he should end up playing Dorsey's position most of the year. Let's see how it turns out.
Big Mal: Avery??? Didn't a former Rams regime select Eddie Kennison over highly rated (and deservedly so) Syracuse wide receiver Marvin Harrion becase of Kennison's speed and secondary role as a kick returner? All of the elite and highly rated wide receivers still available, all of them, and the Rams "Brain Trust" selects a young wide receiver that would most certainly been available in the 3rd round and probably the 4th round as well.

That pick just does not make sense. I would be curios a year from now as to which wide receiver(s) in this draft class are the cream of the crop. Perhaps this you guy told the Rams staff he will sign for 4th round money so there was a vestd interest in selecting him with the 33rd pick lest he fell to a rival.

Jeff Gordon: The Rams were down on a lot of the top receiving prospects. Other GMs felt the same way, since none of those guys went in the first round. The Rams insist this guy is a top all-around prospect, not just a runner like "Boo" Kennison. It will be fun to analyze this in a year, because the Rams need Avery to at least be the No. 3 receiver this year.
Gary: I was listening to the radio yesterday and they were all over the rams second round pick is this guy really that bad?

Jeff Gordon: No, he is a talent. But is he better than every other receiver prospect in this draft? Most experts doubt that. The Rams went onto a limb a bit. On the other hand, Keenan Burton could be a nice get late in the fourth round. He would have been drafted much higher had he not played through assorted injuries last year.
JD: Gordo,

Chad Henne said in an interview that late in the first round the Rams told him they were trying to trade up in front of Miami to take him. Were the Rams actually considering that, or was this just a part of draft-day scheming? If it's scheming, isn't it kind of a mean thing to do? I get that lying to another team is part of the game, but to a player who's desperate to have his name called?

Jeff Gordon: When the tackles left the board in the hurry, the Rams considered Plan Bs. Perhaps they would have been better off going for Henne rather than a receiver that could have slipped much later in the draft.
Clarence: I am wondering why the Rams don't try to sure up that secondary which has been a problem for me every since Aneas Williams left I think they can use a big physical corner or a hard hitting safety to ad attitude and pop to that D

Jeff Gordon: Justin King is a speed CB, but, by all independent accounts, he is not very physical.
Greg: Gordo,

Did the Lions have some kind of inclination the Rams would draft Kevin Smith? I'm guessing that's why the Lions jumped ahead of them. As a UCF grad, I was hoping the Rams would take him.

Greg
Orlando

Jeff Gordon: I didn't see RB as a big need for the Rams in this draft. Pittman showed a lot after learning on the fly and Leonard is a solid utility back.
AJ Alvidrez: Do you think this Greco kid can unseat Barron at Rt. Tackle????????????????

Jeff Gordon: Eventually, yes. He will push him right away. We presume Barron will respond to the challenge. Or perhaps Barron will have to slide over and fill in should something bad happen (again) to Pace.
Mark: I am going to give Rams the benefit of the doubt here on their 2nd and 3rd round selections. I feel there was more value with DeSaun Jackson WR from Cal in the 2nd round and Dan Conner LB from Penn State in the 3rd. I think Jackson gives you the slot receiver and punt returner that Az Hakim was and now Dante Hall can be just a kick returner and 4th/5th receiver as he gets older. Dan Conner gives you depth at LB and a chance to backup at ILB and compete for strongside LB position. I really like the Justin King pick. Your thoughts on the first 4 picks.

Jeff Gordon: The Rams had some issues with Jackson. He is purely a slot guy and return specialist. The Rams believe Avery could also line up wide. I'm not sure he or Keenan Burton will emerge as the kickoff returner, but they will be candidates. Hall will need an awesome camp to make this team at his salary. Stanley is still in good shape, but Hagans and Looker are in some peril now.

A LB would have been nice, for sure. I liked Greco in the third round because the Rams believe he can start at right tackle in the not-so-distant future. And he can move inside to guard or center, too.

I liked the fact the team drafted to need. The Rams needed speed at WR and help for both lines. They've gotten that done so far. Not sure about King at CB, though; a lot of experts doubt him. So we'll see.
Carlos: Do you think Quinton Culberson will be our starting SLB? The Rams should have taken Dan Connor. What do you think?

Jeff Gordon: Culberson did enough late last season to earn that shot. But I agree that adding another LB higher in the draft would have been prudent. Pisa's injury woes are well-chronicled,
J Smith: Jeff, after watching the Rams go through the draft so far my question is this: Will the new owners use their brains and get rid of Linehan sooner rather than later or are Chip and his sister going to let sentiment control their decision making. Time to start wooing Bill Callahan if you ask me and give him whatever he wants to clean up this mess. I like Chris Long but the rest of the picks seem idiotic.

Jeff Gordon: Avery will have a lot to prove, for sure. Greco was a solid pick, though. Burton could be a nice get late in the fourth round. The year before, he would have gone much higher.

The Rams tried to fill needs while refusing to gamble on iffy personalities.
Pat Sims & Red Bryant: I guess we're not surprised that either of weren't picked by the Rams, as St. Louis likes going down the failed "need draft" path.

What do you think about drafting for need? It killed the franchise you follow.

Jeff Gordon: Chris Long will have an interesting time of it, since comparisons to Glenn Dorsey will follow him through his career. Avery will also draw intense scrutiny. The Rams are being written off as idiots right now, but, you know, we have to see the guys play.

One thing for sure: The Rams did not want to bring in another Dominique Byrd or Claude Wroten. Both those guys are talented, but both have trouble playing up to their full ability. Neither falls into the "high character" quality.
rob: Jeff


Was the second round a bit of a reach?? Then I see the Rams take another wideout in the 4th round?? I really thought Will Franklin would have been a much better pick. I hate to see K.C. pick him up. Just wanted your thoughts.........rob

Jeff Gordon: Right or wrong, the Rams were not high on Franklin. His grades from this staff were not high. I'm guessing that Burton in the fourth round will be remembered as a better pick than Avery in the second.
Rampage88: Hey Gordo! I can't say I hate this draft, but I think we could have done better. No doubt Avery will help us in the slot and as a return guy, but he was a reach. I am surprised that we haven't taken a Safety or a LB yet. We need more competiton at those spots and guys like Steltz and Connor could have helped a lot. Chris Long was a great pick and should be an impact guy for many years though.

Jeff Gordon: Connor seemed like an obvious fit here, although some of my colleagues dismiss him as stiff and overrated.
don: Gordo,
I'm getting worried. Rams have some good picks. deginately going for solid football & character guys--I like that after Hargrove, Bryd & Wroten But trading up for another WR? How many WRs are they planning on keeping? No attention to SS or LB. Now, no pick until the 6th round. Didn't seem too skillful.

Jeff Gordon: The receiving corps was a mess. Bruce left. Holt has chronic knee woes. Bennett was terrible last year, largely due to injuries. Hagans didn't progress. Looker is just a holder and Hall may be toast. Caldwell is a fringe guy. They came into this draft with Stanley as their third-best receiver. Hence the decision to beef up in the draft.
JR: Do we really need to bring in three receivers? Seems like spreading the wealth around to the defense would have made some sense. Not a draftnik, but apparently we didn't get any 'names' in terms of wr.

Jeff Gordon: As Jerry Jones noted, there were no name WRs in this draft, really. Dallas needed help there, yet the Cowboys passed on the position in the first round like everybody else did.

So the guys the Rams got may be as good anybody in this draft. There were mnay concerns about the top-ranked guys.
Mark, Stafford VA: Jeff,
Two questions:
1. Your take on the DA pick at #2. It does seem to be a waste but I'm not an expert. Has any asked Bulger what he thinks about this (off the record of course).
2. The Post Dispatch website is extremely slow with the analysis of the Rams picks today. I'm geting better insights from the Washington Post.

Thanks

Jeff Gordon: My draft blog has had Linehan/Devaney comments up shortly after each pick again today. Yesterday, the blog got 42,000 hits, so people are geeked up by the draft.

Could the Rams have gotten Avery or somebody comparable in the third round? Maybe, but Linehan wanted to make sure he added speed at that position before the run on WRs finally started.
Double S: I feel as though I am watching a ship sink. This draft has gone from OK with our first pick, to awful with the second and every ensuing one since. The only consistent theme appears to be taking players way ahead of where they were predicted to go. When I compare our draft with KC it makes me want to tear up my season tickets. who should I hold responsible for this debacle?

Jeff Gordon: The consistent theme was taking a certain personality type -- a reaction, no doubt, to all the highly skilled knuckleheads the Rams loaded up on in previous drafts. But can these solid citizens play football? They better be able to.

I agree that most of these picks will draw heavy scrutiny. But at least this team hasn't drafted any QBs to play in another position . . .
Boleil: Might as well have traded away all the picks before the draft for all the good the #2 spot has been so far. Why are they drafting for depth so early? Other than Long, where are the impact players? So far, they have followed up that first pick with what looks to be a backup receiver (second round and already they are reaching...uughhhh), a backup tackle, a backup corner and another backup receiver!! Let's hope one of those WR's turns out to be the real deal but do you really think either of those two will be lining up next to Torry Holt as a starter on opening day? With a 3-13 record, you don't have the luxury of gambling this way and padding the depth chart. You need guys that can step in right away. How about a linebacker at that #2 pick?
But what do us armchair QB's know anyway?

Jeff Gordon: Avery will play a lot right away. Greco could push Barron for the starting RT job, or step in if Barron has to move to LT. Burton could also play immediately, given the dearth of decent receivers on the roster. King is a depth guy for sure, unlikely to make an impact beyond special teams.
Chris: Hey Gordo.

Just out of curiosity, do you know if the Rams had DaJuan Morgan on their draft board as one of their wants? He's the safety from NC State, and I was hoping the Rams would get him, because he has talent and can intercept passes... but he went to KC.

But I'm okay with Justin King too. He has speed and some good upside, so what do you think he will add to the Rams' team?

Jeff Gordon: Fans had safety as a higher priority than the Rams did. Haslett is still a Chavous fan, it seems, and Atogwe is a budding star. DE, WR, OT and CB were bigger needs,
David Carriger: When are we going to address the lack of depth at linebacker ?

Jeff Gordon: Not a big Culberson fan? Again, LB was a position where fans felt more urgency than the football staff.
Wes: With the picks of Donnie Avery and Keenon Burton, what will our WR corp look like next year?

We have a lot of receivers now, and I'd like to see Holt, Bennett, Avery, Burton, and Caldwell/Stanley make the team.

In my opinion, the Rams should cut Hall, Looker, and Hagans.

Thoughts?

Jeff Gordon: I'm with you. I like Stanley, too, and I think there is hope he could be the fourth or fifth guy in that equation.
Larry Kirchner: UNREAL... last year the LAMBS drafted a waste in the second round because the coach liked him, and now this year we do the same exact thing: draft a guy because the coach likes him. Doesn't anyone over at Rams park realize this coach will be fired at the end of next season?

Also doesn't anyone at Rams park realize that Steven Jackson is in the last year of his contract, and Holt is already talking about how he'd like to go to Carolina???

Why did we totally waste the second pick on a guy who was rated as the 14th best WR??? Couldn't we have drafted him in the third round??? Why did we choose Brian Leonard in the second round??? Wouldn't he have been there in the third round as well???

The NFL is also a business, and EVERYONE would have declared 'THE RAMS HIT A HR, by getting the best DE and the best top rated WR if they had choosen Devin. What is going on over there? What are they thinking?

I know will compare the Rams to the Yankees...when the Yankees give a 35 year old catcher or a 37 year old relief pitcher and so on and so forth MILLIONS of dollars don't they know they're bidding against themselves?

Same thing here...the Rams have been overpaying for players in the draft that NO ONE will touch for a round or two or maybe even longer. The Rams bid against themselves, when they could have made their fans more optimistic about the future when they could have taken the top WR and the top DE with their first two picks.

THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN A HR... but no we have the three stooges running the team. I will not attend ONE Rams game live until they clean out the front office because I'm tired of the endless horrible moves the Rams make time and time again.

Larry Kirchner

Jeff Gordon: Avery was a speed choice, plain and simple. The Rams had him substantially higher than 14th among receivers.

Nice comparison to Leonard, though. Brian was a useful first-year player, but obviously not a star. Will he pan out big? Will Avery? You aren't the only doubter out there.

The Rams intend to extend Jackson's deal. They saw no need to take a RB high. Holt's age/knees/Carolina fascination made it all the more important to take a a couple of WRs.
Mike: Why does this organization constantly "reach" for players in the 2nd round??? Two years ago it was Klopenstein - now our 3rd or 4th string TE.. Last year it was Brian Leonard - who is a below average back up RB in the NFL (in fact there are many street free agent type of RB's that are just as good as Leonard)... The way that the NFL is set up in this day and age, you simply cannot afford to consistently draft players in the 2nd round that are 4th or 5th round values... The fact that the Rams have made horrible 2nd round selections in all three years during the Linehan "regime" will be the main reason that Mr. Linehan will be looking for a new job around week 9 of the 2008 season...

Jeff Gordon: That's a little harsh on Leonard . . . although the Rams did Pittman off the street and liked his feature-back capability more as the season progressed. And Klop faces an uncertain future, due to his inability to block.
David Carriger: How about grabbing Owen Schmidt from West Virgina to provide us with a "hammer" for SJ ?

Jeff Gordon: That is one thing fans keep clamoring for, the Next Madison Hedgecock. Maybe the Rams should have kept him . . .
JD: Tony Temple as Mr. Irrelevant? We need a backup, unless Leonard shows more than he did last year.

Jeff Gordon: Pittman will get more than 41 touches this year, I believe. He is bigger than Temple (most people are) and he was productive in college.
Will: Good Afternoon Jeff,

Great pick with Chris Long. He truly does have a Grant Wistrom motor but has the potential for 10 sack seasons. Glenn Dorsey would have been great too but we needed this one at number 2 more. Donnie Avery looks like a fine pick at 33. Hard worker, seems like a very smart player, plays through pain. John Greco looks solid as well, should push the whole o-line to play better his upside looks tremendous. Justin King is another solid pick for the Rams, could be a dual threat utility type player. Love the Keenan Burton pick, good size and will ass some depth at receiver. This is our draft to this point and aside from another lineman and perhaps a linebacker, I'd say we have had a pretty good draft.
I keep hearing all this talk about writing off Barron. Come on Rams fans; aside from his ill advised false starts, how often do we hear his name for anything else wrong. He is a solid tackle and if the Rams keep him, he should fill the void left after the Big Man retires and heads to Canton. Barron is a natural LT. As far as RB's we are set at that position so drafting one would be folly. We need a RG now I think for depth, perhaps LB for depth and competition. WR-WR-WR, for all of the reasons above, we could really find a hidden gem in the later rounds with Saunders writing the O now.
What are your pressing thoughts on everything so far and your outlook for the rest of the draft. Thanks for your time.

Will

Jeff Gordon: The Rams have solid guard depth with Bell aboard and both Setterstrom and Incognito back from injuries. Tackle was a glaring need and you're right, Barron could get a second contract here as a LT.

But then again, did they just take a guard? The Rams aren't shy about moving up.
Go Rams!!!: I am glad to see the Rams make an unpopular pick with Avery. People need to stop buying into the Mel Kiper hype. Trust me, if the analysts on the NFL Channel and ESPN were REALLY that great of talent scouts, they would be in a draft room somewhere actually making deisions instead of giving opinions. If the Kiper's of the world were really that great, then Ryan Leaf would be a 5 time MVP, Robert Gallery would make holes for a 3,000 yard RB and the list goes on. I like the speedy kid Avery. Remember last year......how there were NO yards after the catch by our receivers? Even Holt was on the ground as soon as the catch was made. Maybe the Rams will score more if a receiver can actually turn a 10 yard pass into a 50 yard TD play. And Chris Long should really help fire up the Defense. With a draft weak in WR, the Rams did what they could. And really, no one will really know until these guys put on pads and play......just ask Tim Couch and David Carr.

Jeff Gordon: Wow, a rare Rams defender! The Rams just picked a guard,Ray Schuening,that was supposed go much higher, so maybe it all evens out.
J Smith: Jeff -- I just noticed that I typed Bill Callahan instead of Bill Cowher in an earlier email to you. I must have had a huge mental lapse.

Do you think ownership will take a stab at replacing Linehan with Cowher next season? What do you think of the idea.

Jeff Gordon: Cowher will be very particular about his next job. If Linehan doesn't pan out this year -- against all odds! -- it would be tough to sell him on St. Louis. The organization, under its new ownership arrangement, has much to prove.
Larry F.: Is Avery a shot at the type of reciever that Mel Gray was back in the Coryell/Hart years? he made a living stretching the field and becam an excellent WR...

Jeff Gordon: In the Rams dreams!

Let's see if he has the innate ability to make plays at this level.
TBone: Gordo -

Has there been any plausible explanation as to why the brain trust broke from their own board on their very 1st pick??

Is Devaney in charge here or merely the latest puppet of that noted football evaluator, Jay Zygmunt?

Jeff Gordon: Haslett really, really wanted Dorsey. But apparently Linehan really, really believes in Carriker. And, yes, there was curious man-love for the Longs in some quarters.

All of this puts a ton of focus on Long. I liked the pick, given the Rams' need, but Dorsey is a monster. Comparing their careers will be fun.
T McDermott Seattle: Its amazing to me how negative fans can be ....Greco has been listed was the # 1 guard on many draft sites...tough and nasty..can play any line position...wide receivers in this draft were not rated high...so Avery is as close to # 1 as any....with his speed ..could be another Kevin Curtis.Keenan Burton could have gone in the first round if you look at what he did in 06 at Kentucky..according to experts...played hurt in 07..he is big and will go over the middle...Bell the linebacker from UNLV would have been a nice pickup...Conner from Penn St is slow and stiff...linebackers as a whole were a weak position ..lets give the benefit of the doubt without all the gloom and doom..this has been a better approach than last year

Jeff Gordon: That makes two strongly supportive fans. Do I sense a groundswell of support for Our Town's NFL team?

No?
AP: How can the Rams justify drafting for need when they need serious upgrades at WR, TE, OL, DL, LB, CB, and S before they can realistically compete for a championship? Do you know how far off their "top available player" they went in making their 2nd, 3rd, and 4th round picks?

Jeff Gordon: They upgraded TE in free agency. They upgraded the O-line with two solid picks. They upgraded WR with two picks. They added a speed CB and a starting defensive end. There is only so much a team can do in one draft.
Elliott: Jeff,

It seems like things have gone pretty good. Are you surprised by the trade-ups? I have been. Avery seems like a stretch at #2, as there seemed to be more established WRs on the board. (I hope he proves me wrong) I like the two OL picks a fair amount, especially the OG they just got. Do you see them picking a QB in the 6th? I think Ainge, Johnson, or Woodson would look pretty good as a developmental QB.

Thanks.

Jeff Gordon: They really liked Schuening, due to Devaney's ties to coaches on the Oregon State staff. The Rams believe he can be another late-round score at OL, like Setterstrom.

Not much left now but scraps, due to the trade-ups.

That is all for this chat. I have to go back to the blog!
randy travis: ever since we were 4 and 1 two years ago ive been saying how awful this team is and its head coach, yet no one would would listen cuz we were 4 and 1. this guy linehan has no clue what he is doing and ownership is just as bad ........ when you are listening to an 80 year old woman as to whether or not a person can coach a professional football team to be a winner, then u deserve every bad thing that happens to you ..... and thats where the rams are right now ..... im referring to the chip rosenbloom interview where he basically said regarding linehans future that mamma loved him and called him a winner even after two horrible seasons ........ like i said when you listen to the wisdom of an 80 year old woman on how to build a winning football team, you are in big trouble ..... but then again why should any of us care ..... its been well documented ever since georgia and john shaw took over this team after carrol rosenblooms death that the rams dont care about winning - only money.

Jeff Gordon: Yeah, well, there was that one World Championship here. And the two NFC titles. These people did more for pro football than anybody else in STL history.

But, yes, Linehan is lucky that Georgia supported him.