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Thread: Inside Slant
Posted 5/4/2007 11:35 PM ET
There are a lot of games teams play with the minds of players entering the draft each year. But defensive tackle Adam Carriker is glad the Rams were honest with him.
After the Rams selected Carriker with the 13th overall pick in this year's draft, Carriker wasn't surprised.
"As for getting picked at No. 13, I'm very pleased, but I'm mostly just excited to be going to the Rams," he said. "I took a visit out there a couple of weeks ago and they showed a lot of interest. They actually told me if I was there at No. 13 they would take me. You can't always believe everything teams tell you then, but the Rams were true to their word."
Aside from his physical ability, the Rams like Carriker's versatility, as well his team-oriented attitude.
Before the draft, Carriker acknowledged that he had no idea what position he would end up playing, knowing that it depended on what team selected him.
"A lot of teams like me as a 3-4 end because of my size," he said. "I'm obviously used to the 4-3 end and the 4-3 three-technique is fine with me, too, because I like being closer to the quarterback. One of the things teams like about me is my versatility. Some teams even mentioned they would play me at nose a few plays. I can do any of that.
"It really doesn't matter to me. Whatever teams want from me, I'll do. I did it at Nebraska and had no problem with it. If they want me to play three-tech, want me to play a 4-3 end, 3-4, whatever, I'll play."
In high school, he actually was a 230-pound quarterback, but also played defensive end.
"The team needed it," he said. "That just turned out to be my thing, I guess."
His "thing" with the Rams to start will be at that three-technique position, where more pass rush can be generated.
Said Carriker, "From the conversations I've had with the coaches, I think the Rams are planning to use me pretty much as a defensive tackle and maybe at nose tackle a little bit or a three-technique player. I'm totally fine with playing any of those positions and I remember when I visited with them a few weeks ago, that's what they talked about doing. They asked me if I thought I could play inside and if I was willing to do that and I said yes. It's no problem at all for me. I may have to get my weight up to 310 or 315. I'm at 305 right now so I don't have too far to go."
The Rams have talked about tweaking the defensive scheme and using left and right tackles at times.
Carriker is just looking forward to the team's rookie minicamp next week and getting back to playing football.
"These next few months are probably going to be a blur for me," he said. "I'll probably be confused for the first couple of practices trying to learn a new system. But eventually I'll catch up and things will start to click."
—One of the undrafted free agents the Rams signed was Iowa quarterback Drew Tate, who is under 6-0. He is intent on proving that his height doesn't matter. Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith, who measures 6-0, wasn't picked until Baltimore made the selection with the final choice of the fifth round.
"I understand that that's just the way it is," said Tate of the way he is viewed by scouts. "Everywhere I've played, I've always had success. It doesn't matter how tall you are or how big you are."
Tate noted that Saints quarterback Drew Brees is right around 6-0.
"If he's taller than me, it's not by much," Tate said. "Everyone wants to look at the negatives, especially with a business like that. They just want to say, 'He's not tall enough. He's not good enough.' "
Tate got to know former NFL quarterback Doug Flutie, who was 5-10, and communicated with him after signing with the Rams.
Tate said, "It's easy to relate to somebody like that. He and I, we've gone through a lot of the same situations. A lot of the same stigmas, too. Making it in the NFL isn't about the size of your shoes. It's about the size of your heart."
—Coach Scott Linehan was pleased with how the draft process worked, considering it was the first year on the job for Tony Softli, the team's vice president of player personnel, who was hired last June.
"It was outstanding," Linehan said. "Tony does a great job at what he does. He's got a lot of experience in the draft room and knows how drafts go. I have to give Tony credit. More adjusting probably had to come from him than it had to come from us, which I understand because I've been in that boat, too."
Softli said he liked the fact that Linehan immersed himself in the entire process, attending numerous workouts at Pro Days.
"Every head coach has a different process that they use," Softli said. "The process Scott used was good with me because I wanted him to come out and see these guys, to see them live. (When) you get out to the school and talk to the coaches and see him in his environment and go through the process again and talk to him again it's huge. How Scott went about that I was all for. It was a good working relationship."
QUOTE TO NOTE: "His claim to fame coming out of college was his knockdowns and pancake blocks, and those kind of things. You've got to have a little nastiness in you to do that. Some guys 'position block' and do a good job of that. But this guy likes to take it to another level. I don't mind those qualities, especially at that position." — Coach Scott Linehan on C/G Dustin Fry, one of the team's two fifth-round draft picks.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.
TRANSITION PLAYER: None.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
—LB Jamal Brooks made the roster, was cut and then brought back because of injuries. He can contribute on special teams.
—RB Stephen Davis helped the development of Steven Jackson but bad knees make his return unlikely.
—RB Tony Fisher will be coming off a knee injury, but if healthy can provide solid special teams play and a receiving threat on third down.
—LB Isaiah Kacyvenski helped improve special teams coverage, but will probably be looking for more than a one-year, minimum-value contract.
—WR/KR Willie Ponder didn't upgrade the kickoff return game as the team hoped. Still, it might make sense to bring him back unless the Rams know they have someone better.
—P Matt Turk was consistent all season, but a contract agreement couldn't be reached and the Rams added Donnie Jones.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers)
—S Dwaine Carpenter (not tendered as RFA) did a decent job on special teams, and could return for lower salary than tender.
—C/G Larry Turner (not tendered as RFA) is a competitor, and might be back at lower salary than tender.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.
—LB Brandon Chillar: RFA; $850,000/1 yr.
—G/T Adam Goldberg: RFA; $850,000/1 yr.
—LB Raonall Smith: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
—T/G Todd Steussie: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
—TE Aaron Walker: RFA; $850,000/1 yr.
—WR Drew Bennett: UFA Titans; $30M/6 yrs, $7.5M SB/$10M guaranteed.
—LB Chris Draft: UFA Panthers; $4.28M/3 yrs, $1.3M SB; 2007 cap: $1.153M.
—WR Dante' Hall (trade Chiefs).
—DE James Hall (trade Lions).
—S Todd Johnson: UFA Bears; $4M/4 yrs, $700,000 SB.
—DE Trevor Johnson: Waivers Saints.
—P Donnie Jones: RFA Dolphins; $5.59M/5 yrs, $1.175M SB; Dolphins did not match offer and receive seventh-round pick in 2007 draft as compensation.
—TE Randy McMichael: FA Dolphins; $11M/3 yrs, $3M SB; 2007 cap: $2.5M.
—RB Travis Minor: UFA Dolphins; 1 yr, terms unknown.
—CB Mike Rumph: FA; $595,000/1 yr.
—DT Tim Sandidge: Waivers Chiefs.
—CB Lenny Walls: UFA Chiefs; $635,000/1 yr, $40,000 SB.
—LB Dexter Coakley (released).
—WR Kevin Curtis: UFA Eagles; $30M/6 yrs, $2.5M SB/$5M RB '07; $1.5M RB '08.
—RB Marshall Faulk (retired).
—CB Travis Fisher: UFA Lions; $2.25M/1 yr, $1.25M SB.
—NT Jason Fisk: UFA; retired.
—DE Brandon Green: UFA Seahawks; terms unknown.
—WR Shaun McDonald: UFA Lions; $2.8M/2 yrs, $1.5M guaranteed.
—FB Paul Smith: UFA Broncos; $2.55M/3 yrs, $300,000 SB.
—OG Adam Timmerman (released).
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