Jim Thomas Live
Tuesday, March 29, 2011

ramsfan008: 1. I hear Robert Quinn has tumor in his brain, does that affect his draft status or his nfl career?

2. I have read the scouting on Jon Baldwin does he meet Spags 4 pillar because of his attitude?

thanks jim
Jim Thomas: 1.) It's a benign tumor, but that and the fact that he didn't play last season, explain why he may be dropping to the Rams' range (No. 14.)

2.) I think the Pillar "test" is still applicable when Spags is looking at players.

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Andy: Hey Jim thanks for your time....it is sounding more and more like Julio Jones will be gone...I think Ingram makes sense to take some of the pounding off of Jackson...but I have one question for you, think Spags will take a look at a former big reciever, former Giant by the name of Plaxico Buress...say maybe a one year thing? Might be worth a shot?
Jim Thomas: This has come up before. I don't think Plaxico gets out until June. Assuming it's a normal preseason and season in this year of the lockout that wouldn't give him much time to get into shape. Remember how Michael Vick wasn't quite there that first year he got out of prison? You'd have to think the same thing would affect Plaxico. The only difference is that Burress will turn 34 in training camp in 2011. Vick was only 29 when he returned. So you have to be skeptical about what Burress can do. But is he worth a look _ meaning a tryout/workout? Why not?

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mike barttelbort: Ok, Here my trade- I'd ship Mardy Gilyard to Cincinnati Bengals his college hometown for Chad Ochocinco (Chad Johnson) I know he (Ocho) has only 1 year left on his contract. But after watching Gilyard in practice and knowing he has no speed and can't catch--this give the bengals a young wideout and would allow the Rams to address a problem area without the used of a draft choice --its a win win for both teams--your toughts
Jim Thomas: Somehow, I don't think the Bengals will trade someone with 751 career catches for 10,783 yards for someone with six career catches for 63 yards.

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mike barttelbort: Jim-when you pick 14th- you have to take the best player available and that might be Mark Ingram of bama--Jackson won't go on for ever-your thoughts
Jim Thomas: Let's just say Julio Jones (and A.J. Green) aren't available, and the Rams have a much higher grade on Ingram than any of the d-linemen that might be available (Clayborn, Smith, Jordan, Kerrigan, etc.). Then why not take Ingram?

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falcon: Everyone knows we need the elite X-wideout to stretch the defense and command double-coverage. I believe we also need a vertical tight end to take a safety out of the box, give SJ39 more room to run and reduce the amount of blitzing on Bradford.
A: Does Hoomanawanui fill the need for that TE?
B: If Julio Jones is gone at #14 and the Rams go D-line with Quinn, Liuget, and Aldon Smith all available, who would be your choice for Spags' D-line rotation?
Jim Thomas: A.) I think Hoomanawanui showed flashes of being that guy. And I think McDaniels likes Fells as well (who's a pending free agent.)
B.) Unless there was something in the medical report, I'd say Quinn. Athletically, he's the most gifted of the group.

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st.annramsfan: jim,
it seems to me, one of the rams most pressing needs is the interior offensive line. yet nothing has been said about the g/c positions. do they plan to address this problem in free agency, the draft or not at all. if it is the draft, in what round? i don't see how drafting mark ingram or a deep threat wr will help w/o better protection up front. who will be available thats any good in the later rounds?
Jim Thomas: Yeah, we've written about just about every other positional need. We do plan a draft story on the interior offensive line in April. I'm not sure about free agents, but some draft possibilities at guard include Baylor's Danny Watkins (possible 2nd), Lehigh Will Rackley (mid rounds), or Nebraska's Keith Williams (who's from St. Louis--6th or 7th round). I believe the Rams have shown some degree of interest in all three of those guys _ not to say there aren't others.

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mike barttelbort: Jim- during normal years the upper draft choices are usually available for any team willing to pay the high salary's--so let go up and get A.J.Green -He would help bigtime--He Issac Bruce with Speed and Size
Jim Thomas: Although the roster is in better shape than it was a couple of years ago, I think the feeling at Rams Park is they're not yet in a position to give up draft picks to move up. But I know what you're saying _ Green should be a very good pro.

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Robert Reed: RE: Julio Jones (aka JJ). With the progress in recovery from their injuries (Danario, Mark Clayton and Donnie Avery), does that alter the previous desperation we all had for the need to draft a WR in the 1st or 2nd round? I am assuming Julio will be available at #14 because the Shanahans will be taking Jake Locker at #13.

Thanks,
Bob
Jim Thomas: Interesting questions and it fits into the WR story I wrote for last Saturday's paper. Spags is a firm believer in improving a team through player development. To a large degree, that was at play in the defensive improvement last season. In his comments for Saturday's article, I think he was kind of making the case for a receiver corps without a major addition. (other than re-signing Clayton) It's a big "if" though, assuming that Avery, Alexander, and a re-signed Clayton can all stay healthy. As for Jones being available at No. 14, I think the Rams are rooting for as many QBs and as many OLs as possible to go in the top 13.

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Tim M.: Jim, since there likely won't be a free agency period before the draft, I expect most teams will hoard their 2011 draft picks like misers, meaning it will be hard for the Rams to find a trading partner if they want to trade down. But teams can also trade their 2012 picks if they want. What would you say to the Rams trading down five spots or so, but instead of asking for a third round 2011 pick, they get a second round 2012 pick. Or move down 10 spots for a 1st round 2012 instead of a 2nd round 2011. The Patriots make trades like this every year, and it amazes me that no one else ever tries it. They have two picks in each of the first three rounds.
Jim Thomas: Interesting thought. I don't know how Devaney (or Spags) feels about trading for 2012 picks, but I don't think Devaney wants to trade down too far if he does trade down.

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Jerome Cox: Hi Jim,

Noticed some teams that are better than the Rams are deafting ahead of them. Like Dalas, Titens, and *****. How does this happen? What do you think about this?

jerry
Jim Thomas: They all had worse records than the Rams in 2010 (in fact all three teams you mention were 6-10 compared to the Rams' 7-9), and the draft goes in reverse order of that year's won-loss record.

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Tim from Godfrey: Hey Jim, I was very impressed with Mark Clayton before he got hurt. I'm still a little puzzled by Baltimore giving him up for so little. What was the book on him? Has he been injury prone before he came here? I'm not against using a 1st rounder on a WR, but I would not be too uncomfortable with our existing WR corp if 2 of the 3 injured receivers were healthy.
Thanks for your time.
Jim Thomas: Yeah, the book on Clayton was that he was knicked up a lot in Baltimore. Plus, Clayton never seemed to have the same rapport with Flacco that he did with Steve McNair. But in St. Louis, Clayton and Sam Bradford seemed to click immediately.

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Tackleberry: Jim,

I caught the tail end of your visit with Bernie yesterday, where you were discussing Spagnuolo and his view on the receivers. After watching Robinson labor through the first part of last season, following his own knee surgery, how can the Rams expect to rely on three guys with knee problems? And it isn't like any of these guys is Jerry Rice. Clayton was traded on the cheap by Baltimore for a reason. Fans were ready to see Avery hit the bricks before a "decent" showing at camp. Hurt or healthy, this collection of receivers is not that great to begin with.
Jim Thomas: Actually, Robinson's surgery was lower leg, not knee, but I get your point. It would seem awfully optimistic to think all or even most of these guys can stay healthy. And while there is something to be said for player development; look at last year's defensive improvement with just modest personnel changes (Robbins, Diggs), the Rams need to be a touchdown a game better on offense to truly be playoff competitive. And that's a lot of points.

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David: Now that Curl's gone, is there going to be a new associate HC?

Just wondering, what's the difference between an associate HC and an assistant HC, what do each do, and how does a position coach or coordinator usually get the title? Who's higher on the ranking list, the assistant/associate HC or the coordinator?
Jim Thomas: Spags says at this point there is no associate or assistant head coach. (Although it could still happen.)
Kevin Demoff tells me that technically an associate head coach outranks an assistant head coach.

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Bopat from Socal: Jim,
Do the Rams and other teams pay that much attention to the Wonderlic scores? I know both A.J. Green and Julio Jones did not score well on the test but then again I read where Dan Marino didn't do well and he is in the Hall of Fame. Would the Rams be worried about a rookie having difficulty learning the playbook(aka Mardy Gilyard?) Seems to me as long as he can play, who cares about the Wonderlic? Thank.
Jim Thomas: I'll try to find out as far as the Rams are concerned, how much credence they put into the Wonderlic.

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Kevin from NJ: Hi Jim,
Thanks for taking question.
What's you thought on the Rams selecting Ingram at 14, being Jones will probably be gone? I personally think they should start thinking about a real need and good fit RB as #2 option rather than Defense in first round.
Jim Thomas: See earlier post. I think if Jones is gone, and the Rams have a high grade on Ingram, that it would be a possibility.

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Bopat from Socal: Jim,
You may have mentioned it in a previous post but if Sam Bradford was you Offensive-Player-of-the-Year for the team, who was your Defensive-Player-of-the-Year? And was Bradford your team MVP? Thanks again.
Jim Thomas: Never really picked any honors like that, but I think Bradford would have to be offensive MVP, although I would give strong consideration to Jackson, especially considering he played through the groin injury and broken finger, and has become the leader of the team. On defense, I think I'd have to go with James Hall in a close vote over Chris Long. Long was much improved, but Hall had close to a career year.

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4thandJuan: Jim,
Whatever happened to the scout who was arrested for public intoxication in Indy? After all the chances the Rams gave Leonard Little, I figure they owe this guy at least a second chance. Makes sense?
Jim Thomas: I believe the case has been settled. And the scout in question (Luke Driscoll) is still working for the club. He's a hard worker who has a passion for football. In fact, I saw him at the Illini and Mizzou pro days.

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JesusLovesRams2: Hi Jim, I know Spags likes rotating defensive linemen in and out, but should we really use our first round pick on a guy who'll at best gets twenty snaps a game.

It was painfully obvious last year that we needed better play from the guard position. In short yardage situations the Rams were simply pitiful. If the Rams were to trade down there's still gonna be an impact guard worth picking in the lower 1st and we could add another 2-3 round pick.

This is a deep draft talent wise, We should be able to get starters through round 3. I think we should be drafting players that will have an immediate impact. If one of the top players like Julio falls to us at 14, then of course you take em, other then that we have so many holes to fill.

I think we have a greater need at G-OLB-S-RB. As far as receivers I think we'll be much better than people think if Clayton, Avery and Alexander stay healthy.

Thanks Jim, I respect your opinion and feedback.
Jim Thomas: I just wonder about spending a high draft pick on a guard. The Rams have high draft picks at both tackle spots and spent a lot of free agent money on their LG (Bell) and C (Brown). I keep thinking back to the Rams' Super Bowl teams of '99 and '01. Other than Pace, you had a 7th rounder (by Buffalo) at LG in Nutten, undrafted rookies in Mike Gruttadauria and then Andy McCollum at C (Gruttadauria was the starter in '99; McCollum in '01); another 7th rounder (by Green Bay) at RG in Adam Timmerman; and a 5th rounder (Fred Miller) and fourth-rounder (Ryan Tucker) at RT. Miller was the RT in '99; Tucker in '01; both were Rams picks.

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The Watchdog: Hi Jim, thanks for hanging out with us again. So with no telling how long the two sides are going to keep this going, and barring a court ruling that may or may not put everyone back to work - what would you see as the last minute to be able to go back to work for the league and players without setting back the normal schedule of pre-season and regular season games?
Jim Thomas: I guess I'd say start of July. That would give you a couple of weeks for free agency, and would give the players enough advance notice to make sure they're in shape. And then off you go.

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Rick Perrin: Mr. Thomas: If Jones or Green aren't available for the Rams but Ingram is,
do you believe the Rams would pass on a stud running back? If so who would
could be available that would be better. I hope they don't go for some second line defensive player. Maybe a guard, since they can't runblock a hat? Thanks Rick
Jim Thomas: What if North Carolina DE Quinn drops to No. 14? I think that would be hard to pass. The Rams like Clayborn, Smith, Liuget in varying degrees. I don't know how they feel about Kerrigan. So those all could be options at 14. There is no guard worht taking at 14, in fact, there almost never is that high in the draft.

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DDavid: Hey Jim, looks like the key factor in picking JJones in the 1st round is what the Redskins do. Any chance the Redskins may reach for Mallett or Locker @ the 10th pick and push Jones down to the Rams?
Jim Thomas: Well, I see some mocks have the Redskins taking Locker. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the more QBs and OTs taken in the top 13 spots, the better off for the Rams. The Rams might actually be helped in this _ especially at the QB position _ by the fact that it looks like almost a certainty that there won't be free agency before the draft. Teams that need a quarterback might not be willing to risk waiting to see if they can trade for Kolb (or, I guess Carson Palmer) or go after a Bulger or Hasslebeck in free agency. They may have the mindset of we better take a QB while we can (in the draft), and if we wait till the second round, Locker and Ponder (and maybe Mallet) could be gone.

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Jim S.: Jim, thanks for the chat during these dark days of lockout
Notice that your mock draft has 3 OT going before the Rams pick in what is perceived as a down year for OT-shows the importance of the Left Tackle position! Have been readng a lot of the newspapers in Washington, and a lot of the blogs, and listening to the talking heads discuss the Redskins, and am getting a feel that the Redskins have SO many needs more important than WR that Julio Jones just may drop to us after all..but with Dan Snyder involved, who knows My question: After the draft, do the players just go into limbo? i know that a lot of the pros are working out on their own. And that they are paying their own insurance in case of injury during these workouts. This insurance is apparently, not cheap-without the $$ from contract signings, i cant imagine these college kids being able to afford it, so will they just take a chance and workout also, or just do some light exercising like most mortals do? i'm thinking that if we get JJ, it'd be good to have Sam throwing to him as soon as possible, BUT...anyway, thanks again for the chats!!
Jim Thomas: I think having three OTs go in the top 13 might have been a little over the top. I only had one OT go in the top 13 in my first mock. (By the way, we'll have one more mock _ I believe Sunday April 17 _ before our "official" writers mock.
If there's still a lockout on the weekend of the draft, drafted players will still be able to have their introductory press conferences with their new clubs, after that, they're just like any other NFL player _ they can't be in the team facility or have any contact with coaches, staff, etc. As for workout insurance, I'm sure they could get a loan from their agents.

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idahofatboy: If the Rams decide to upgrade the outside linebacker position, who should be available at number 14? Are there good OLBs who will be available in rounds two and three?

thanks
Jim Thomas: I don't think there is a linebacker option at No. 14 overall. Von Miller (Texas A&M) will be long gone. He's a top 10 pick, maybe a top 5 pick. UCLA's Akeem Ayers got some early play as a mid-first round guy then he ran a 4.8 at the 40. Plus, some scouts _ including some at Rams Park _ think he may not be physical enough. I think he's now regarded as a late first, or early seocnd guy. Justin Houston (Georgia) and Brooks Reed (Arizona) are listed by some as OLBs, but at 27-0 pounds and 263 pounds, respectively, they played end in college and would be 3-4 OLBs. Bruce Carter (North Carolina)has a lot of athlecism but is coming off reconstructive knee surgery in December, so he's a medical question mark. But he's a second-round type guy. Then you've got guys like Mason Foster (Washington State), Dontay Moch (Nevada), and Chris Carter (Fresno State) who project more as third-round guys.

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Dylan_James77: Hey Jim, thanks as always for these chats.

It's getting close to draft day and I was just wondering what you thought was more likely.

1. The Rams trade up 1-5 spots for Julio Jones
2. The Rams, missing out on Jones, trade down a few spots to pick someone (Liuget?) who probably is a little early to select at 14 and grab an extra pick or two in the process.
3. The Rams stay at 14 and select whomever they deem the best defensive prospect.
Jim Thomas: I guess I'll go with door No. 3 (but phrase it "best defensive prospect or RB Mark Ingram."

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Tiger J: Good Morning Mr. Thomas, My question is one I hope hasn't been asked repeatedly. But how was it that some free agents got to sign with new teams before the lockout and others weren't. Please and Thanks
Jim Thomas: The only free agents that could sign with other teams were free agents who were released. (Such as Atogwe with the Rams.)

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Ray: Jim:
Thanks for the chats

1. Have you heard about any interest in DE Ryan Kerrigan? I have heard he is rising fast up draft boards and could be top-15 pick. Apparently, he was unblockable at the Senior Bowl and had ridiculous stats at Purdue. He and C. Long could make a terrific bookend defensive end duo for years.

2. What are we rooting for on April 6? Do we want this Judge to issue the injunction on the lockout or does that simply force the owners to appeal which only keeps the lockout tied up in litigation? On the other hand, if the lockout is lifted, we have football. But perhaps if the Judge denies the injunction, the players will lose a ton of leverage and will have no other option at that point but to return to the bargaining table. Your thoughts?
Jim Thomas: 1.) You know, I don't have a read on him. I'll try to check that out.
2.) Either way, I think the losing side will appeal. But there's no doubt, as Steven Jackson told the P-D's Kathleen Nelson the other day that this should be a tipping point. Whoever Judge Nelson sides with will get some leverage. I know the owners don't want to have this decided in the courts _ their track record there hasn't been very good. On the other hand, if the lockout continues, will the players start to buckle once July rolls around and the spector of losing game checks in September gets closer to reality. From a market standpoint, I think the a small market like St. Louis would be better off with a more "owner friendly" deal. But I guess none of this really answers your question!

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Big John: Jim thanks for chats, few ?s:

1 LG situation, cut Jacob Bell and replace with draft pick
2 Is Darrell Scott ready to start next to Robbins at DT
3 Chances of signing either Sidney Rice or Santonio Holmes
4 Saffold Greco Brown Moffit Smith ??

Thanks
Jim Thomas: 1.) Don't think Bell gets cut.
2.) Hurt early, Scott was a big disappointment last year. I'm not seeing it.
3.) If I had to bet right now _ and my feeling on this was different pre-lockout _ I'd say whenever we do have free agency it will be of the 6-year variety for UFAs, which basically would take Rice and Holmes off the market.
4.) Would like to see Greco get more of a chance _ wouldn't we all? Don't know how the Rams feel about Moffitt. He's got the size; I know some scouts question his strength.

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Roadhouse: So, you think the Rams might get any prime time games this year?
Jim Thomas: All right, I'm going to guess one. Either a Thursday nighter on NFL Network, or a Monday nighter on ESPN. How about Rams at Giants _ Spags returns to the Meadowlands!

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Encino: A PD story appeared Monday about who the Rams would draft at #14. However, other than the first paragraph, the story would not appear on my computer. Perhaps this is a problem with my computer only, but if it is a problem with everybody's computer, can you get it re-posted?
Jim Thomas: I'm not sure what story you're talking about. It wasn't one that I wrote.

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arnezzi: Why are talking about DE in the first round, with so many other apparent needs? Is it the depth and value of the DE draft class? I thought the coaches were pleased with Selvie, Sims and Ah You, and if Hall can give us one more year, why not wait?
Jim Thomas: I think the guys that are being talked about in the first round are much better prospects than Selvie, Sims and Ah You.

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Thomas T: Hi Jim;
You probably have touched on this in earlier chats, but how do you feel about the 2nd round receivers that will be available? Personally, unless we get a stud like AJ Green or Julio Jones, why add another average/above average receiver to this mix when it seems like we already have a bunch of those guys?

Thanks,
Thomas
Jim Thomas: True, I guess it's just a matter of getting the right guy. Would you take a DeSean Jackson (2nd round), Isaac Bruce (2nd round), Anquan Boldin (2nd round)?

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Doug Watson: Do you think that when the Ram's prioritize their draft that they will assume that free agency will occur eventually and before the start of the 2011 season?
Jim Thomas: Not sure what you mean here. If you mean will the Rams change their draft strategy because of the uncertainty of when free agency will take place, I don't think so. I do think the Rams expect free agency to take place before the 2011 season. The only scenario that might alter that is if the judge rules that the lockout can continue.

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Tom: If the Rams are looking at either DE or DT at 14, and the available players are similar in talent, the coaches opinions of the current young players at the two positions is bound to affect the choice. Do you know if the coaches like one position group, or one young player better than the others?
Jim Thomas: I think there's only one real DT option worth considering at 14 (Liuget), while there's several DEs that could be under consideration there (Smith, Clayborn, Kerrigan, Jordan, Quinn if he drops). So if it's DT, it's because they like Liuget better. As to how the Rams rate the DEs, not sure, although I would think Quinn would be at the top and Jordan probably at the bottom of the five I mentioned. Quinn high because of his athleticism; Jordan low because he's not much of a pass rusher.

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willywawa: Hey Jim, Thanks for the chats as always.

I was wondering if you had any read on the rams interest in Illinois RB Mikel Leshoure and if you think he'd be there in the 2nd at 14? I know we supposedly have our eye on a seconadary player in the 2nd but Leshoure looks like a beast and the illinois pedigree has been successful as of late.

I like Leshoure but personally would rather see us grab a jacquizz or noel devine (prob doesnt meet the pillars)in the 5th or later. I think that would keep Jackson happier at least for the next 2 years before we truly search for a replacement.

Lastly, Bruce Carter seems to be a great athlete but has had knee problems. Any chance he falls to the 3rd/do you have an eye on anyone you think will be a good 3rd or later value?

Thanks for your time.
Jim Thomas: When I talked to Leshoure just before the start of Illinois' pro day, he said he hadn't talked to anyone from the Rams since talking to RB coach Sylvester Croom at the combine. But I wonder if he would pique the Rams interest if he were still there when the Rams picked int he seocnd round. As for Carter, I guess it all depends on his knee. As for other third-round possibilities, I wonder if that's the round the Rams make their run at an OLB?

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stlrams99: I believe we will be just fine with the receiving core we have, if they stay healthy. This would allow us to use vital draft picks on other needs. What are your thoughts?
Jim Thomas: My opinion, staying healthy is too big of an "if" to stand pat at wide receiver. But the Rams may have no other choice in the first round.

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Bjsgolf: Jim,
Thank you so much for these chats! I had 4 questions for you today.

1) The most underrated player on the Rams is: _________
2) If the 2010 draft was redone, Rodger Saffold would be a top _____ pick.
3) The chances of Juluis Jones being available when the Rams pick is ____.
4) If the Rams had to choose between Ryan Kerrigan, Cory Liuget or Adrian Clayborn, I expect the Rams to pick_____.

My answers : 1) Gary Gibson, 2) Top 10 pick, maybe top 5? 3) Slim and none and slim is packing up to leave town. 4) Liuget
Jim Thomas: 1.) Bradley Fletcher
2.) Top 10 or top 15
3.) 25-75
4.) Don't have a read on Kerrigan, but saying that, I'd go Liuget

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stlrams99: I would be pleased to see an OG draft within the first 2 rounds, do you think it is a position on need?
Jim Thomas: Yes, but as I mentioned before, I don't know about expending another high pick on the offensive line.

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ChrisGood: Jim--thanks for the chats. Sorry to drop three (and a half) questions in one, but...

1) How does Billy D (or the Billy D/Spags combo) rate among drafters around the NFL? Two starters per draft seems pretty solid, but I don't follow closely how other teams' drafts pan out, and after so many bad Rams classes, the present heads may just look good by comparison. How is Billy D regarded as a drafter in the NFL community?

2) Has Avery ever struck you as more of a slot guy than a #1? He's 5'11", and quickness and RAC are his strong points--which sounds a lot like another Rams WR, Danny Amendola. But also sounds like Steve Smith.

3) Apologies if you included this in the interview piece, but any clue what Kroenke and/or McDaniels think of the Four Pillars?

3a) Should we be happy that the ***** are now coached by a college staff that isn't allowed to talk to its players?

Thanks again.
Jim Thomas: 1.) I don't have a sense of this, and I wonder if there is enough of a body of work to get a true read on this. Obviously the 2010 draft looks strong with both Bradford and Saffold looking like big hits, and what if Hoomanawanui can stay healthy? He could be a steal. But the Jason Smith pick is still debatable; but obviously Chris Long is looking better and better.
2.) I think Avery's a perfect slot guy, and with Josh McDaniels you may see a lot of four wides _ with 2 slots _ so maybe you could see a lot of both Amdendola and Avery in the slot.
3.) You know, i never have asked Kroenke about the 4 pillars. I should write that down.

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BigRamsFan: Thanks for taking questions.

Have you heard if Bradford and the receiving corp have gotten together yet to get in some work before the cba is done?
Jim Thomas: Checked with Bradford's agent on this at the Gabbert pro day (they have same agent _ Tom Condon), and at that point Bradford hadn't. Then again, it's still a little early to be doing any extensive throwing with teammates. That usually doesn't happen until after the draft when the minicamps and OTAs begin.

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ChrisGood: Any chance Gilyard works out better in the new system?
Jim Thomas: We can only hope, huh?

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paceram: Jim, Thanks again for taking these questions! Can you tell us if you were picking for the Rams in this year's draft who would be your top 3 choices (in order of your preference) for their overall pick? This is assuming that Patrick Peterson, Nick Fairley, DaQuan Bowers, A.J. Green, Marcell Dareus, Robert Quinn, Von Miller, Prince Amukamara, Blaine Gabbert and Cam Newton have all already been selected.
Jim Thomas: OK, I reserve the right to change my mind at a later date, but right now I'd go. 1.) Julio Jones; 2.) Mark Ingram; 3.) Corey Liuget.

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stlrams99: Knowing you don't have a crystal ball but rather exstensive NFL knowledge, will we be having football this year? give me the odds! Thank you.
Jim Thomas: 70-30 that it will be a full regular season.

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Robert Connelly: What is the current situation with potential free agents and the lock out? Will it be more of a who is aggressive first approach to free agents this year more so in years past when a deal dose finally get done?
Jim Thomas: Well, the first two weeks of free agency are always a spending frenzy, but it may be more so this year because of the compressed time period. And if free agency is after the draft, as now looks very likely, teams may be even more likely to overspend on a player at a position that they missed out on in the draft.

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Chris: Bigger need DT or DE. I think we need a good young Tackle.
Jim Thomas: I think I have to say DT.

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Larry O'Reilly: Hi Jim,

Does Josh McDaniel use a fullback? Would the Rams be interested in someone like Stanley Havili from USC in the late rounds?
Jim Thomas: Rarely. I don't see the Rams adding one. I think between Brit Miller and some of the TEs being able to line up in the backfield, McDaniels will have a lead blocker when he needs one.

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fulani ram: Hey Jim,

I'm reading about some players of other teams getting together. A few weeks ago you hinted that Ben McDaniels might be available to work with Sam & Co. without violated contract. Heard anything to that effect?
Jim Thomas: Haven't. I was more joking in talking about that. But if the players are indeed working out on their own I'll try to get there and look for Ben.

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pythagoras1: Hi Jim,
Thanks for participating in these discussions.
I have seen on several boards the Rams taking a DT, with the high failure of past DT early picks by the Rams & other Teams, wouldn't Rams be tetter served using that #1 on another position?
Second, just how did Jerry Jones gain so much power amongst the owners, everything he touches, he screws up?
Jim Thomas: I was wondering when someone would bring up the Rams' past track record at DT. But all of those DT picks were made pre Devaney/Spags, and actually, Ryan Pickett was anything but a bust. Just ask the Super Bowl champion Packers.
Good point on Jerry Jones. They haven't won much of anything the past 15 years, and the Super Bowl was a fiasco on some levels. Just ask those fans who bought tickets for seats that didn't exist.

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rich: Thanks Jim, Here's the thing everyone 's saying Jones and Green will be gone, but I don't think so. Who do you have taking them? Cincy better be thinking QB if Palmer wants out. Were do you think they go before #14?
Jim Thomas: I think Cincy, Cleveland, Tennessee and Washington could all take a wideout.

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Phil kuehn: Pk: as a fan who thinks he knows more about football than he actually does, with robins getting older, Gibson usigned, Ryan cut, and the other tackles either unproven or disappointments to this point, shouldn't the Rams be more inclined to shore up the interior of the defense than has been alluded to. I always thought if you can't stop the run and keep offensive lineman off the linebackers, the rest of it just doesn't matter that much.
Jim Thomas: That's why Liuget is under consideration in the first round.

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Tackleberry: Jim,

Can you justify taking a player (like Smith or Kerrigan) who is only going to play part-time behind Long/Hall? The Rams have too many needs to take a guy at 14 that isn't going to start for them.
Jim Thomas: Sure you can. Spags made his mark as a defensive coach with that terrific defensive line with the New York Giants. He likes people that can pressure the passer. A third end would see plenty of action, particularly if you move him or another end inside on passing downs. And what if Long or Hall gets hurt? Where does that leave the Rams?

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Chris: I'm going to just come out and say what many fans are probably thinking... the heck with the players, bring on the replacements! I'm getting really tired of professional athletes and their whining for more money. Playing professional sports is a choice, and I would prefer to see it return to a sport where players play for the love of the sport, not the love of money. Did Jack Youngblood play for money? How about Dick Butkus or Ray Nitschke? I think not...

Yes, I know, the players need to make enough money to "last them and their entire family a lifetime, in luxury of course"... why exactly is that? I do agree that they need to be taken care of medically and should have some sort of retirement, but I think it has gotten to the point of ridiculous. I don't mean to just pick on Professional Football, this same thing can be said of other sports, especially basketball in my opinion.

We have men and women who put their lives on the lines every day defending our freedom, saving lives as firemen and police, etc who work for pennies compared to these cry-baby athletes who complain that the millions they make per year isn't enough. In many ways it isn't their fault, it is us, the "fans" who put professional athletes up on a pedestal and don't honor those heroes who really deserve it.

Sorry for the long post, but I felt it needed to be said...
Jim Thomas: But the players aren't asking for a penny more. It's the owners who want them to take a pay cut.

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rambunctious: The schedule this year looks pretty tough...just wondering if you can talk about the Rams' opponents and give an idea of what the record COULD look like at the end of the year (I realize it's still early...and the draft has yet to take place)?
Jim Thomas: On paper _ and not only have we not had the draft we haven't had free agency _ the Rams could play better football in 2011 and have a worse record. I mean, you're talking about playing both Super Bowl participants on the road (Green Bay and Pittsburgh), Baltimore, Drew Brees and New Orleans, and oh by the way, the entire NFC East.

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sabester24: Where do you see Danario Alexander fitting in next season?
Jim Thomas: It's hard to count on him for a full 16 games given his knee issues. And he might have to be limited in reps on game day to 25 or so. But even under the limited conditions of last year, he had a big impact on three victories _ San Diego, Denver, and San Francisco. Josh McDaniels certainly got an eyeful on Thanksgiving weekend at Invesco Field at Mile High.

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Ram King: Hey Jim,
There is now talk that Fairley could drop to the point where the Rams would have a shot at him. Do you believe he would fit the 4 pillars or do you think the Rams would even be interested in him.
Jim Thomas: I think they might wonder if he's this year's Jimmy Kennedy _ a guy who looks the part, shows flashes of greatness, but lacks something be it passion for the game, worth ethic, what have you. I wonder if they wouldn't pass on the guy _ even at 14.

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COGzilla: So with the article a while back it looks like Spags might be happy with Butler as one of our starting safeties...

no way that happens.solid back-up, but we all know he isnt starting.
Jim Thomas: Don't hold your breath on that one...but you'd have to think the Rams will bring in a starting caliber safety, or if it's a draft pick someone with starting potential. But keep this in mind: Spags Giants team didn't have tremendous safeties. He seems to build his defenses on a strong, deep, and versatile defensive line, big corners with long arms who can press, and a strong middle linebacker.

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Mark: Any word on Mark Setterstroms' recovery or if he's in the teams plans? Granted it's hard to factor him in given his severe injury history, but if he's past his injury run, he could still factor.

Mark
Jim Thomas: His contract's up; he wasn't tendered in free agency (he'd be one of those "in limbo" free agents _ unrestricted with 4-year free agency; restricted w/6-year free agency). I think he wants to play. Maybe the Rams sign him to a vets minimum one-year deal and see how he looks in camp.

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L. Adam: Hey Jim, I know players cannot be traded right now, but could a team make a trade for a draft pick and a "conditional" player? Maybe a guy they both agree on and will send him on the way when the dispute ends?
Jim Thomas: Nice try. (I'm just kidding.) Only draft picks can be traded under lockout conditions.

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Matt B: At the beginning of this last season it seemed like the Rams felt Fells was expendable. In my opinion he then had a breakout season. Yes, he wasn't perfect and dropped a couple of important balls but I think he is more valuable than just a Second or Third string guy. Everytime Mike H. was healthy he bumped Fells back down the chart and I personally think that was B.S. Yes, Mike H. has potential but at the end of the day he was an unproven rookie with durability issues. All that aside, now it seems like the Rams really want Fells back even though they devalued him all season long. Do you think MdDaniels has a lot to do with this? Maybe he saw film he liked? I know Denver wanted Fells last year, and McDaniels was the head coach at the time, so that's what I'm assuming. What do you think?
Jim Thomas: I think you hit on it. Denver wanted Fells last year, I think even more so than New England. McDaniels obviously likes him.

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Big Thirsty: IS JEROME MURPHY HEADED TO SAFETY FULLTIME NOW, ISNT THAT WHERE HE PLAYED AT USF
Jim Thomas: I was told a week or two ago by someone who would know that the Rams have had no discussions about moving Murphy to safety at this point.

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Joe R: Jim, I think the one thing the rams are lacking is speed. Whether it is reciever or running back, I think they need to upgrade. Is there someone in the draft that would be at #14 if Green and Jones are gone that would be good pick. Thanks!
Jim Thomas: Well, Torrey Smith (Maryland) is speedy; Titus Young (Boise State) is shifty. Both could be second-round possibilities at WR. And there are lots of scatbacks that might be had in rounds 3 and 4. Guys like Kendall Hunter, Noel Devine, Derrick Locke, may Demarco Murray.

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AzRamsFan: How does the NFL determine the upcoming schedule? The Rams play both Super Bowl teams after a losing season...seems kind of odd they have such a tough schedule aheaad of them.
Jim Thomas: All indications are that the schedule will be released around mid April as is usually the case. The Rams are scheduled to play the entire NFC East and the AFC North because that's who the rotation has them playing this year. They only opponents tied to wear the Rams finished in the standins are Green Bay (NFC North) and New Orleans (NFC South) _ both teams finished second in their divisions; they Rams get them as part of the rotation because they finished 2nd in the NFC West.
With that, I've got to go; talk to you all next Tuesday.

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