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    JimThomas Live Chat Transcript - Feb. 28

    Jim Thomas Live

    Rams writer Jim Thomas goes one-on-one with readers at 1 p.m. Tuesday in a live chat
    Tuesday, February 28, 2012

    comments & answers

    John (in DC): Jim,

    Thanks for the chat. Hope you enjoyed the combine.

    Question for the way ahead AFTER the draft (since I'm sure you'll be asked 1000 questions about who the Rams will pick): does the new rookie wage scale mean that we can expect draft picks (whoever they are) to sign more quickly than in the past given that salaries are pretty much set? And thus whoever the rams select will be in camp, learning from coaches and absorbing the playbook on time?

    Thanks!!

    Jim Thomas: Yes, the days of the holdout are all but over.

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    Brad Stone: Hey Jim...it has been said that teams like Denver and Miami could't come up with enough picks to trade up to 2...but couldn't they add a player like Pouncey (or B. Marshall) or Von Miller plus a 1st Rounder this year and next year to make it work?

    Jim Thomas: Because of how bonus money is counted against the cap, it makes it more difficult to trade veteran players. And do you really think Denver wants to trade Von Miller?

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    dbcouver: Jim I have a couple of specific questions. Do we have Cleveland's 7th round pick in 2012? I thought we acquired it for Greco. Maybe it was conditional. Also how are Jason Smith, Bradley (BFB) Fletcher, Jerome Murphy, and Ron Bartell all doing? Do we know enough about any or all to tell if they will be ready for training camp, yet? Thank you for the response if you can.

    Jim Thomas: No. Rams did not get conditional pick for Greco. It was based on playing time, and Greco barely played.
    I believe Smith and Bartell will be good to go. Murphy probably. Fletcher's status still uncertain as far as being ready for camp.

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    STL45Fan: Hey Jim. OK' it's the 'FRINGE' alt-universe and in this one the Colts try to sign Luck to a contract before the draft but talks break down and they turn to RG3 and sign/draft him. What would the Rams do then? Trade the pick for Luck or trade Bradford to Cleveland or somewhere else for a #1 and draft Luck & Blackmon? Think about it, Luck may just be there...... yours thoughts.

    Jim Thomas: Don't know how many times I have to say this: Rams are not trading Bradford. There are cap ramifications that make a Bradford trade tough to do anyway. But the Rams do not want to trade Bradford. One of the big reasons Jeff Fisher came here is because of Bradford.

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    Glenn: Hey Jim, I was hearing (Before Fisher was hired) that the Rams had a lot of cap room (that would appeal to a new head coach) I read anywhere from 30 to 40 million below cap, now I'm hearing 10 to 12 million. What's the real cap position, and are we even going to be able to go after any decent players in free agency?

    Are there any free agent names your hearing about, Lloyd, maybe? Thank you

    Jim Thomas: It's more like 10 to 12 million. I don't know where that 30 to 40 million came from. But that was way off. But through cap cuts, maybe some restructuring, Rams will create more room. When all is said and done, they'll be in decent shape.

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    Luiz_BR: Hey Jim, thakns for doing that!

    so, hereīs my question:

    Can the RAMS do like the chargers in 2004 and pick RGIII then trade/negotiate him? I guess so but...is that clever?is a good thing to do or the smart move is trade right way the clock begins to roll?

    Jim Thomas: I think that removes some of their leverage by picking him and then trading him. The Chargers/NY Giants situation with Eli Manning was a little different because Manning had made it clear he didn't want to play in San Diego.

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    jeff: Hey Jim the news since the weekend is the rams were winners at the nfl combine. espn's adam schefter and john clayton are saying that if a team trades up it could take 3 or 4 first rounders and 2 seconds. The latest news from Bernie Miklasz is that kroenke won't move the rams and now this its great to be a stl rams fan. I know its early but these picks could be a foundation of a dynasty remember this is not a bad football team we were division favorites when healthy then u add to it with these picks ya i see a dynasty.

    Jim Thomas: Whoa, easy on the kool-aid. I think four first-rounders is more than a little optimistic. Let's see what happens. Same with Kroenke.

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    STL45Fan: Hey Jim, how about this for a new exciting young team! Trade Bradford for Cleveland's 2 #1s, and then draft RG3, Blackmon, OLine Adams or OLB Zack Brown, then David Wilson in the 2nd round! RE-BOOT! Not probable but possible. Your thoughts. Thanks.

    Jim Thomas: Rams are not trading Bradford.

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    h2ojd55: Have you heard any potential players that will be cut or re-work thier contract?

    Jim Thomas: I think you know the potential names by now. . .Jason Smith, Ron Bartell, Jason Brown.

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    vanvaley1: What would be the most the Rams could expect from trading down? If there is aggressive competition for the second round position what additional 'kicker' might the Rams pick up? What would be the least they could expect for trading the 2nd round pick? van

    Jim Thomas: I assume you're talking about the No. 2 overall pick.. It's all speculation at this point. It would help if there were more than one serious bidder.
    I'll just say for Cleveland, a realistic trade might be the Browns #4 and #22 picks in the first round and maybe a 2nd or 3rd rounder. Remember, they're moving up only 2 spots.
    For Washington, maybe the Redskins 1, 2, and third-rounders this year, and a first next year.

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    Buzz: Jim,
    1) Do the Rams have a linebackers coach yet? If so, I must have missed the memo.

    2) Zach Brown is a flashy pick at OLB because of his speed, but isn't it true that he never takes on blockers? I can't picture him as a Fisher guy, can you? Thanks.

    Jim Thomas: 1.) You didn't miss the memo. I ran a list maybe three weeks ago based on the hires at that date. I listed Blake Williams, the son of defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, as the assistant linebackers coach. It now looks like he will be the sole linebackers coach.
    2.) I think that's one of the criticisms of Brown, which Brown strongly denies. All I know is that he was very productive in college.

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    Tiger J: Good Morning Mr. Thomas, I was wondering if I shouldn't feel gitty about the possibility of getting Clairbore. I'm thinking if the trade is with Cleveland I would still take Clairbore,

    Jim Thomas: I think Claiborne is very much in play if the Rams move down to No. 6 w/Washington. I guess it's possible w/Cleveland as well at No. 4. Let's see what Mr. Blackmon does at his pro day March 9.

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    Tiger J: If were to come down to Claireborn, Richardson or Blackmon who is your choice and why?

    Jim Thomas: I'm not discounting Claiborne, but I want to see how Blackmon works out and runs. Push comes to shove, I'd still like the touchdown-maker. Richardson, I think, is a luxury as long as Steven Jackson is on the roster.

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    virginiatom: Jim, I think everyone agrees that the Rams drafting over the last several years, given their draft position, has been, with a few exceptions, very disappointing and unproductive. Much of this blame has been placed on Deveney. My question, do the scouts share this blame as well in that they gave Deveney bad information with which his decisons were made and if so, won't Fisher and Snead be operating off of the same information from scouts who may not have been very good in the past? What is your opinion of the Rams scouting team?

    Jim Thomas: Sure the scouts share some of the blame. And some will not be retained when their contracts expire after the draft. But at the end of the day, no matter what's on the scouts' reports or what's said in the draft meetings, the GM and head coach make the pick. And too often in the past, what the coach wanted and who the team drafted didn't have a lot to do with what was on the scouting reports.

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    virginiatom: Do you think the Rams will trade their pick before draft day or wait until they are actually on the clock? I take it there are pros and cons to each.

    Jim Thomas: I would say draft day. These things usually don't seem to get decided until right at the end.

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    ramboy21: hey ,jim do you think the rams will trade with the brown or the redskins and what do you think about brian quick wr from app st, this is a guy i hope the rams get ..

    Jim Thomas: If I had to bet, I'd say the Redskins just because of the Allen/Demoff and Shanahan/Fisher relationships, plus Dan Snyder's preference for making the big splash. (But I think we have to keep an eye on the Redskins and Peyton Manning here as well for that very same reason.)
    I watched him some at the Senior Bowl, and he flashed at times _ showing big-play potential _ but also was raw and inconsistent. I think he's a late-round guy who you develop.

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    BrotherBri: Thanks for the chat. I'm grateful for all the Rams info I can get out here on the East Coast.

    I get that Fisher loves Sam. Big reason why he chose the Rams over the Fins. Most important piece to building a winning program in a QB league. Yada, yada, yada. I get it, and I'm not on the crack pipe.

    But we all know that sometimes the irrational happens, and grown people can go nuts. And it could be possible that Pat Shurmur's man-crush on Sam is stronger than any feeling he could develop for RG3. And so perhaps he tries to give up more for Sam than for RG3.

    Knowing the Rams won't bite, what I want to know is this -- just how much is Sam worth to the Rams? At what point does a Browns trade package become crazy good enough for the Rams to be foolish not to bite? Is it the two first rounders plus Joe Thomas? The two firsts, a third and Thomas? The two firsts, Thomas and Alex Mack? Those four values plus a vacation home in Aruba?

    Jim Thomas: Make no mistake, Shurmur loves Bradford. But when all is said and done. . .all together now. . .the Rams aren't trading Bradford.

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    Tackleberry: Jim,

    The front office doesn't believe that signing Lloyd/FA WR and drafting Blackmon/Floyd is an either/or scenario, right? Amendola has been solid and Salas had his moments, but both are no better than a #3, and both are coming off season-ending injuries (see Laurent Robinson 2010). Even if both were in sparkling health, they aren't difference makers and the Rams need two of those.

    Jim Thomas: No one's told me this exactly, but I think the Rams realize they need a lot of help at wide receiver.

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    Andrew from Toronto: Hi Jim,

    Thank you so much for taking our questions each week. I have two very quick questions.
    1) How important in evaluating the talent at the combine of players that have siblings playing in the NFL or have played in the NFL? I think it can be very important in that those rookies know what it needs to take professionally to make it in the NFL versus those that have no personal history to fall back on. What do you think?
    2) Where do we stand with nrespect to hiring a running backs coach? Any names out there?

    Thanks again for taking our questions.

    Andrew from Toronto Canada

    Jim Thomas: 1.) I think it's a factor. But a major factor? I'm not sure. Obviously, in the case of Matt Kalil, the fact that his brother Ryan already has played in 3 Pro Bowls isn't going to hurt "little" brother.
    2.) Stump Mitchell no longer is in the picture. Ben Sirmans of Rutgers, who was interviewed Sunday by Jeff Fisher at the combine, now looks like the guy.

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    ihtnep: Hi Jim,

    I'm sure that RGIII is a great prospect, but wasn't Sam Bradford supposed to be the best one over a 10 year period or something like that?

    Jim Thomas: Yeah, there seems to be a once-in-a-generation QB about every other year in the combine these days.

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    Bopat from SoCal: Jim,
    It seems to be a successful football team, the offense must protect YOUR quarterback while the defense must get to THEIR quarterback. That said, I really like USCís Matt Kalil. He would surely help Sam Bradford stay upright. I like Justin Blackmon, but what good would he be if Bradford is being nailed to the turf? Now Iím hearing Blackmon has hamstring issues.
    On the other side of the ball, Jeff Fisherís Titan teams were always putting defensive pressure on the quarterback. Do you think Fisher will tweak the defense somewhat by adding a defensive tackle here and a linebacker there? In your opinion, which side of the ball needs more help? Offense or defense? Thanks.

    Jim Thomas: Again, I want to say both offense and defense.
    It would be nice to get a starting defensive tackle, starting outside linebacker, and starting cornerback out of a combination of the draft and free agency.
    On offense, the Rams really need two starting caliber wide receivers, and I would say a couple of starting offensive linemen (pick your spots, interior or exterior).

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    Ross: Jim

    1)Whats the chances the Rams trade the 2nd pick for Cleveland for their 4/22 and a later round pick?

    2) Sources say the Redskins are gonna offer there 1st,2nd and 3rd round pick and next years 1st just for the 2 slot. Is that accurate? and why in the world wouldnt the Rams take that offer?

    Jim Thomas: 1.) It's obviously within the realm of personality.
    2.) The "source" your referring to here is a radio station personality. . .in Philadelphia. So take that for what it's worth, although I do think such an offer would make sense.
    Nothing resembling an offer has been made yet by anybody.

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    Andy in Charlotte: Jim;

    Now that the Rams have announced they are trading out of the #2 pick (BIG SURPRISE), what is your take on the timing of making draft-pick deals. Should they try to get whatever they can before P. Manning and M. Flynn find new teams (if they do), or should they hold out 'till the draft?

    Thanks;

    Andy

    Jim Thomas: The Rams haven't really announced anything, but we all know they're trying to trade the pick and would like to trade the pick. I'm not sure they'll even get an offer before we find out if Manning's on the market or whether or not Flynn gets franchised. (Both of which will be determined next week.)



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    Cromwell21: Good day Mr. JT:

    1-Is it me or is the people down on Blackmon and Richardson-making this a three horse race-Luck, Griffin and Kalil?
    2-I know Demoff said the Rams are trading the pick, but what if Manning is a Redskin and Flynn a Brown, don't they then have to make the pick? Do you see any chance they draft Griffin? Are the Rams willing to drop to 8 or 10?

    Jim Thomas: 1.) If Blackmon runs a 40 on March 9 in the 4.50 range at his pro day no one will be worried about him not running at the comebine. And I think you need to put Claiborne in the mix as well in any tradedown scenario.
    2.) What you say could very well happen, although I'd say it's more likely Flynn ends up in Miami where the new head coach, Joe Philbin, is the former offensive coordinator of the Green Bay Packers. That obviously would take some of the steam out of the Rams' trade-down scenarios.

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    mitch: How far down do you think the Rams can trade while still have a legit shot at drafting Blackmon? Browns no 4, Redskins no 6 or is there a chance he might be there at the No 8 they would potentially get from the dolphins?

    Jim Thomas: I think he's still there at 4. But it's gets dicey at 6, and don't think so at 8.

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    bfulton: One way to measure a draft is how many top rated players are at the top of the draft. What does the conventional wisdom say after the combine about how far down in the first round can you go before you run out of certain future Pro Bowlers. All I hear talk about is OT Kalil, WR Blackmon and the two QBs.

    Jim Thomas: I think you might throw Claiborne in that group, and maybe Trent Richardson, although the knee surgery might lower his value.

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    JerseyRam: Jim,
    Why would this team even consider bringing back Jason Smith? I feel its time to cut bait and explore other alternatives. How would you feel about Joe Smith and the #4 pick from Cleveland?

    Jim Thomas: I think your first question is a fair one, but I the sense I get is that the Rams want to give him one more shot. I could be wrong, and that certainly could change between now and the draft, but that's the sense I get.
    I assume you mean Joe Thomas of Cleveland, but why would the Browns want to trade their anchor left tackle?

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    bjsgolf: Jim,
    I never hear much about Jerome Murphy, but I liked him when he played 2 years ago. He was aggressive and was not afraid to hit. Do you have any news on him or any opinion on his future? Thanks

    Jim Thomas: He has good size, isn't afraid to tackle, but is raw. His injury occurred early in camp, so I think he should be good to go once the minicamps and OTAs begin in the spring.

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    K-town Ram fan: Hi Jim What would HAPPEN IF for some reason Indy were to take RG-3, instead of Luck what would happen to the value of the number 2 pick, would it increase in value or ,drop in value,or stay the same?

    Jim Thomas: Don't think this will happen, but I certainly don't think Luck's value in a trade would be any worse than RGIII's.

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    Bash-On Regardless: Jim, do you have any idea exactly how a trade is consumated? If the RAMS have multiple suitors for our #2 pick, do we tell them, `Well, we've been offered this much already....' or do they keep team names and offers out of it?

    Bash-On Regardless

    Jim Thomas: A good question. I would think as part of the negotiating process the Rams might tell Team A "Hey we're getting more than that from Team B" _ or "this is what you have to beat."
    I'm not sure that they have to mention teams, although the most obvious teams are, well, obvious.

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    Tim: I asked a few weeks ago about the Rams 75th Anniversary in 2012 and how nothing has been mentioned about it. At the time you had not heard anything either. Can you delve into this and find out if the franchise has anything planned? I'm curious to know if anyone at Rams Park knows it's the 75th anniversary. The Texans are making their 10th anniversary well known. The Texans. 10 years. The Rams are one of the oldest and most important franchises in NFL history. It's time they started acting like it.

    Jim Thomas: This from Kevin Demoff: "Yes, we are looking into ideas."


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    tim g: Why hasn't the NFL resolved the 2012 Cap situation as of yet? Have the Rams redone any contracts to help with cap space?

    Jim Thomas: I don't think this is too much of a big deal. I think all indications are that the cap will be basically the same as last year, and teams are operating under that premise.
    As to your second question _ I don't believe the Rams have re-done any contracts at this point.

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    Robert Wildwood: Jim -
    Jason LaCanfora predicts Stl will trade from #2 to #6 with Washington, but then trade again with Seattle to let them get QB Tannenbaum at #6 ahead of Miami. Do you think we would really trade out of the top ten, AND do it with arch-enemy Seattle to let them get a QB? Would you do it?

    Jim Thomas: I don't think the Rams are going to do anything to help out Seattle.

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    Robert Wildwood: Jim -
    Do you have any way of knowing whether Brian Schottenheimer and Sam Bradford have been working together, to what extent, and whether or not Sam has a Schotte'-basics playbook to be studying?

    Jim Thomas: As in any offseason, coaches are not allowed to have much contact with players until the offseason program starts, which this year isn't until April. But I would think that Bradford already has some kind of playbook. I know some Rams defensive players already have a version of Gregg Williams' defensive playbook.

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    Ramaroo: Jim why would the Rams want to consider a trade for the number two pick in the draft with Washington based on " in large part because of the good relationship between team executives (Washington's Bruce Allen and Demoff) and coaches (Jeff Fisher and Washington's Mike Shanahan)." when they can possibly get a better deal with Cleveland who has two first round picks to offer? Dropping to the #6 pick with Washington versus #4 and #22 with Cleveland based on a relationship seems like cronyism instead of good business sense to improve the team.

    Jim Thomas: Believe me, if the deal's better, the Rams will make the deal with Cleveland.

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    Jim S: Hi Jim, Thanks for these chats! During the combine I saw where the Rams had an additional interview with LSU DT M. Brockers. This is the only extra interviews I saw that they had. Do you know of any others? And is this a clue on who they may draft if the drop back to #6?

    Jim Thomas: I'm not sure what you mean by "additional" interview. The Rams, like most NFL teams, will talk to most of the over 300 players who attend the combine one way or another. But to a large degree, it is the 60 players who interview in the "team suite" that are usually the ones they are seriously considering. But even then, sometimes it's a person _ such as an underclassmen _ that they want to get more info in. Maybe it's someone with character issues, who they want to meet face to face. So it is kind of a clue, but you can't read to much into it either.

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    Chris Good: Hi Jim,

    Do we have enough info to assess how the Fisher/Snead draft-grading and talent-evaluation process will differ from that used by Billy D/Spags/McDaniels? Granted that the scouts still uses Billy D's system, do you have any sense of what attributes the current regime values, compared to what the previous regime valued?

    (Listening to Fisher, it sounds like "tough" and "physical" players are prized, but I'm curious whether the Rams' coaches & scouts have shared any more specific distillations of what they look for and prioritize.)

    Is there anything more to Snead's "unique" decision-making process, beyond judging players' acceptable floors along with potential upsides?

    Thanks again for the chats.

    Jim Thomas: No, it's still early to really get a true gauge on draft philosophies, and it may take a few drafts to get a true picture.
    Tough, physical, and fast would be attributes of Fisher players.
    Snead, based on what happened in Atlanta, won't be afraid to try to make a big move (like trading out of the No. 2 pick). Devaney/Spags were conservative when it came to big moves.
    As for the "unique" aspects of Snead, I think it's partly that he's not afraid to think out of the box. For example, at the combine, he talked about how the NFL is now a "space" game, and that speed, quickness and short-area explosiveness are needed.

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    EDDIE BARNS: WILL STUMP MITCHELL BE THE RAMS NEXT RUNNING BACKS COACH?

    Jim Thomas: No. Looks like it's going to be Ben Sirmans of Rutgers.

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    Adam: Jim,

    Thanks for the chats, this is my favorite weekly source of Rams information. Which trade scenario would you view more favorably for the Rams with the #2 pick?

    1) Get two first rounders this year as well as a 2nd or 3rd round pick this year
    2) Get a first and second rounder this year AND next year?

    I find myself torn between more picks now or potentially higher overall quality of picks for now AND the future.

    Jim Thomas: Boy, you're hoping for a lot.
    Me personally, I'd rather get the most I could in this year's draft. For example, let's say you get a first-rounder in 2013 as part of a Washington trade. RGIII plays well as a rookie and the Redskins go 9-7. Well their 20013 pick could be, say, 20th under that scenario, instead of the current No. 6. Obviously a big difference.

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    bob_n_weave: If Browns offer pick 4 and 22 for Bradford why not draft RG3, then you still have 2 first round picks ? nobody should be untouchable

    Jim Thomas: Rams aren't trading Bradford.

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    Encino: Can you think of a realistic scenario where the Rams would NOT decide to trade their #2 pick?

    Jim Thomas: Miami signs Flynn, Washington signs Manning, and Cleveland just can't pull the trigger.

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    NYC RamsFan: Jim,

    Thanks as always for the chats.

    Everyone keeps talking (for obvious reason) about the Rams No. 2 pick and potential trades to get even more. But I don't get the overwhelming sense that this year's draft is so deep in talent that, if the Rams don't take a player like Blackmon with the No. 2 (or Cleveland's No. 4), there will be a lot of real play-maker options on offense for them further down. Neither Pettis nor Salas really did anything to open up the offense, which demonstrates the obvious risk of taking even good college WR's in later rounds. We can keep trying that and and hope we grab the next Marques Colston, but can we really take that chance anymore?

    Based on your time at the combine, what's your view of the WR talent this year further down in the first round and in to the later ones?

    Jim Thomas: I really concentrated on the top spots at the commbine this year, hoping to hit the high notes. So I haven't really studied the other WRs beyond Blackmon in much depth. But at first blush, it looks like a decent group of wide receivers. But don't know what to make of Alshon Jeffery. Michael Floyd does have multiple alcohol-related issues, Kendall Wright didn't run as fast as expected. But there are always good wideouts outside of the first round _ it's just that the Rams of past regimes have had zero luck finding them.

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    Chris: I saw Marvin McNutt had a decent combine and chance the new regime at St. Louis is interested.

    Jim Thomas: Yeah, I think he could be a nice pickup from someone somewhere in the mid rounds. Don't know if the Rams are interested.

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    NJ Ramsfan: Jim, hope all is well. Met you at training camp and in Newark hotel for Giants game. With speculation about retaining Smith, moving him to guard and sliding Saffold to RT,do you think theres a better chance at free agency or draft to get the LT? and whom would you want in either scenario?

    Jim Thomas: I'll have to ask this new staff, but I haven't heard that they're considering moving Smith to guard.

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    Seth: Could you give us, in your opinion, the 5 most likely FA signings for the Rams?

    Also, is a trade for the likes of Desean Jackson a possibility? I have read reports that a tag and trade is likely for him, and with us getting all of these picks, just wondering how likely that was as well.

    Jim Thomas: You realize what a tag and a trade means. Technically, it's 2 first-rounders that you have to give up. (Although the Rams traded Kevin Carter who was franchised to Tennessee and Jeff Fisher for one first rounder prior to the 2001 season.) But is DeSean Jackson worth a No. 2 overall pick?

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    Warner to Bruce!: Once we get much more than chart value for the #2 pick, do you think they should trade soon rather than wait until draft day in hopes the value goes up more? How much does the risk of injury - or other infraction, Kobe Bryant got in a scuffle in church of all places - to the 2 QB's between now and then play into it?

    Jim Thomas: The chart value was pretty much out of date even before the new rookie wage scale. I think the main issue is that no one's going to jump out there with an offer until they have to, and that these things rarely get consummated until just before the draft or on draft day.

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    Mark: I love Peter Konz, the center out of Wisconsin. But to you know if the Rams are satisfied with Wragge at center? He actually played pretty well.

    Adding Kalil and Konz would turn their OL into a strength rather than a weakness.

    Jim Thomas: Wragge certainly is a banger, although he had some issues as a pass blocker. I will say this about the guy: I'm told Wragge has been at Rams Park basically every day on his own working out this offseason.

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    Michael07: Hi Jim,

    Thanks for the chats. I know the Rams have a lot of needs and cannot fill all needs in the draft alone. They need to sign a few good free agents who can hopefully play every game. So if you were the GM, what would be your preference in a trade down? Two high draft picks or an established player and a high draft pick(s).

    Jim Thomas: Established players who are any good rarely get traded.

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    STLSCOTT: Hi Jim, I've watched a lot of Blackmon highlights and his Combine interview. I think he has full blown "Diva" potential. Do you think he can live up to how good he thinks he is?

    Jim Thomas: That's got to be a consideration. Although I will say, most wide receivers have a Diva complex.

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    Patrick: I hear a lot about Blackmon and Kalil. Can you give a couple names of players at OTHER positions that are likely at the top of our draft board?

    Thanks.

    Jim Thomas: As I've mentioned in a couple of spots earlier, Claiborne, the CB from LSU, is the most likely other option. I don't really see a defensive tackle up in this realm this year. Maybe Richardson, the RB from Alabama.

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    Dennis: Hello Jim, thank you for the chat as always,
    With the exception of WR do you believe the Rams can improve their overall team by free agency? Such as Outside linebacker or interior DL, or offensive line, whereas that would improve their opportunities in the upcoming draft for two or three impact players? Thank you again.

    Jim Thomas: Well, let's see who's left on the free-agent list once the dust settles (that is, the franchise tags are handed out and the inevitable list of players who end up re-signing with their own team comes out). I think cornerback could be a position filled in free agency. Maybe interior offensive line.

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    Brad: In a trade with Cleveland does the 2 1st rounders they have plus a 2nd and 3rd round pick seem realistic?

    Jim Thomas: A second and a third? I'd say more like a second or a third.

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    Rip The Ram: Are fans just deaf or merely stupid ?. Bradford is as valuable a young QB in this league, he's not going anywhere. My God, isn't the old adage about football fans being fickle SO true!.

    Jim Thomas: It's a fast-food, short-attention span society. Give me a franchise quarterback, a playmaking wide receiver, hold the fries, and super-size that anchor at left tackle.

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    Ernest: Who exactly did the Rams talk to at the combine? Do you know the whole list?

    Jim Thomas: As I alluded to earlier, I don't expend too much energy on this because one way or another, the Rams will talk to probably a couple hundred of these guys _ or the vast majorite of combine invitees. But I do know they talked to Justin Blackmon, LSU wide receiver Rueben Randle, and were trying to set up a formal interview with Alabama LB Dont'a Hightower.
    When the media talks to prospects at the combine, it's almost always before they have done any or many interviews. And most of the time, they get interview lists that just contain the suite numbers at the main hotel where they have the interviews scheduled, not the teams themselves.

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    Corey M.: JT-

    As always thanks!! To answer Glenn's question, I believe that will be the cap number for the Rams next season (30-40mil more like 36). Should be ok moving forward with the new rookie wage scale in place. Not to mention Fisher's statement we will NOT be picking this high again.

    My question is...any new news on the stadium issue? Reports of a temporary fix while coming up with a long-term solution (see Vikings). Should we as fans feel confident since Mr. K is heading the Union Station revival?

    Corey M.

    Jim Thomas: Wow! The first lease-related question of the day. The Rams will reject the CVC proposal on Thursday (March 1) and we'll see where it goes from there.
    And you're right, the 30 to 40 million is more in the ballpark for 2013 (although that number is somewhat deceptive because the Rams don't have anywhere near 53 players under contrace for 2013).

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Art Pineda: Hi Jim,
    I think the Scouting combine is misleading, since they have players running without equipment on. I would think that by watching flim on these players and talking to them and thier coaches you would get a better ideal on players that they you are interested in drafting.
    Running times in the combine are overated what do you think?
    Thanks!
    Art Pineda

    Jim Thomas: The game film is most important. The value of the combine, like Snead and Fisher have said, is more in the interviews and medical info. Although it would've been nice to see Blackmon run, don't you think?

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Len: Hi Jim,

    Everyone thats excited about the possibilities of trading the second pick and the haul we will get should remember that we had a tremendous haul for Dickerson back in the day. And that didnt work out so well.

    Jim Thomas: Boy, did you just bring the room down!

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    JIM: How strong is this years' draft and will next years be better or worse?

    Jim Thomas: I'm hearing 2012 is a good year for defensive tackles, a down year for pass rushers. Good interior offensive linemen available through rounds 3, and maybe even into round 4. Otherwise, we'll see. As for next year? no way of knowing because of injury, and the uncertainty of which underclassmen will come out early.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Trojanguy: Greetings Jim,

    One area of need I haven't seen discussed much is at the running back position. Considering that neither Williams or Norwood did much to distinguish themselves as SJ's backup last season, what do you feel the Rams should do via the draft/free agency to shore up that position and give the Rams a quality backup to Jackson and another potential weapon for Bradford?

    Jim Thomas: Yeah, I wrote about some possible backups in Boise State's Martin and Washington's Polk, among others, coming out of the Senior Bowl. But I fully expect the Rams to beef up their RB corps behind Jackson, be it through the draft or free agency.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    ezhawaiian: if the rams do trade away there pick, and possibly get the #4 pick, i just can't see us losing out on Blackmon...but if we trade lower...we will probably be kicking ourselves in the butt (Like D. jackson a few years back!)when someone else gets him!!

    whats your thoughts my friend, aloha!

    Jim Thomas: I think Fisher could live with Claiborne say at No. 6 overall.
    Mahalo

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    CUTMAN: Hey Jim,

    1- If the Rams have announced they have no interest in RG3 and apparently neither do the Vikings then why would Cleveland consider trading up since there's a good chance he'll be there at the 4 spot?

    2- I'm not impressed with the choice of the DC after watching the playoffs and considering the fact that the 2nd worst team in the league took it to his defense this last season. It was the only team we beat convincingly.

    3- I'm an old fan from Oxnard Ca. and pray to God the Rams are much more competitive this year so I can feel better about traveling $omewhere to see them compete. It feel$ really $tupid walking through an airport with your Rams gear on after getting $panked financially from the high expenses to see a game and after seeing your team get spanked on the field.

    Thanks for the time,

    Ram Guy

    Jim Thomas: 1.) Because knowing the Browns might covet RGIII, somebody such as Washington or Miami will swoop in ahead of Cleveland to grab him. That's the fear Cleveland has.
    2.) That's two games. Gregg Williams has had something like six top 10 defenses, at about four or five different places. I'm not saying he's perfect, and it doesn't matter who's coaching if you don't have good talent. But that's a track record; he's not a one-hit wonder.
    3.) Totally understand.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Mike: Thanks for taking my question Jim! I was wondering. don't you feel it will benefit the Rams more if they trade the pick before the start of free agency?

    Jim Thomas: I just don't think they get a firm offer before then. That's just two weeks away.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    pete ramey: Is it not going to take a lot more money to sign Flynn than RG3, making RG3 much more valuable?

    Jim Thomas: Could be. But I'm sure the Packers and Flynn's agent realize this could be the case, and may adjust accordingly.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    studebaker: Jim, Thanks for your time. Do you think this regime will do better drafting players than the last 2 regimes ? and Why?

    Jim Thomas: We can only hope. I'm just going to wait and see.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    D-Nice: Whats up Jim, my question is everybody is saying that the Browns, Redskins and Dolphins are the only teams interested in RGIII, I think a team everybody id sleeping on is Buffalo, Doyou think the Rams would go down to the tenth spot to trade with the Bills?

    Jim Thomas: Didn't the Bills sign our guy Fitz to a pretty big extension?

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Lucas: Thanks for the chat, I know rams need help at OL. But I think if you could sign a deep threat WR in free agency and then take Blackmon in the draft you help your WR core In a big way. Is that possible a Vincent Jackson/ Justin Blackmon combo?

    Jim Thomas: Vincent Jackson and Justin Blackmon. In February all dreams are possible.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    AbiRam: Thanks for the chats Jim. A few quick WR-centered questions:

    - Talks with Lloyd were supposed to start soon. Percentage that Lloyd resigns with the Rams?
    - Do you see the Rams trying to go for #1 WR Vincent Jackson in FA?
    - Percentage on the Rams signing a #1 WR in FA or resigning Lloyd Plus taking a WR in the 1st or 2nd rounds.

    Thanks much!

    Jim Thomas: 1.) 35-65
    2.) Don't know. But think they'll at least look into it.
    3.) 55-45

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Donnie: What are the chances Fisher will trade Bradford even though he says he isn't?

    Jim Thomas: 3%

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    markasher: Is Bartell at risk of a serious neck injury if he resumes his football career?

    And did we ever get told why Jerrious Norwood hardly played in 2011?

    Jim Thomas: Sure, but I would think much less so than say, Peyton Manning, because Bartell didn't need surgery.
    On Norwood: not really.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Pray4TheRams: Do the Rams plan to look for a possible future/backup running back in the draft or free agency?

    Jim Thomas: Would be stunned if they didn't.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    STL Meredith: Has Coach Fisher announced where training camp will be? Is he inclined to keep training camp in Earth City?

    Jim Thomas: He has not. I don't think he's given this any thought just yet. He's still got a lot on his plate.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Matt S.: Jim,
    I really think the Rams should trade Bradford. Kidding.
    A serious question. Do you have a feeling as to what the Rams will do at backup QB? Do you think they will carry 3 on the roster? I would guess Clemons will get a shot to stick because of his relationship with Shotty. What about Feeley? Will he be gone? Thanks,

    Jim Thomas: Clemens and Feeley are both scheduled for unrestricted free agency. Clemens makes a lot of sense because of his past association with Schottenheimer.
    Not sure on the 3-qb deal, but I will try to check on Fisher's track record in Tennessee.
    That's all for this week. Talk to you next Tuesday.


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    Re: JimThomas Live Chat Transcript - Feb. 28

    ClueLess in STL: JT do you think we should trade bradford because we could get 400 picks .

    JT: We're not trading bradford

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    Re: JimThomas Live Chat Transcript - Feb. 28

    JT didn't know this:

    Per a league source, the Bills could trade or cut Fitzpatrick before the seventh day of the 2012 league year and owe him nothing further than the $3.22 million base salary he was already due to earn in 2011 and the $10 million signing bonus he was paid upon inking the new deal last month.

    I would say I am a football fan but have a full time job and I knew this....how come a big time sportswriter does not ??????

    I think both Buffalo and Houston could be later entries...

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