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  1. #1
    RamsFan16 Guest

    Linehan Happy With First Draft

    Linehan Happy With First Draft
    Monday, May 1, 2006

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    Scott Linehan’s background as an offensive coordinator has made for some dull draft days in his time as an NFL coach.

    “I was bored as an offensive coach because you picked a guy and then you know you were done for about four rounds and you’d sit and watch the draft,” Linehan said.

    Now in his first year as the Rams’ head coach, Linehan has had to change gears. Instead of grabbing a quarterback or receiver then sitting for hours on end with nothing to do, Linehan and the Rams approached this draft with the same type of aggressiveness that he does on offense.

    “We were always working on something,” Linehan said. “I’m not sure if it’s fatigue, but it will wear on you a bit. It’s been a very exciting two days for all of us, but there has been a lot of hard work involved.”

    That hard work netted Linehan’s first draft class 10 players in total, five on each side of the ball. Along the way, the Rams made three trades and filled some important needs in areas that had been lacking in depth, talent or both.

    While Linehan has had the opportunity to work on drafts with Miami and Minnesota, this year was a whole new task for him. Linehan said the Rams’ approach was similar to what he did in his previous stops, but everything went off without a hitch.

    The team stacked the board by rating players in groups. Some were considered blue chippers; others were given grades according to which day they would go and which round they would go.

    At the end of the day, Linehan and Co. were quite accurate in their assessment of the way the draft would fall. That method enabled the Rams to grab the top players on their board while still filling in needs. In other words, their needs met the value of many of their picks.

    “In a couple situations we took best player, and you would like to say, well, this is where we need a guard or maybe a future center,” Linehan said. “We’ll take him here, but the best player, that is not how it stacks. I think that is where you make mistakes when you pass on a player and go back and take a need. We stuck with it. Time will tell how that works out for us.”

    One of those needs was taken care of in short order. With a laundry list of injuries affecting the secondary the past few years, cornerback was a major need. The Rams used their first-round pick to grab one of their highest-rated players in Clemson cornerback Tye Hill.

    Hill instantly creates competition at cornerback and will be in the mix for a starting spot along with Jerametrius Butler, Travis Fisher, Fakhir Brown and Ron Bartell.

    After handling one defensive need, Linehan and the Rams turned their attention to a spot that has needed help for some time in tight end. St. Louis used the second choice on Colorado’s Joe Klopfenstein and traded up in the third round to grab USC’s Dominique Byrd.

    The Rams then traded Brandon Manumaleuna to San Diego for a fourth round choice to finalize the tight end makeover. While Klopfenstein can move around and do different things, Byrd will complement him as an in line blocker and pass catcher over the middle.

    While that position was clearly heavily addressed, the Rams could still use an experienced tight end with solid run blocking ability.

    “I think we still need to address that,” Linehan said. “That’s an area that obviously by making the trade with Brandon we have to keep looking into the answer to that. I think that’s something we have to continue to try to address and improve on. Obviously we think these guys can block, but they are pretty untested. That’s an area we have to address and if we don’t have that guy here, there is probably a move or two that can be made before the start of the season.”

    Another serious area of need was filled with the team’s first third-round choice, the one acquired from Denver to move down in the first round. The Rams grabbed LSU’s Claude Wroten, a talented defensive tackle who slipped some because of some off the field issues.

    After flirting with taking Florida State’s Brodrick Bunkley in the first round, the Rams grabbed a first-round talent in Wroten in the third. Adding Wroten to a rotation that includes Jimmy Kennedy and La’Roi Glover should give the Rams a solid pass rush.

    Still, there could be some help required at nose, help that the Rams have considered addressing by signing free agents Jason Fisk or Grady Jackson.

    “We haven’t closed the door on anything,” Linehan said. “That doesn’t necessarily affect it. Wroten gives us depth at the tackle spot. He’s probably more of a three technique so we are still looking to add some bulk in that nose guard position.”

    Stanford safety/linebacker Jon Alston is a hybrid player that should be able to contribute on special teams right away. He was the team’s second pick in the third round. The Rams also added Northwestern linebacker Tim McGarigle in the seventh round and Virginia quarterback Marques Hagans in the fifth round to help on special teams.

    Hagans is particularly interesting as a possible option for punter returner/all purpose player.

    “We took the guy we targeted as probably the best guy at that particular skill,” Linehan said. “Even though it’s a projection, it’s not really if you watch the guy with the ball in his hands and you have been able to evaluate him doing that. We really think he is a great fit for that. The more you can do the better. This guy, wide receiver, running back, emergency DB, whatever it is, we know he is going to help us by having the ball in his hands whenever people kick to him. Then we find ways to use him after that. That’s a better way to approach it as opposed to a guy that all he did was return.”

    The trade for Manumaleuna that returned a fourth-round choice to St. Louis, netted the team another player at a position of need. The Rams promptly used that choice on Indiana defensive end Victor Adeyanju, a big end with plenty of upside.

    Adeyanju instantly becomes one of the top ends in the rotation behind Anthony Hargrove and Leonard Little. Hargrove had a strong minicamp according to Linehan, who expects Adeyanju to complement Hargrove immediately.

    “I think we have addressed that and gotten better by adding a player that has something maybe we don’t have and that’s a guy that really fits the characteristics of that end spot so we have a guy that has played a bit and has shown that he has a big upside and we drafted a guy we think can fill in if we are having problems with that spot,” Linehan said. “We are a lot better off today than we were when we started the day.”

    With two compensatory picks in the seventh round, the Rams decided to address another glaring need by grabbing guards Mark Setterstrom from Minnesota and Tony Palmer of Missouri.

    That duo should increase the competition on an aging interior line.

    “We wanted to add some youth in the interior of our offensive line because we are getting older in there, and it’s reality,” Linehan said. “It will give us a chance to look at and evaluate some young players who we think have a bright future.”

    It’s too early to know exactly how any draft class will pan out, but with his first draft in the books, Linehan was relieved to be done.

    “You evaluate your drafts every year, and you know how you’re evaluated,” Linehan said. “It’s like you’re evaluating a coach whether they pan out or they don’t, (based on) whether you win or lose. That is the ultimate evaluation of these guys, but I certainly think we were able to address a lot of needs along the way.


  2. #2
    RamsFan4ever's Avatar
    RamsFan4ever is offline Registered User
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    Re: Linehan Happy With First Draft

    he better be happy cuz look at all the people we got....... c ya Manu.!

  3. #3
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    Re: Linehan Happy With First Draft

    yeah, good luck and good bye Manu, and Hello Byrd and Frankenstein!!!


    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

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    Re: Linehan Happy With First Draft

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Wagoner

    “In a couple situations we took best player, and you would like to say, well, this is where we need a guard or maybe a future center,” Linehan said. “We’ll take him here, but the best player, that is not how it stacks. I think that is where you make mistakes when you pass on a player and go back and take a need. We stuck with it. Time will tell how that works out for us.”

    A draft based on best available talent, and not a particular need?


    “You evaluate your drafts every year, and you know how you’re evaluated,” Linehan said. “It’s like you’re evaluating a coach whether they pan out or they don’t, (based on) whether you win or lose. That is the ultimate evaluation of these guys, but I certainly think we were able to address a lot of needs along the way.

    I'll be curious to hear a follow-up to this conversation next year. Was it the right approach but the wrong scouting department personnel making contributions?

    Was it just injury and bad luck that turned a pick into a loser? What lessons does he learn? Time will tell ...

  5. #5
    bigredman Guest

    Re: Linehan Happy With First Draft

    The proof in the pudding will be this coming preseason when we get to see the new schemes and players. It will be very interesting....I can't wait!

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