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    Nickís Mailbag ĖFriday, February 22, 2008

    Nick --

    There has been some discussion of the Rams possibly selecting Darren McFadden at the No. 2 spot. What is your take on this? I can't imagine the Rams drafting McFadden as the team already has a Pro Bowl running back in Steven Jackson.

    NW: Cal , I think the chances of the Rams taking McFadden are very slim. He would have to have some magical workout numbers, blow them away in interviews and prove that heís unequivocally the best player in the draft. THEN, he would have to fall to the second pick in the draft. The Rams have too many needs on the offensive and defensive lines and the talent at those spots is just as good as anything McFadden brings to the table. And, most important, the Rams believe they have one of the three best running backs in the league. Expect long term contract discussions with Jackson to heat up after the draft.

    Del DeVries

    Thank you for your excellent coverage.

    I've addressed this in the Rams forum at the PD without much feedback. I'd like your take.

    I do not rate the Rams need for a high draft pick at WR who can return kicks that pressing with their other needs.

    I'd like to see if Stanley is the next Az Hakim. Does he have a chance?

    Also with WR Williams being a high pick in 07 can he step in to replace Bruce at # 2?

    I'd like to see your take?

    For me it is:

    # 1 Holt

    # 2A Williams

    # 2B Bruce

    # 3 Bennett

    # 4 Stanley

    # 5 Hagans or Looker winner of a camp battle.

    How do you stack them?

    NW: Iím assuming youíre referring to Brandon Williams, whom the Rams signed after his release in San Francisco during the season. With that in mind, I donít see any way he is this teamís No. 2 receiver next season. He showed some spark as a returner, but he is unproven as a receiver and more likely to stick around in a return role. Also, he will have plenty of competition to land a roster spot considering the plethora of receiver/returner types on the roster. Consider the possibilities for that battle with Dante Hall, Marques Hagans, Derek Stanley and Williams. Those guys are pretty redundant and thereís no chance all of them are on the active roster when the 2008 season begins. If Iím stacking the receivers currently on the roster, not much has changed. Holt and Bruce remain your top two with Bennett the three. After that, I want to see a competition. I think Looker remains because of special teams and heís a solid receiver when given the chance. Stanley is really intriguing and showed some bite as a returner late in the season. Donít sleep on Stanley . All of that said, I fully expect the Rams to go after a speedy receiver capable of stretching the field whether in free agency or the draft. It doesnít mean it will be a guy who returns kicks as well. It just means they need someone who can open things up for Bruce and Holt to work their famous dig routes, deep ins and quick slants.

    Luke Heinrichs

    Letís say that Chris Long goes first, do you think they will pick Jake Long or Glenn Dorsey?

    NW: I think thereís a very real chance the situation you propose here will present itself come draft day. Chris Long to Miami makes a lot of sense so long as Parcells and Miami have the first pick. From what I can gather talking to people close to the situation, the Rams are high on Dorsey. I think he would be the most likely if it came down to it. In fact, Iím not so sure the Rams donít rate Dorsey higher even than Chris Long. As for Jake Long, he still has some things to prove but if he can convince the Rams and others he can play left tackle in the NFL, he very well could move into the conversation. But the Rams and Billy Devaney have made it clear they want an impact, play right away guy with the second pick. Thereís no guarantee Jake Long starts from day one though he would get a shot. Remember, itís the season of misinformation so anything is possible, but the Ramsí interest in Dorsey is very real.

    Harlan Bailey


    I was reading about a couple lesser known quarterbacks and was wondering if any of these guys might be interesting to the Rams later in the draft. Specifically, what do you know about Josh Johnson from San Diego and Kevin O'Connell from San Diego State and would these guys be possible choices for the Rams late in the draft as developmental third QBs?

    NW: Harlan, I am not terribly familiar with OíConnell so I canít really comment on him, but I have recently been exposed some to Johnson. And I think he would be a great fit as a guy the Rams could bring in and develop. Johnson is a terrific athlete, accurate and good arm strength. Heís the kind of guy capable of turning into a top of the line quarterback. He has all of the raw tools but needs seasoning and needs to prove himself against good competition. If heís around in the fourth or fifth round, he would make plenty of sense.

    Richard Bellding

    Who are some of the guys that you are hearing about that are supposed to impress at the combine this week? Obviously a lot of us know about a number of big name guys, but who stands to gain the most from impressive workouts this week?

    NW: Richard, howís your wild and crazy brother Rod doing these days? Any crazy float trips? The combine workouts are set to begin on Saturday and it seems even the top talent has something to prove. Unlike years past, it seems like the top talent is going to do the entire workout. There are a lot of guys with something to prove and it all starts at the top. Jake Long and Chris Long have vowed to do the workout and with the top pick position up for grabs, they have the most to gain from a big workout. As for the lesser known guys, there are some that could really boost their stock. A running back like Chris Johnson from East Carolina is a sleeper as it is, but when scouts get to see him run, he has a great chance to land in the upper two or three rounds of the draft. I would also say any receiver running a great time in the 40-yard dash has a great opportunity to move up. Fact is, nobody knows who the top receivers are right now and a great number in the 40 would go a long way in separating the group. I expect a big week from Michigan ís Mario Manningham and Texas í Limas Sweed that could vault them into the end of the first round.

    John Koffman


    What's the deal with offensive linemen and huge elaborate arm tattoos? I've seen pictures of Jake Long and he has a big tattoo and obviously our own guys like Brett Romberg and Richie Incognito have them.

    NW: I can only take a stab at answering your question, John, but considering the size of their arms maybe itís because the palette is so big they figure they might as well use it. If youíre saying you donít like the tats, Iíll go ahead and step aside so you can be the one to tell them.

    Jim Burton

    Will Scott Linehan be addressing the various ways the Rams can work to help prevent strains and sprains type injuries going into next season?

    NW: Jim, good question. Linehan has already discussed some of this at length. The fact of the matter is that most of the injuries the Rams had last season were matters of sheer bad luck and not from poor training. Assistant strength and conditioning coach Brad Roll departed for the head job in Oakland , but the Rams donít believe the training methods were the reason for the injuries. I would argue that their assessment is correct. Drew Bennett had his share of problems with strains and such, but nobody else really dealt with that on a regular basis. Thatís not a bad batting average. The Rams simply need better luck when it comes to injuries next year.

    Randy McMillon

    When it comes to the draft what area has more bearing the Senior Bowl or the Scouting Combine?

    NW: Iím going to try to not straddle the fence on this but the fact is that both have their advantages and disadvantages. If I had to choose one, Iíd say the combine is better overall, simply because of the fact that ALL of the top talent attends the combine. The Senior Bowl is just seniors and even that doesnít necessarily include the best seniors in the class. The one advantage the Senior Bowl has over the combine, though, is that it includes full out, padded practices. Scouts and coaches get an up close look at how those players perform in full pads. The combine is a meat market and tests measurables but not necessarily football skills.

    Brandon Pool

    Nick, wouldnít you think that it would be better for the Rams financially to trade down in the draft since we are only around 6 million under the cap? And since the Rams needs are all in both Off and Def lines wouldnít it make since to trade down get additional picks and still get a guy like Dorsey, Ellis and either J. long or C. long?

    NW: Brandon , you bring up an interesting point. I have the Rams with about $7 million in cap space but thatís picking nits. The fact is the Rams could definitely use some additional wiggle room to operate entering free agency. How that affects the draft will be interesting. The Rams can do some things with contracts and cuts long before the draft to free cap space entering free agency. Should they do that, theyíll have long since known what they can afford to spend on their top pick in the draft. But, to address your question, the Rams canít be overly concerned with how much theyíre going to spend on signing draft picks. This team needs top line, immediate impact players. They have to hit a home run with their first pick, there are no other options. And the difference between what you pay the No. 2 and the No. 6 pick isnít big enough unless you think youíre getting a player of the same caliber. I fully expect the Rams to investigate all options, including a trade. But if they make a trade, itís because they think it improves their standing as a team, not to save money.

    Ryan Miller

    Nick, if Chris Long goes number one to Miami and you had your choice between Glenn Dorsey or Sedrick Ellis, who would you choose for the Rams and why? Is there someone else you would consider in that spot?

    NW: The Ellis/Dorsey debate is being slightly blown out of proportion. Yes, they are the top two defensive tackles. Yes, they are both top flight guys (I personally think they are two of the four best players in the draft). But they are very different players in the way they approach and play the game. Dorsey is the type of guy who can penetrate quickly, hit a block, get off the block, get up the field and make a play. Ellis is pretty good sideline to sideline and is strong at the point of attack. Some scouts think Ellis would be best served to play the Anthony McFarland type role in a defense like Indianapolis or Tampa Bay . Others think he could be a nose tackle. For the Rams, I believe Dorsey is the better fit. But I donít think Ellis is a bad fit by any means. As for someone else, Iím not sure I would consider anyone else. Selfishly I think the Rams must come out of the draft with one of those three defensive linemen: Chris Long, Dorsey or Ellis. Of course, my opinion doesnít matter on that, but thatís what I believe.

    Ruben Campos


    Thanks for taking my question. If the Rams' take Jake Long at 2, do you see him playing guard or taking one of the tackle spots? If he takes Barron's spot, will they try to trade Barron or use him as a no. 3 tackle and lose him to free agency the following year?

    NW: I think if Jake Long is the pick then he will start one way or another in 2008. My guess is he would end up at guard, but I think he would be given every opportunity to win the right tackle job. Of course, we wonít know Orlando Paceís state of readiness for a while so itís possible Barron and Long would be the starters. Regardless, the Rams have no interest in drafting a player at No. 2 who wonít be on the field and make an impact in year one.

    Jay Sheffner

    Nick being a huge Rams fan, I wonder who you think is worthy of our #2 pick I am really high on either one of the Long boys, but projections have us picking Dorsey who I am not sure about yet even though was a great player. Also what have you seen from Adrian Arrington out of Michigan he was superb against Florida in the bowl game and think he could be a great late round steal for our great but getting older receiving corp. He is also from my town of Cedar Rapids , Iowa , Home of Kurt Warner.

    NW: I think there are four players a notch above the rest in this draft. To me, those players are Chris Long, Dorsey, Ellis and McFadden. Thatís my humble opinion. Mel Kiper Jr. says itís a six person draft, the four mentioned above plus Matt Ryan and Jake Long. My personal preference is Chris Long, but Iím told the Rams might not be as high on him as others. I do know thereís a strong sentiment for Dorsey, but a lot can change between now and April.

  2. #2
    mdram Guest

    Re: Nickís Mailbag ĖFriday, February 22, 2008

    My question would be if they take dorsey would they move carrick back to defensive end.
    I still think with just hall and little that we are still weak at de

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