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    Nicks Mailbag (4.18.06)

    Tuesday, April 18, 2006

    Jarvis Robinson, Indianola, Miss.: With the rams recent moves in free agency & the draft two weeks away, what is the most pressing need for the rams? There are so many projections as to who the rams will take with the 11th pick, what position do you think the rams will go after in the first, 2nd, and 3rd rounds?

    NW: Clearly, the Rams needs are many. Unlike last year, when it was pretty clear that right tackle was going to be the top priority with safety and cornerback falling in behind, this year has no clear cut answer to that question. Obviously, though, the needs are as follows: defensive back, linebacker, defensive line, tight end, interior offensive line. I would say at this point that cornerback and safety have to be the top needs with a strong side linebacker and defensive tackle close behind. In the first three rounds, I suspect the Rams will come out of the first day with some combination of four spots: defensive back, linebacker, defensive tackle and tight end.

    Steve Moran, Alton, Ill.: If the Rams have a legitimate chance to make the playoffs this year, wouldn’t it make more sense to draft a top defensive player, specifically someone who could help stop the run, and draft a quarterback like Alabama’s Brodie Croyle in a later round?

    NW: Without question, that would certainly make the most sense for a team in need of as many defensive playmakers as possible. However, sometimes things happen in a way that are too good to pass on. For instance, if a top offensive star like D'Brickashaw Ferguson or Vince Young somehow fell to No. 11, it would be almost impossible to pass on adding that kind of talent to the picture. As far as drafting a guy like Croyle, I don't think the talk about getting a quarterback in the first round indicates any type of need for a quarterback for the Rams. In fact, they would be perfectly happy to go into training camp with the four signal callers they have. The reason people are discussing Jay Cutler and Vince Young as possibilities for the Rams are based on the value those players would have in relation to where the Rams pick. Should St. Louis go in a different direction, it wouldn't be a surprise if it didn't take a quarterback until much later in the draft, if at all.

    Derek Atkinson, Atlanta: What should we expect from this up-coming mini-camp? Exactly how much of Linehan’s offense and Haslett’s defense will we get to see (or in the fans case read about) on the football field? How much time will the players spend in meetings versus the time they’ll spend sweating it out under the St. Louis sun?

    NW: Derek, I wish I could answer your question with absolute certainty, but until later in the week, I don't have a great answer for you. With a new coaching staff in place, nobody knows for sure how everything is going to work. Coach Linehan has never done this before, so even he could still be working out the details for how this first mini-camp will go. I can say this, though. This mini-camp is considered voluntary, though voluntary is a fluid term. This mini-camp is only happening because the Rams are allowed an extra one after the hiring of a new coaching staff. I don't expect much in the way of pounding in the new offense and defense, but there will likely be some basics gone over. Rather, this mini-camp will likely be an opportunity for the team to be together, begin building chemistry and establish a starting point for the next two mini-camps.

    Matt Summers, Gainesville, Fla.: You've reported that Florida State defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley is a possibility for the Rams in the first round. Is this because they anticipate Oregon defensive tackle Haloti Ngata already being off the board, or do the Rams actually prefer Bunkley over Ngata for their defensive scheme? If so, why?

    NW: There are plenty of teams that prefer Bunkley to Ngata and the reason is the same across the board. I actually believe that Bunkley will go off the board before Ngata and here's why. While Ngata is clearly a massive tackle with the ability to stop the run, he is basically a two down player. He is better against the run than Bunkley, but he is limited in his ability to get up the field and get to the quarterback. Bunkley has a better motor, is in better physical condition and can stay on the field in almost any situation. For the Rams and what defensive coordinator Jim Haslett is expected to do, that type of player would make more sense because of the attacking attitude that is supposed to be instilled. That's not to discount Ngata, whom I believe is still an option at No. 11, it just speaks more to the kind of player Bunkley is and the power of his recent workouts.

    Anthony Pepe, St. Louis: How does Brian Howard figure into the DT plans for this upcoming season?

    NW: It's hard to get a grasp on how he will fit into the plans for a couple of reasons. First, we don't know who else will be brought in to play tackle in the draft or even in the final wave of free agenct. Second, Howard was a pet project for former line coach Bill Kollar and he might not necessarily fit that bill for coach Brian Baker. Still, with Tyoka Jackson, Ryan Pickett and Damione Lewis gone, there is a chance there for Howard to earn a shot at not only making the roster again, but contributing on a more consistent basis. It's safe to assume the Rams will come out of the draft with at least one defensive tackle. That would likely put Howard competing with Jeremy Calahan for the final tackle spot during camp.

    Taylor Bachmeier, Portland: I was looking at a mock draft on nfl.com/draft and noticed that they had, or should I say Pat Kirwan, had A.J. Hawk falling out of the top ten and to the Rams. This would obviously be one of the best situations you could dream of and would be a major upgrade at linebacker. In the draft he had the Packers selecting Haloti Ngata and no other team picking up Hawk. Is there a realistic chance that this could happen? Could the Rams be this lucky?

    NW: If this scenario happens, every member of the Rams' scouting and coaching staff should immediately go out and buy a lottery ticket. In my mind, there is absolutely no chance of this happening. I believe Hawk is one of the top four or five players in the draft. Should he slide past Green Bay, San Francisco would probably jump all over him. If the ***** somehow passed, the Raiders would probably grab him. Even if he somehow fell past those teams, if that slide went that big, some team would move up to take him. If that did happen, the Rams would be one team interested in sliding up a few spots to take Hawk.

    Scott Kaufman, Los Angeles: What is your assesment of the current ram offensive line? I know we started some rookies last year, but do you see a major improvement in this group that I thought has underachieved the past couple of seasons?

    NW: I actually received a couple of emails along these lines this week, including one that expressed disappointment in Orlando Pace. Well, I wholeheartedly disagree with the anti-Pace sentiment. I will say this, I believe the Rams, by the end of the year, could have the best tackle combination in football. Pace is still dominant (ask Dwight Freeney if you don't think so) and Barron is on his way to becoming a Pro Bowl performer. That said, there has to be concern about the interior line. I believe Adam Timmerman will be better this year than last because he will actually be able to work out this offseason, but he isn't getting any younger and is aware that the end is getting close. The same goes for Andy McCollum. Claude Terrell showed promise, but he needs to get in better shape to have the type of success that will make him a starter in this league. Richie Incognito is in better shape, but he is still an unknown. There are plenty of questions that will have to be answered before we can determine what this line will be like. But, if Incognito can make an impact and be the player many think he could be, this line will be on its way to being one of the better lines in the league.

    Seth Ovanespour, Glendale, Calif.: What's going on with Corey Ivy? Is he still on the team? I personally think he was one of our top defenders next to Pisa and Little. I hope he's coming back. Can you tell me anything?

    NW: Corey Ivy signed a three-year free agent contract with the Baltimore Ravens.

    RamsFan16

  2. #2
    RamsFan4ever's Avatar
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    Re: Nicks Mailbag (4.18.06)

    good luck Corey Ivy... he's cool he did good in the 1st quarter of the colts game by bringing pressure by blitzing

  3. #3
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    Re: Nicks Mailbag (4.18.06)

    Brodie Croyle is the one Bama player who I hope we dont draft. :-)
    The Roman and The Prince. Playmakers until the end.


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    Re: Nicks Mailbag (4.18.06)

    lol and your a Bama fan right?

  5. #5
    RamJackson39's Avatar
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    Re: Nicks Mailbag (4.18.06)

    lol and your a Bama fan right?
    Crimson and White for life
    The Roman and The Prince. Playmakers until the end.


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