Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Nickís Mailbag Ė March 5, 2008
As you all know, itís been a hectic time with free agency starting and Iíve been working on a big feature story that will be here at stlouisrams.com in a few days. Be sure to check back for that. For now, letís clear out the mailbag.
Would you agree with the 1st round looking like a Glenn Dorsey/Chris Long pick?
And the 2nd round as WR, CB, SS or OL with the probable pick being a WR?
And the 3rd round as SS or OL with someone like a Kory Lichtensteiger (OL) or Tom Zbikowski (SS)?
Then filling in with the B.A.P. (Best Available Player)?
NW: I think itís Ďway too early to even know for sure what will happen with the first pick let alone the rest of the draft. There are still moves to be made in free agency and that will help more clearly define what will happen in the draft. With Jacob Bell on board, offensive line isnít quite as much of a need as before though adding a tackle and a center will be priorities. Dorsey and Long are both highly thought of by the Rams but there are plenty of others still in play. I would think the Rams would prefer to go defense with that first pick, but I also think theyíd love the chance to move down, add picks and still grab a top defender like Sedrick Ellis or Vernon Gholston.
How will the Rams address their receiving needs with Isaac Bruce gone and with such great needs on the "O" line?
NW: There just isnít much out there in terms of free agent wide outs, so I think that all avenues will have to be explored to find help at the position. It will be a priority in the draft if the Rams canít add one through free agency or trade, but itís a shallow class at the position both in the draft and on the free agent market. Obviously, the Bell signing is an immediate help (and a move I really like, personally) but there is work to be done on the line still. A veteran center and another tackle would be helpful.
Is Orlando Pace going to be traded, or will draft picks be able to complement Orlando on the front line?
NW: Thereís no chance Pace will be traded. You donít make an area of need better by dumping your future Hall of Famer even though heís coming off another serious injury. Bell will line up next to him at left guard, but I donít think that necessarily precludes the Rams from bolstering further in the draft. I would be willing to bet at least one of the first three picks is used on a lineman and I think the possibility of taking Jake Long in the first round is still a very real possibility.
With last yearís track record of unstable offensive line production, do you think the Rams will lean toward an anchor in Jake Long to protect all that money they have invested in the backfield?
NW: As I just wrote above, I think Long is still in play here. Plenty of people in the organization believe he would play right guard for a couple of years before moving to tackle on a permanent basis. A line of Pace, Bell, unnamed veteran center or Incognito, Long and Barron looks pretty good on paper and really adds to the depth of the line. Plus, Long could be given a chance to compete for the right tackle spot immediately.
We're all agreed that the Rams need OL help. However, I'm not convinced that the Rams need OT help with Pace and Barron on board.
At OG, who jumps out at you? Do you think the Rams would address OG as early as Round Two?
NW: I realize this question was sent before the signing of Jacob Bell so clearly guard isnít as much of a pressing need. As it stands, you have Setterstrom, Incognito and Bell available and youngsters like Dustin Fry around.. A tackle who can start right away whether through the draft or free agency could be a priority.
If the Rams don't get Chris Long and decide to take Jake Long with the 2nd pick who do they replace? Or do they just try him at one of the guard positions?
NW: My feeling is that Jake Long would work at guard right away with the possibility he could compete for the right tackle spot. Either way, thereís a great chance heíd be in the starting lineup from day one if heís the pick.
Is Trent Green still available as a back-up QB for the Rams?
NW: He is indeed and is expected to be in St. Louis today for a visit. The Rams want to run the full battery of health tests on him to ensure that heís OK. Heís already visited New Orleans and he will be a backup no matter where he goes. The top concern, though, has to be his health considering the shots heís taken over the years.
I know we haven't seen all the results from the combine, but Gholston benched 225lbs 37 times. I know things need to pan out for this to happen so I am pushing for Dorsey at the moment, with Gholston my next choice. I just think the ceiling of these two is too high to pass on. Considering Dorsey might be safer letís say we select him at the 2 spot. Quinton Groves has an outside chance at reaching the 2nd round; if he falls there we have to take this guy. Now our D-Line is solidified, for the long term, and we can turn our attention to the o-line in the next two rounds, while getting a WR, LB (could be Groves), a QB, and finally a safety to challenge Chavous. Your thoughts?
NW: I think the Rams do like Gholston and how could you not based on his workouts at the Combine and the fact that he is built like a prototype pass rusher. However, his effort and consistency has been deemed questionable. I think the interest in Gholston would jump considerably if the Rams were able to trade down a few spots. At one time, I believe the Rams considered Dorsey the best defender in the draft, but Iím getting the feeling those opinions might be changing. I like the idea of Groves as an edge rusher in round 2, but the need at receiver is pretty great right now and finding an offensive tackle is also a priority.
How impressive is Jake Long and what do you think the chances are of the Rams picking him with their #1?
NW: I think Long really solidified himself as the top tackle in the draft at the combine and, despite some random rumors; he is just that on the Rams board. Again, I think the chances of taking Jake Long are still real despite the signing of Jacob Bell. The odds might not be as good as before, but Longís long term potential at tackle and immediate contributions at guard could be enough to land him at No. 2. Also, while I think that Miami will go with Chris Long of Virginia, I think thereís a better chance than people realize that the Dolphins will grab Jake Long with the top pick.
Do you think the rams will trade their 1st pick to acquire more draft picks? Or do you think they will go the safe route in selecting either of the Longs?
NW: I think the Rams would probably prefer to trade back, pick up some extra picks and still grab a top defensive player. That means they likely wouldnít want to move back any further than six or seven at the most. If Chris Long is still on the board, the Rams would have to think long and hard about grabbing him considering the need for help at defensive end. If I had to handicap it now, Iíd say (and this is just my opinion) that the choices at No. 2 would come down to C. Long, J. Long and G. Dorsey. Should they move down, youíre looking at potentially Gholston or S. Ellis.
Thanks for the questions and keep them coming. Weíll be back next week for more mailbag.