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    Re: OK, lets begin talking about the future of the Rams

    I'm talking about someone that is known throughout the NFL as a player. Bell was borderline and Bennett wasn't close. I see your point, it's noted and retained for the record.


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    Re: OK, lets begin talking about the future of the Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by Irishrover40 View Post
    Ok, citizens of Rams Nation let's thoroughly talk about what we have, and where we go from here.

    1) the 2008 Rams squad: Who stays, who is wanted back(and resigned) and who goes?
    Let's begin by looking at our current depth chart, assuming that everyone is fit and healthy:

    LT Pace, Goldberg
    LG Bell
    C Romberg, Leckey
    RG Incognito, Setterstrom, Schuening
    RT Barron, Greco
    TE McMichael, Klopfenstein, Becht
    QB Bulger, Green, Berlin
    RB Jackson, Darby, Minor
    FB ?
    WR Holt, Bennett, Avery, Burton, Looker, Stanley, Hall

    LDE Little, Adeyanju
    NT Ryan, Glover
    UT Carriker, Burton
    RDE Long, Hall
    SLB Culberson, Draft
    MLB Witherspoon, Vobora
    WLB Tinoisamoa, Chamberlain
    CB Bartell, Brown, Wade, Hill, King, Craft, Butler
    FS Atogwe, Bassey
    SS Chavous, Johnson

    K Brown
    P Jones
    LS Massey

    First things first: our Special Teams are fine as they are, so we'll let them be- Jones is the best punter in the league and Brown amongst the best kickers, although he was a tad disappointing in 2008. Massey is an unsung hero.

    To focus on the defence, we have plenty of promising youngsters who will, hopefully, benefit from Spagnuolo's expertise on this side of the ball. The likes of Long, Carriker and Hill will have a coach who can bring out their first-round potential and the other youngsters, such as King, Wade and Ryan, will also benefit from Spags' knowledge. While I'm not suggesting that our new HC will turn all of our players into Pro Bowlers, we should see serious improvement on the D. The main gaps are at MLB and SS: Witherspoon needs to be moved to SLB and Chavous is past his best and needs putting out to pasture.

    The offense is lacking in depth but our starters are very good on paper. What this unit needs is confidence; let's hope that Spags can instil some in his players. The main weaknesses are at centre and full back, while Holt may be traded and Pace isn't getting any younger. We're stuck with Bulger and Bennett for the immediate future, purely due to the size of their contracts.

    Our strategy must be to strengthen the starting eleven on both sides of the ball. This seems like an obvious statement but it's no use just concentrating on the offensive line, for example, and letting the linebackers go to pot.

    I'd release Incognito, Hall, Chavous, Glover, Becht and Leckey... if they haven't already gone.

    2) NFL wide who is available in the free agency market?
    Given that our main areas of weakness are MLB, SS, C and FB, we need to target these areas. Many posters on this forum seem to want Albert Haynesworth, Julius Peppers or Jordan Gross as our star free agency signing this year but the first-named will cost our first-round pick if he is franchised, while Peppers wants to go to a 3-4 defence in a top team. That rules us out. Gross is more of a RT at the top level than a LT, so he wouldn't be worth the money.

    There aren't many top FBs and SSs out there in this year's free agency, while the main Cs (Matt Birk, Jeff Saturday) are getting on in years. Besides, this year's draft is an exceptional one for centres, so we should get one in the third round. Not only will this get us a younger player but it'll be much cheaper than paying for an established offensive lineman in free agency.

    Our number one target in this year's free agency should be an MLB. Ray Lewis will almost certainly end his career with the Ravens, while Mike Peterson, Eric Barton and Takeo Spikes are not getting any younger. That leaves three viable options for us. Jonathan Vilma could be the cheapest, given that he was involved in an incident with the police last week and that could affect his reputation, but I'd prefer either Karlos Dansby or Channing Crowder. Neither would come cheap, but they'd significantly improve our defence.

    If we had any money left, Terrell Suggs would make an excellent replacement for the ageing Leonard Little at defensive end. However, both OJ Atogwe and Ron Bartell will demand improved contracts, so we may not have much money left after tying down those two and securing a star linebacker.

    3) We get the 2nd pick of the first round--do we trade up & get more picks??? If not, who do we pick in round 1??? Round 2????? Round 3????? (and so on...)
    Much depends on how we fare in free agency. If we get our MLB that way, there's no point in trading down. If we fail to secure one before the draft, however, I'd advocate trading down to get either Rey Maualuga or James Laurinaitis. Aaron Curry is an outside linebacker, so he's a no-go as far as I'm concerned, althougfh many draftniks are high on him.

    I'll assume that we get our MLB via free agency and that we don't need to tradedown. I'll also assume that we lose Torry Holt to Carolina, for a fourth round pick.

    1st round: Michael Oher (LT, Mississippi)

    Many rate Andre Smith as the best Ol in this year's draft but he's overweight and his footwork isn't the best. On top of that, he may turn out to be a guard rather than a left tackle at the top level: is he worth #2 pick money? Eugene Monroe has his acolytes, but he has injury issues and isn't as dominant as Oher. I think that Oher's stock is slipping because many have jumped on the "he's a thicko from a poor background" bandwagon, but there's nothing I've read or heard to suggest that he's incapable of picking up the basics of left tackle play at NFL level. It's often forgotten (or conveniently overlooked) that Oher has spent time atboth guard and right tackle at Ole Miss, so he can fit in anywhere along the line initially. With Orlando Pace tutoring him for a year or two, Oher should develop into our next perennial Pro Bowl left tackle.

    2nd round: Patrick Chung (SS, Oregon)

    The Rams need a strong safety to complement OJ Atogwe and Chung is the type of hard hitting, tough tackling guy who could do just that. Sure, he's still raw but he can go a long way under Spags' tutelage. If he's gone by our pick (and the decision of Taylor Mays to stay at college means that Chung is now likely to be the second safety selected, after William Moore), Derek Pegues, Louis Delmas and Emanuel Cook are other safeties we could consider.

    3rd round: Jonathan Luigs (C, Arkansas)

    We need a centre: Romberg is okay but no great shakes, while Leckey was overwhelmed at the top level. While we could sign one in free agency, the top centres are getting on in years and would cost a fair bit. Fortunately, the 2009 NFL Draft is probably the deepest ever at this position. Alex Mack and Max Unger will have gone by the third round, but Jonathan Luigs would be an excellent acquisition and can start right away on our line. If he's gone, there's always Eric Wood, Antoine Caldwell and A.Q. Shipley to choose from.

    4th round (1): Juaquin Iglesias (WR, Oklahoma)

    I'm not sure that Iglesias will drop to the fourth but I'm hoping that his lack of speed and size at the combine will make him slip a bit. He's not the biggest or fastest receiver out there but he's tough, he runs great routes and he's dependable. He looks an excellent possession receiver in the making and would be a steal if we could get him. With Holt traded (in this scenario, at least), another wideout is a must: Ramses Barden and Mohammed Massaquoi are other possibilities.

    4th round (2): Hunter Cantwell (QB, Louisville)

    Cantwell was rated a lot higher a year ago but his stock has slipped after a disappointing senior year. Still, we need a young developmental QB behind Marc Bulger and the top prospects (Sanchez, Stafford, Freeman) will be long gone by the fourth round. I know that some Clan users are keen on Tom Brandstater; he'd be another option.

    5th round: Quinn Johnson (FB, LSU)

    A pure blocker at this stage, Johnson would be able to make some holes for Steven Jackson. He could also pick up a few tips to improve his all-round game if we hire Marshall Faulk as our running backs' coach....



    6th round: Brian Mandeville (TE, Northeastern)

    With Randy McMichael turning thirty years old in June and Joe Klopfenstein looking average at best, we could do with a new tight end. Mandeville is a 6'6" target man; hopefully, his unfashionable college will see him slip. Any good young TE would do with his selection.

    7th round: Sammie Lee Hill (DT, Stillman)

    A 6'4" 328lb run stuffer who could be back up at nose tackle.

    In conclusion, then, our roster for 2009 would look something like this:

    LT Pace, Oher, Barron
    LG Bell, Setterstrom
    C Luigs, Romberg
    RG Schuening, Setterstrom
    RT Oher, Barron, Greco
    TE McMichael, Mandeville
    QB Bulger, Cantwell, Berlin
    RB Jackson, Darby, Minor
    FB Johnson
    WR Bennett, Avery, Burton, Iglesias, Looker, Stanley

    LDE Little (or Suggs, if we can afford him), Adeyanju
    NT Ryan, Hill
    UT Carriker, Burton
    RDE: Long, Hall
    SLB Witherspoon, Culberson
    MLB Crowder/Dansby, Vobora
    WLB Tinoisamoa, Chamberlain
    CB Bartell, Brown, Wade, Hill, King, Craft, Butler
    FS Atogwe, Bassey
    SS Chung, Johnson

    That's my take on things, anyway!


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