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Thread: PD: Rams don't fill many of their needs

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    PD: Rams don't fill many of their needs

    Rams don't fill many of their needs
    BY JIM THOMAS • Posted: Sunday, May 1, 2011 9:30 am

    In no particular order, the Rams' biggest needs entering the 2011 draft seemed to be speedy wide receiver; weakside linebacker, defensive tackle, safety, offensive guard, backup running back and third (or nickel) cornerback.

    The Rams left the three-day draft with only one of those needs addressed in the first six rounds: safety Jermale Hines of Ohio State, picked in the fifth round.

    Yes, the Rams added two wide receivers in Boise State's Austin Pettis (third round) and Hawaii's Greg Salas (fourth round), but both are bigger receivers who run in the 4.55- to 4.6-second range in the 40-yard dash, not the kind who in theory stretch defenses and necessarily keep that eighth defender out of the box.

    With new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels' fingerprints all over Rounds 2 and 3 of the draft, the Rams now have wide receivers and tight ends stacked up on the roster like planes on a busy airport runway.

    Second-round tight end Lance Kendricks of Wisconsin joins Michael Hoomanawanui, Billy Bajema and Fendi Onobun under contract.

    Daniel Fells?

    Depending on the exact free agency rules, Fells is either a restricted or unrestricted free agent. (The Rams tendered him as a restricted free agent at the beginning of March, before the lockout.) Last year, when McDaniels was head coach in Denver, the Broncos expressed at least some interest in signing Fells as a restricted free agent according to league sources. But whether Fells, Bajema or Onobun is odd man out in St. Louis remains to be seen.

    At wide receiver, the Rams now have Danario Alexander, Danny Amendola, Donnie Avery, Dominique Curry, Brandon Gibson and Mardy Gilyard under contract. Laurent Robinson has been tendered as a restricted free agent. The Rams still have every intention of re-signing Mark Clayton, and now Pettis and Salas are added to the mix. That makes 10 wideouts. At most, the Rams will keep six.

    So eventually somebody has to go — both at tight end and wide receiver — which should make for some interesting competition in training camp.

    "Which is a good thing," coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "You hit the nail on the head. We've said this before. That one of the goals was to create competition in as many spots as we could. I think that just makes everybody elevate their game."

    For a few seasons, Devaney has talked about building a roster the right way, step by step. But it's clear the template has changed now that McDaniels is running the offense. Some bricks in the past foundation — Avery? Gilyard? Robinson? — might be tossed out.

    The obvious conclusion from this draft is that the offense is being tilted to tight ends — as is the case in New England, where McDaniels worked before his ill-fated tenure as Denver's head coach. It's equally obvious the Rams are leaning toward bigger receivers in Pettis (6-feet-3, 209 pounds) and Salas (6-1, 210).

    But where is the burner?

    Devaney made the point that there's more than one way to beat a defense. You can put stress on a defense in several ways, more ways than just stretching it with deep speed. And if nothing else, Kendricks, Pettis and Salas are sure-handed. On paper, at least, there doesn't figure to be many dropped passes among them.

    After opening Day 3 of the draft Saturday by taking Salas, the Rams went for defense the rest of the way. So amazingly, they went through the draft without taking a running back, even though they had no less than a half dozen of them in for pre-draft visits two weeks ago.

    "We never really said we have to (draft a back)," Devaney said. "If it happened, it happened. We were probably close a couple times. We didn't force it and reach for this guy because we had to have a running back. There were running backs we were thinking of taking, and if they went before our next pick came up, we didn't react by saying, 'We lost a back, now we've got to drop down in value in this round. Take a back no matter what, even if he doesn't warrant going there.'

    "So it didn't work out."

    With free agency still on hold because of the lockout, the Rams have only two running backs under contract behind Pro Bowler Steven Jackson: Keith Toston and Chauncey Washington.

    So the Rams stuck to their board even if it meant not drafting a running back, offensive guard or defensive tackle. The Rams did take an outside linebacker in Jabara Williams, of Stephen F. Austin, but not until Round 7. Similarly, they didn't take a cornerback until Round 7 when they selected Baylor's Mikail Baker, a converted wide receiver who missed most of two season in college because of collarbone (2007) and knee (2009) injuries.

    The Rams did come out of the draft with two safety prospects, adding yet another seventh-rounder in Oklahoma's Jonathan Nelson two rounds after taking Ohio State's Hines. The Rams picked up an extra seventh-rounder by trading down 13 spots in the fifth round with Atlanta.

    "That's interesting — we've got two different types of safeties," Devaney said. "The Ohio State kid and this kid — totally different kind of styles."

    Hines projects more as a strong safety, playing in the box and defending the run. Nelson, a converted corner, has good range and projects as a free safety.

    As for all the unfilled needs ...

    "We're not kicking off on Sunday," Devaney said. "We've got a while to go. We know the areas that we still have to fill, and there's ways to go about that."


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    Re: PD: Rams don't fill many of their needs

    "The obvious conclusion from this draft is that the offense is being tilted to tight ends "

    I don't know if that is really the case. The article say's that the Rams will keep 6 WR's at most, which is an understandable logic and the most probable case. But, what if they drafted a TE in the second because Josh McD Does NOT like the TE's currently on the roster. I'm making a prediction that the Rams only go with two, maybe three TE's and keep a extra WR.

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    Re: PD: Rams don't fill many of their needs

    A few thoughts...

    1. I don't agree that the Rams needed a "speedy" WR. Assuming they return to health/stay healthy, Donnie Avery and Danario Alexander are both "speedy" WRs. What the Rams need are EFFECTIVE WRs. Let's give Pettis and Salas a chance to show they can be effective.

    2. I don't know that DT is such a monumental need area. Last year, using Gary Gibson, Clifton Ryan (before his migraine issue) and Darrell Scott, along with Fred Robbins, the run defense did a decent job. I'm not saying an upgrade wouldn't be great (Barry Cofield, please!), but I don't see DT as a dire need. Don't forget, with Robert Quinn on board, the Rams can move 280 lb. James Hall over to the DT spot in many situations.
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    Re: PD: Rams don't fill many of their needs

    I had a feeling by passing on guys like Austin and Paea, Spags has a pretty good feeling he'll get his guy Cofield.

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    Re: PD: Rams don't fill many of their needs

    Still have the free agency, couldn't fill up the holes with just our draft can we? I have a feeling they will go for undrafted guys.

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    Re: PD: Rams don't fill many of their needs

    The Rams need a number one receiver, not a "speedy" receiver, I feel Pettis and Salas will add a nice dimension to the offense. How many true "speed" guys are on the Patriots, Colts, and Chargers (until V Jax came back)?

    As been stated elsewhere, there will be plenty of fa options at running back.

    I think they like Greco more than they let on last year, I know it makes no sense then for him to be deactivated the last few weeks, but I think injuries forced us to keep another tackle. Another thing, perhaps an offensive line spot was taken because not enough of our TE and WR could play special teams- something that Salas, Kendricks, and Pettis should excel at, not to mention our seventh rounders.

    I too believe Spags feels like he can get his guy Cofeild in fa.

    I think our corners were just fine before the draft; bartell, fletcher, murphy, and king.

    Finally, I trust in Spag's knowledge of his defense, if he doesn't feel like a high pick needs to be used on an OLB then so be it.

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    Re: PD: Rams don't fill many of their needs

    I think the Rams more than anything else zeroing in on heady WR play to go with are smart 2nd year QB. I think Sam proved last year that he can build a good rapport with certain players given the chance.(Clayton, TE M.Hoom........., Amendola)
    Injuries and inexperience killed the offense last year, aswell as dropped passes. Pettis and Salas are super sure handed, intelligent and good route runners. Similar to Amendola only bigger and stronger. Kendricks will be used more like a H-B than a prototypical TE.
    These picks should help Bradford immensely even though there not the fastest WR's taken. Avery and Alexander are plenty fast enough if we want to go that route in games. We needed some reliability at TE and WR and we got it in spades.
    In free agency Im hoping for our interior run game to get a boost with a decent signing at guard?

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    Re: PD: Rams don't fill many of their needs

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    Rams don't fill many of their needs
    BY JIM THOMAS • Posted: Sunday, May 1, 2011 9:30 am

    In no particular order, the Rams' biggest needs entering the 2011 draft seemed to be speedy wide receiver;

    ...AAAAAAAANNNNNNND that's where I stopped reading.
    TheBritishRam and sosa39rams like this.

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