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Thread: PD: Rams looking for backfield help

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    PD: Rams looking for backfield help

    Rams looking for backfield help
    BY JIM THOMAS • Posted: Saturday, January 28, 2012 12:20 am

    Here we go again on the search for backup help to Steven Jackson in the Rams' backfield. The free-agent additions of Cadillac Williams and Jerious Norwood looked good on paper last summer at the start of training camp.

    But Williams was so-so, with some notable problems on swing passes early in the season. Norwood barely played. Both are free agents this offseason and aren't expected back.

    As usual there were plenty of potential running back options on display this week at the Senior Bowl, with the headliners being Chris Polk of Washington and Doug Martin of Boise State. Both project as second- or third-round draft picks.

    There are few backs in the country, or in the history of the Pacific 12 Conference, as productive as Polk with the Huskies. He posted back-to-back seasons of 1,400-plus yards rushing, and with 4,049 career rushing yards is only the seventh rusher in Pac-12 history to top 4,000.

    At 5-10½ and 224 pounds, Polk is a strong physical inside runner. He's not going to make you miss, but he will run through arm tackles and rarely gets caught in the backfield for a loss.

    "He's so strong in the lower body," said one veteran AFC scout. "He gets a lot of yardage after contact. He breaks tackles with his legs because he's strong."

    Polk is an erect runner, meaning he takes a lot of hits. And some scouts question his speed, to which Polk takes offense.

    "I've been fast my whole life," Polk said. "It's just a matter of showing it. I think they think I'm slow because of my running style. I'm real patient. If I see a crease, I'm gonna hit it 100 mile per hour."

    There are faster backs in today's Senior Bowl game than Polk, but it's doubtful any have better hands. Although he never caught more than 31 passes in any one season at Washington, he did have four touchdown receptions in 2011.

    When it was suggested that St. Louis wouldn't be a bad spot, complementing Jackson, Polk replied: "No, it wouldn't. I'm actually going to work with him, too. I'm looking forward to making that happen."

    Jackson and Polk are represented by the same agent, so Polk will be working out with Jackson in Las Vegas later this offseason, following Jackson's South American vacation.

    Martin, meanwhile, plays bigger than his size (5-9, 219), and he's not afraid to tell you so.

    "I look at myself on film and I feel like I play 6-3," he said. "I play as a big back. I'm a powerful guy, and yes, I take pride in that, also."

    He certainly runs that way. Although he has a quick sidestep or jump-cut, one of the things scouts like best about Martin is that he hits the hole hard. No dancing around here.

    "He'll lower his shoulder," the scout said. "He's not quite as strong in the lower body as Polk, but he's another guy that can get yardage after contact. He protects the ball a little bit better (than Polk)."

    Martin also has good hands as a receiver, but not as good as Polk. And both backs will pick up blitzes; Martin was particularly impressive in pass protection drills earlier in the week in Mobile, Ala.

    Martin rushed for more than 1,200 yards in each of his last two seasons at Boise and scored 43 rushing touchdowns over his college career. Over his final two seasons, he caught 56 passes for 593 yards and four TDs.

    "Coming from one of the smaller schools, I want to show that I can play with these big boys," Martin said. "That I can be put in any system and be able to play in the games."

    Boise State showed it could play with the big dogs, small dogs, and medium dogs during Martin's career. He's part of a senior class there that posted a 50-3 won-loss record.

    Among some of the other Senior Bowl backs, Baylor's Terrance Ganaway had a disappointing practice week. He looked like a straight-line runner without explosiveness.

    Mississippi State's Vick Ballard may not be a starter at the next level but showed good hands in the passing game and a better burst than expected.

    And then there's Florida mighty mite Chris Rainey, who measures in at 5-8 and weighed 178. Raw, fast, but unpredictable, he could be one of those "Swiss army knife" types in the NFL, playing a little wide receiver, a little running back and returning kicks. From Percy Harvin to Dexter McCluster, some of those guys have worked out — and some haven't — in the NFL lately.

    "Running back's going to always be my favorite position," Rainey said, but he added, "Wherever they put me, I'm ready. Don't care as long as I help the team win."

    Rainey plans to run at the NFL scouting combine and says he wants to post a 4.1-second time in the 40-yard dash (which would be only slightly slower than the speed of light).

    "Set a record that nobody can beat," Rainey said.


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    Re: PD: Rams looking for backfield help

    Ohhh deear God please let this be the year we get a quality backup for Steven!! I feel this might be a critical year for us to find someone who will extend Steven's career with us. I defiantly love the sound of that polk guy, instead of having a change of pace just a pound and pound game that wears out the other team. Suits me
    Truth, Tampa_Ram and GROUND DOG 39 like this.

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    Re: PD: Rams looking for backfield help

    Quote Originally Posted by ZiaRam View Post
    Ohhh deear God please let this be the year we get a quality backup for Steven!! I feel this might be a critical year for us to find someone who will extend Steven's career with us. I defiantly love the sound of that polk guy, instead of having a change of pace just a pound and pound game that wears out the other team. Suits me
    I want Polk but i want Rainey as well in the 6th or 7th. I really want a replacement for Jax that could be groomed and a Sproles type player as well.

    Polk will probably go to high though, and we got some more pressing needs. if hes there in the 3rd though somehow id take him in a second and still grab Rainey later.


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    Re: PD: Rams looking for backfield help

    Quote Originally Posted by Tampa_Ram View Post
    I want Polk but i want Rainey as well in the 6th or 7th. I really want a replacement for Jax that could be groomed and a Sproles type player as well.

    Polk will probably go to high though, and we got some more pressing needs. if hes there in the 3rd though somehow id take him in a second and still grab Rainey later.
    I disagree that the Rams have more pressing needs. With Cadillac and Norwood both leaving, the Rams have a serious void at the RB position. ...and with Fisher as the HC, and his style of play, the Rams absolutely need a couple of strong healthy backs. You know SJ will go down at some time during the season. Hopefully, not after the first play in the regular season, but he will not last 16 games. I like Polk, and I'd take him in the 2nd if he's there, unless the Rams go after Richardson in the 1st (which I rather they take Blackmon after trading down).
    Faithful Rams fan since 1968

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    Re: PD: Rams looking for backfield help

    Quote Originally Posted by RAMFANRAIDERHATER View Post
    I disagree that the Rams have more pressing needs. With Cadillac and Norwood both leaving, the Rams have a serious void at the RB position. ...and with Fisher as the HC, and his style of play, the Rams absolutely need a couple of strong healthy backs. You know SJ will go down at some time during the season. Hopefully, not after the first play in the regular season, but he will not last 16 games. I like Polk, and I'd take him in the 2nd if he's there, unless the Rams go after Richardson in the 1st (which I rather they take Blackmon after trading down).
    Well im not disagreeing we need a back. But i just rather get one after the 2nd round. I still like Isiaih Pead in the 4th, or LaMichael James in the 3rd. Polks stock has dropped a little and i could see Fisher getting him in the 2nd. As long as we grab Blackmon ill be happy with the draft.
    lostsoul likes this.


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    Re: PD: Rams looking for backfield help

    We've been at this for years. But two guys I'd watch out for in rounds 2-3 are Lamar Miller (most likely going late 1st), David Wilson, and Doug Martin.

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    Re: PD: Rams looking for backfield help

    Lamar Miller or Ronnie Hillman!

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    Re: PD: Rams looking for backfield help

    Quote Originally Posted by Tampa_Ram View Post
    Well im not disagreeing we need a back. But i just rather get one after the 2nd round. I still like Isiaih Pead in the 4th, or LaMichael James in the 3rd. Polks stock has dropped a little and i could see Fisher getting him in the 2nd. As long as we grab Blackmon ill be happy with the draft.
    Ive not looked at any of the players yet, who may get drafted this April, except Blackmon and this Isiaih Pead. I watched a little of a Cincinnati game, and this Pead guy really stood out to me. Id love it if the Rams could get him after the first day. Talented kid.

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    Re: PD: Rams looking for backfield help

    Michael Bush, Mike Tolbert, Peyton Hillis, Marshawn Lynch, Ray Rice, Matt Forte and several others are unrestricted free agents.
    "You people point your 'f'in' finger and say theres the bad guy....what that make you....good?" Tony Montana

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    Re: PD: Rams looking for backfield help

    Histroy has told us you can get great runningbacks in every round.

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    Re: PD: Rams looking for backfield help

    I live in Cinci so i've seen several bearcat games I think Pead would be a welcome addition. He has decent hands and play punt returns while he's learning in the NFL. That being said, after being named MVP of the senior bowl, his draft position is probably rising quickly.

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    Re: PD: Rams looking for backfield help

    Chris Polk has been a letdown since the season ended --

    ESPN's Todd McShay said on SportsCenter Wednesday that Washington RB Chris Polk's draft stock has dropped more than any player at the Senior Bowl.

    McShay suggested that Polk put on too much weight before reporting to Mobile. "He just has not shown that same explosiveness and burst that I was used to seeing at Washington," said McShay. "I think he's added a little weight, up to 224 pounds. I expected a little bit more out of him." Polk, listed at 222 as a Husky, measured 5-foot-11, 224 during Monday's weigh-in.

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    Re: PD: Rams looking for backfield help

    Are we getting a good, strong FB too? A real FB.

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    Re: PD: Rams looking for backfield help

    i was all for drafting a replacement rb but when i seen who the fas are i changed my mind. lets go after peyton hillis. i see all those other players resigning with their current teams.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fargo Ram Fan View Post
    Michael Bush, Mike Tolbert, Peyton Hillis, Marshawn Lynch, Ray Rice, Matt Forte and several others are unrestricted free agents.

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