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Thread: Perceived draft needs vs Actual draft needs

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    Perceived draft needs vs Actual draft needs

    It seems that a lot of people here believed the Rams to have a certain amount of needs going into the draft, which seemed to be as follows:

    Wide Receiver
    Back up Running Back
    Defensive End
    Defensive Tackle
    Outside Linebacker
    Offensive Guard
    Safety

    NFL.com had the Rams draft needs as followed:
    WR
    DL
    TE
    S
    RB


    But were these really the needs identified by the Rams?

    Wide Receiver was obviously a need, with many people saying we need to get a number 1 receiver. Well, that would be nice, but with AJ Green and Julio Jones gone in the top 6, there was no chance of that happening. I like that the Rams attempted to improve the WR corps with sure handed receivers like Pettis and Salas. Some will question the speed of the players, but speed isn't everything at the receiver position. Danario Alexander can stretch the field, so can Donnie Avery, but stretching the field doesn't do too much if you drop the pass thrown to you, like Alexander did in the Seattle game. Pettis and Salas are among the most sure handed receivers in the draft, and they also produced well in college.

    Defensive End we addressed when Robert Quinn somehow fell to us at 14. This need was addressed perfectly. Was it a massive need? Not necessarily, as James Hall played well last season and Sims or Selvie could come on well this year.
    Defensive Tackle was seen as a need because Robbins is getting old and Gary Gibson was seen as someone expendable and average who could be replaced. Some still question why we would draft Robert Quinn over someone like Corey Liuget as they perceived DT to be a bigger need. Well Robbins played very well last year, and probably should have been considered among the best FA pickups across the league. Also, Spags' DL, such as his time in New York, highlighted DEs more than DTs. In passing down Spags likes to line up a DE in the DT position to aid the pass rush, so it would seem that DE depth is more important than DT depth. In New York, in the Superbowl year, Spags was having Michael Strahan, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora rush the passer. I think the Rams can wait another year before they find Robbins successor, especially with how he played last year.

    Outside Linebacker was seen as a need, but when has Spags' D ever placed an emphasis on the OLB position? In the Giants SB win the Giants' starting OLBs were Reggie Torbor and Kawika Micthell. Who?
    Na'il Diggs played solidly in his spot last year, and the Rams drafted a person to comepete for the WLB position in Jabara Williams. This could still be adressed in free agency, but it's not a position that we should worry about not being addressed with a higher draft pick.

    Offensive Guard was touted by many as a need, especially by Jim Thomas of the Post Dispatch. His reasoning was that the interior line got pushed back too much near the goalline. But if the line is getting pushed back in goalline situations, why wasnt this happening further down field? It seems the guard play was fine in every other area but the goalline.
    Well this position was obviously not considered at all in the draft, and maybe the Rams are happier with the guard situation than outside observers believe. I remember reading that the coaches were happy with how Jacob Bell played last year. There are also questions as to whether John Greco will finally get a decent shot to start over Adam Goldberg. This may be a position that gets addressed in free agency, but would it have been worthy of a high draft pick? The Rams front office obviously doesn't think so. maybe they think they can get by with a serviceable player at the position rather than a star. The Rams also obviously spent high picks on the OT position in recent drafts, and signed Bell and Jason Brown, so maybe they didn't want to tie too much money up in the OL.

    Back up Running Back has been talked about as being a "need" for a while. I don't know if i would call it a need. A need would be a position where the Rams have a massive gaping hole, one that you would spend a high draft pick on. I don't think, with Steven Jackson playing at a Pro Bowl level, that this position is a massive need. Jackson prides himself on carrying the load, and even while injured has played well at the RB position. So would you want to take him off the field? It's not like he really needs the rest, its not like a rookie is going to be better at pass protection, and Jackson is a very capable receiver out of the backfield. McDaniels used a lot of different backs in New England and Denver, but thats because he never had a back like Jackson that could do it all. For example in New England, Kevin Faulk was the third down pass protection and receiving back, while guys like Laurence Maroney, Sammy Morris and Benjarvus Green-Ellis ran on other downs. Jackson has the talent to stay on the field, so why take him off? The Rams can find a back up to Jackson in free agency, someone who will come in and run the ball five times a game at most. The Rams were not going to invest a high pick and lots of money to a guy that comes of the bench for, say, 10 plays a game. There are other areas with more needs.

    Safety was a big need in some peoples eyes, especially since OJ Atogwe got released. But is it really? Spags doesn't value the safety position, and a rangy, deep field FS like Atogwe isn't the kind of safety that Spags likes. I hate to go back to the Giants superbowl win, but their starting safeties were James Butler and Gibril Wilson, neither of whom can cover particularly well. Spags likes a safety that can play close to the line and blitz, and thats why he places more emphasis on tall press corners who will often be isolated against a single receiver. The Rams took Jermale Hines and Jonathan Nelson late in the draft, but both seem to be more like Spags' kind of safety, especially Hines.

    So if back up RB, guard, and OLB weren't seen as needs by Spags' staff, what was?
    Well obviously DL, WR and Safety were adressed, as were TE and KR.

    Kick Returner is a need for a number of reasons. The Rams return game has been lackluster for a number of years, with the team ranking 20th in kick returns in 2010. Now, why was Mikhail Baker taken in round 7? The other two returners on the roster, Danny Amendola and Mardy Gilyard, are in danger of losing their roster spots. Gilyard obviously struggled with the play book last year, and Amendola could be in danger after the Rams drafted similar but more than likely better receivers in Pettis and Salas.

    Tight End wasn't seen as an obvious need by many, but it's a position that was filled by lots of different people last year. Michael Hoomanawanui was considered a strange pick in the 2010 draft but showed good receiving skills when healthy. However, he struggled through a lot of the year with injuries. Daniel Fells flashed good ability but also dropped some key passes, and is set to be a free agent. Billy Bajema is primarily a blocking TE, and although he had a good receiving game against Denver there were some drive killing drops aswell. Fendi Onobun is a project, who needs more time to develop. The Rams also used a lot of two TE sets last year. So why not grab a pass catching TE? McDaniels apparently rated Lance Kendricks as having the best hands of any receiver in the draft after AJ Green. You pair him with a healthy Illinois Mike and it's a tandem similar to the Patriots have with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. If Illinois Mike is still bothered by injuries, then at least we don't have to watch Billy Bajema starting at TE.

    A lot of people criticised the Kendricks, Pettis and Salas picks because they weren't good value at the time they were picked. Are you sure? Do you know how NFL teams had ranked their players? I don't think any fan considered Christian Ponder to be a mid first round pick, but if the Vikings didn't take him the Dolphins and Redskins were apparently going to. The Bills were also thinking of trading up into the mid to late first round to take him if he was still there. So just because some draftnik, unaffliated with an NFL team, had Kendricks rated as a 3rd rounder doesn't mean he would have still been there when the Rams picked in the third round

    And instead of spreading out the supposed needs in the later rounds, why did the team take two WRs and two safeties? Well what if one of them doesn't work out? I much prefer the team address a need with two players in case one doesn't make it at the NFL level. Its the same reason the team drafted two TEs and three DEs in the tail end of the draft last year. If both players develop into good NFL players, and you have to choose which one to keep, its a better situation than only picking one player at a position and the player doesn't become who you thought he would.

    This is just my thinking about the Rams draft, and is pretty much the reasons why i liked what Devaney and Spags did. I know not everyone loved it
    TekeRam likes this.


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    Re: Perceived draft needs vs Actual draft needs

    I think you are assuming just because we didn't draft certain positions high or at all that they aren't "needs", like OG, OLB and backup RB. I don't think that could be farther from the truth. I just think that you can only fill so many holes in one offseason, let alone one draft. I think next year were all going to be clamoring for a lot of these same holes to be filled before the draft. Well have to see what happens in free agency, whenever that is.

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    Re: Perceived draft needs vs Actual draft needs

    Quote Originally Posted by cfh128 View Post
    I think you are assuming just because we didn't draft certain positions high or at all that they aren't "needs", like OG, OLB and backup RB. I don't think that could be farther from the truth. I just think that you can only fill so many holes in one offseason, let alone one draft. I think next year were all going to be clamoring for a lot of these same holes to be filled before the draft. Well have to see what happens in free agency, whenever that is.
    Is it not the same as assuming that the position is a need just because we don't have a marquee player at that particular position?

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    Re: Perceived draft needs vs Actual draft needs

    Its not the same at all. When you watch the games and see our safeties getting burned, or Jackson running for 3 yards a carry because Goldberg is getting eaten alive, its a problem area. Its not a matter of us not having sexy names in these spots. These are legitimate areas of concern.

    Put it this way. If Jackson were to be injured for an extended period of time, would you really feel comfortable with Keith Totson or Chauncey Washington carrying the load?

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