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    Rams' 10 picks in draft unsigned

    By Bill Coats
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Wednesday, Jul. 19 2006

    A week before players are scheduled to suit up at Rams Park for the start of
    training camp, none of the team's 10 draft choices has signed a contract.
    That's not unusual, though.

    As of Wednesday evening, nearly half the teams in the NFL - 14 of 32 - were in
    the same situation. Only the Chicago Bears had signed all their picks, and just
    three other teams had wrapped up deals with more than half their draftees.
    Overall, about 20 percent of the 255 picks had signed.

    Jay Zygmunt, the Rams' president of football operations and chief contract
    negotiator, has talked with agents for all the team's picks. Zygmunt was on the
    West Coast recently, visiting with representatives for first-rounder Tye Hill.

    "We'll probably hear something soon," Hill, a cornerback from Clemson, said
    Wednesday. How soon, of course, is the question. The only first-round selection
    signed so far is Bears safety Danieal Manning.

    Hill is optimistic, though. "I expect to be in camp on time," he said. "I feel
    it's very important to be there with the rest of the guys."

    So does Zygmunt. "It's critical," he said. "You like to have your players in
    from the first day; that's always our goal. ... Obviously, these players need
    to start learning the system and get as many reps as they can. The way the
    league is now, they're going to have to contribute at some point this season,
    whether it's in September or later."

    The battle for jobs at cornerback could be the most spirited of any area during
    camp. Incumbents Jerametrius Butler and Travis Fisher, both recovering from
    significant injuries, will be attempting to reclaim their jobs. Hill, holdovers
    DeJuan Groce, Ron Bartell and Dwight Anderson, plus veteran free-agent signees
    Fakhir Brown and Kevin Timothee, also will be trying to snare starting spots.

    "Competition is always good, and there's going to be a lot of competition,"
    said Hill, who knows that as a first-round pick, he'll be scrutinized from the
    start.

    "I'm glad I've got that added pressure," Hill said. "I feel like me being a
    first-round guy, I don't have time to be a rookie. I can't make those rookie
    mistakes. I have to come in right now and perform at the highest level possible
    right now. And I hope my coaches feel the same way and expect the same out of
    me. ...

    "Hopefully, they're grooming me to be a starter some time. I want to continue
    to learn from the veterans, and when it's my time to take over, it's my time."

    First, though, he needs to be on time. "I want to be there the first day," he
    said. "From what I've heard, I think everything is going pretty good" in talks
    with the Rams.

    Still, the team's recent history with top picks is spotty. Two of its last four
    first-rounders reported to camp late:

    -- In 2003, defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy of Penn State missed five days of
    workouts. He was inactive for the first three regular-season contests and
    didn't start a game his rookie year.

    -- Last year, offensive lineman Alex Barron of Florida State sat out two weeks
    of camp, including the first preseason game, while his agent, Roosevelt Barnes,
    and Zygmunt haggled over terms. Not surprisingly, Barron struggled early in the
    season. But he recovered quickly and started 11 games at right tackle.

    "The game is a game, but it's a business also," Hill added. "Across the board,
    from player personnel to the coaches, the front office, the players ... it's a
    business. Every day, the coaches have to make business decisions; guys are
    going to be here one day and gone tomorrow. My business decision is to get in
    (to camp) and also get the best deal possible."

    In that regard, player and management share the same aspiration. And the closer
    camp gets, the hotter the negotiations become.

    "We're in full mode right now; it'll start happening," Zygmunt said. "It's
    amazing how, in the end, they all get done."


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    Re: Rams' 10 picks in draft unsigned

    Wasnt Manning a second round pick?? And wasn't Williams (1st overall) signed?

  3. #3
    HUbison's Avatar
    HUbison is offline Superbowl MVP
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    Re: Rams' 10 picks in draft unsigned

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith
    Wasnt Manning a second round pick?? And wasn't Williams (1st overall) signed?
    Yes, Manning was a 2nd round pick. He was the Bears 1st selection, but not a first round pick.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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