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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Rams beware: Don't try to dictate draft spot

    By Jeff Gordon
    STLTODAY.COM SPORTS COLUMNIST
    Monday, Dec. 15 2008
    The NFL Draft industry is humming along, filling the Internet with breathless
    speculation about which young hopeful will go to which also-ran team.

    The crummy pro teams arenít done jockeying for draft position, of course, and
    dozens of top draft-eligible underclassmen havenít decided whether to come out.

    Still, several of these projections have the Rams taking Ohio State cornerback
    Malcolm Jenkins. Another mock draft had the Rams taking massive Alabama tackle
    Andre Smith, who has literally outgrown his college uniform.

    Another had Smith off the board and the Rams taking Mississippi tackle Michael
    Oher instead. Another had the team taking Georgia quarterback Matt Stafford.

    A couple of others tabbed Virginia tackle Eugene Monroe for Chip Rosenbloomís
    juggernaut.

    All of this is exciting for Rams fans weary of watching the team lose. All this
    is more fun than speculating about whether the interim owner, management team
    and coach will remain in place for 2009.

    Many fans agree with my P-D colleague Bryan Burwell, who sees value in the Rams
    losing out to secure the highest possible draft position.

    But hereís the deal: The NFL Draft is, by far, the most overblown sporting
    event on our professional landscape. The agony and ecstasy experienced during
    the first day are the most misspent emotions in all of fandom.

    Of course the draft is important. Of course itís nice to gain better draft
    position.

    Weíve learned, though, that fifth-round picks (Clifton Ryan) can turn out
    better than first-round picks (Jimmy Kennedy). A player picked 19th overall
    (Antonio Cromartie) can prove infinitely more valuable than a guy picked 15th
    (Tye Hill) in the same draft.

    And the draft is just one of the building or rebuilding tools for a football
    operation. Just ask the Detroit Lions, a franchise that has top picks in every
    draft and loses every season.

    A team must accumulate about 60 worthy players in any given season, factoring
    in injuries, and a good GM will find a couple of impact players and three or
    four solid players in every draft. That's it.

    The Rams would get an impact player second overall . . . or fourth overall . .
    . or sixth overall. What does it matter where the team picks?

    The team needs everything but a kicker and a punter, so any of the consensus
    top 10 players would help. The Rams could trade down from a higher pick and get
    extra middle-round picks, but all that would accomplish is (maybe) adding some
    depth.

    So the Rams might as well try to win another game this season, allowing the
    cornerstone players to accomplish something positive before the year runs out.

    Letís face it, the players returning for next season are more critical than
    anybody the Rams will select in the next draft.

    Getting the incumbents in the proper frame of mind for off-season work and
    development is more important than getting to draft this promising youngster
    over that one.

    Rather than see the Rams lock up the second overall pick by dumping two more
    contests, Iíd like to see quarterback Marc Bulger move the offense when games
    are on the line.

    Sure, he can be the same old accurate passer. We saw that through much of
    Sundayís loss to the downtrodden Seahawks. He made some nice throws, including
    some big downfield strikes.

    He even got in sync with Torry Holt on the very first drive of the game. Who
    knew that was even possible anymore?

    When it came time to decide the game, however, Bulger took a powder. Like most
    of his teammates, he became a different (and lesser) player when the game
    turned against the Rams.

    Most of the Rams have sunk into this malaise. The team looks quite capable of
    winning a game, but then it makes a few mistakes, the officials blow a couple
    of calls, the other team shows some life, the other coaches make some
    adjustments . . . and it sinks again.

    Bulger is the pivotal player for next season. Given his contract, the franchise
    is likely to keep him for another year.

    If he made good things happen during the final two weeks of the season, imagine
    what good that could do him and his teammates. What if he relocated some of his
    old confidence?

    What if his teammates regained confidence in him?

    He is not alone on this front. Steven Jackson could energize the franchise with
    a strong finish and reestablish himself as a top offensive threat in this game.

    Rookie receivers Donnie Avery and Keenan Burton can still grow during the last
    two weeks and make the team stronger heading into next season. So can young
    defensive linemen Chris Long, Adam Carriker, Ryan and Victor Adeyanju.

    John Greco, David Vobora, Chris Chamberlain, Kenneth Darby, Quinton Culberson,
    Jonathan Wade, Daniel Fells Ė these are all guys looking to become
    possibilities for next season.

    Much can happen during the final two weeks, aside from upgrading the í09 draft
    position. Key individuals can still progress.

    Letís see what happens on the field before getting too caught up on what might
    happen in the draft room.


  2. #2
    ScottD413 Guest

    Re: Rams beware: Don't try to dictate draft spot

    Whenever we pick, now is the time to get a QB. Bulger is here for at least another year and that means we could have a young QB on the sidelines learning for a year before taking over.

    Although we don't need to use our first round pick on a QB. I think an O tackle would be better.

  3. #3
    BEER's Avatar
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    Re: Rams beware: Don't try to dictate draft spot

    Quote Originally Posted by ScottD413 View Post
    Whenever we pick, now is the time to get a QB. Bulger is here for at least another year and that means we could have a young QB on the sidelines learning for a year before taking over.

    Although we don't need to use our first round pick on a QB. I think an O tackle would be better.
    O line is the best bet. Pace is going to retire and Barron, well we know he is
    not going to develope. So we need left and right Tackles.

  4. #4
    Mooselini Guest

    Re: Rams beware: Don't try to dictate draft spot

    I still think we need to pick the OT over the QB. There are actually three positions we need to pick over the QB spot.

    Pace will retire soon and Barron is inconsistent. We could draft the OT and plug him in at RT. This seems to be the rightful place. Move Barron to RG or Left Bench.

    I wouldn't mind going for a MLB in the first round also...

    But Jenkins I'll pass on. Bartell has grown into the player we've wanted, and we have Manning and Craft also. Fakhir Brown may come back as well.

  5. #5
    NJ Ramsfan1 is offline Registered User
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    Re: Rams beware: Don't try to dictate draft spot

    You guys will probably think I'm nuts, but I would take Matt Stafford with the 1st pick with the hope that he will be our franchise quarterback for the next 10 years. I think Marc Bulger can still be a productive player, but he has taken too many hits, (both literally and figuratively) over the past two seasons, and I think he's reached his ceiling with St. Louis. While he's got plenty of company, he's been poor this year- not a good sign considering at the start of the season we heard about "all the off-season work he'd put in".

    The Rams should orchestrate intelligent and creative moves to obtain a number of high draft picks. Purge the roster of players who have underachieved but could still have value. For Bulger, a first and fourth round pick with with whom they should take an offensive lineman and quality corner respectively. Use their other picks to solidify the D-line and linebacker spots.

    And finally, open up the purse strings for Marty Schottenheimer or Bill Cowher. At least make a superior effort. Make it difficult for them NOT to want to come here. It all starts with quality football men drafting intelligently and instilling a commitment to excellence.

  6. #6
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    Re: Rams beware: Don't try to dictate draft spot

    Quote Originally Posted by Mooselini View Post
    I still think we need to pick the OT over the QB. There are actually three positions we need to pick over the QB spot.

    Pace will retire soon and Barron is inconsistent. We could draft the OT and plug him in at RT. This seems to be the rightful place. Move Barron to RG or Left Bench.

    I wouldn't mind going for a MLB in the first round also...

    But Jenkins I'll pass on. Bartell has grown into the player we've wanted, and we have Manning and Craft also. Fakhir Brown may come back as well.
    I don't see a number 1 corner in any of those guys. Bartell is a starter, but not a number 1 guy. Craft and Manning have failed as starters, but excelled here in nickle and dime roles. Fakhir Brown is getting old. The Rams need a number 1 guy to compliment Bartell. We have drafted to many young guys that we hope pan out I would rather go the FA route especially in this years deep FA class.

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    Re: Rams beware: Don't try to dictate draft spot

    I would rather see us picking Maualauga than Jenkins in the draft. Then we can upgrade in the FA.

  8. #8
    Keenum's Avatar
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    Re: Rams beware: Don't try to dictate draft spot

    Ever since I saw where it looked like we were going to have a top 5 pick, I've been wanting us to go after Andre Smith. Fantastic run blocker, very good pass blocker, and he can step right in and start from day one (assuming we don't have a holdout). Also a good person, not a jerk or anything. We've got to fix the O-line for the offense to get going, and I think our defense will get better as they get more experience... hopefully.

  9. #9
    Warner4prez Guest

    Re: Rams beware: Don't try to dictate draft spot

    Sadly this is all common sense. But common sense that I needed to have driven into my thick skull. Thank you Gordo.

  10. #10
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    Re: Rams beware: Don't try to dictate draft spot

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith View Post
    But hereís the deal: The NFL Draft is, by far, the most overblown sporting
    event on our professional landscape. The agony and ecstasy experienced during the first day are the most misspent emotions in all of fandom.
    I have to disagree, the Draft is the second best day in all of pro sports. It's like opening up presents on Christmas morning. It's one of the only things that keeps me going through the spring (and now fall, and winter ). Sure we don't know how the picks will turn out, but its the thrill (Steven Jackson) and the apparent disappointment (Donnie Avery) that turns into JOY. Unfortunately it's way too early to be talking draft, but as a Rams fan, this is sadly what we have become.

  11. #11
    Falconator Guest

    Re: Rams beware: Don't try to dictate draft spot

    Quote Originally Posted by C-Mob 71 View Post
    I have to disagree, the Draft is the second best day in all of pro sports. It's like opening up presents on Christmas morning. It's one of the only things that keeps me going through the spring (and now fall, and winter ). Sure we don't know how the picks will turn out, but its the thrill (Steven Jackson) and the apparent disappointment (Donnie Avery) that turns into JOY. Unfortunately it's way too early to be talking draft, but as a Rams fan, this is sadly what we have become.
    Yeah, the writer is "full of it"......the draft is the most fun day of the year - especially for teams that were out of contention and have "top 10" picks. And, the draft is where teams turn around their fortune if they choose wisely.......for a change, my team chose wisely last year and we have a 50/50 shot at the playoffs with two games to go.

    Rams fortunes can change quickly.......maybe not in a year but certainly in 2 years.

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