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    Rams Chat Transcript: Devaney Q-&-A On Jim Thomas Live

    Jim Thomas Live

    Rams general manager Billy Devaney joins Post-Dispatch football writer Jim Thomas in the weekly chat

    Tuesday, February 22, 2011

    Mike: Billy, are we going to be bringing in Bob Sanders for a visit?
    Jim Thomas: Here's Billy Devaney's answer: We talked about it. We'll see where it goes. But right no, probably not. But we're not closing the door.

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    robbewc: Thanks for taking my question(s)and your great coverage of the Rams. Two questions: 1) How much impact does the combine have in adjusting the Rams' draft board and 2) Do the Rams's stack their draft by positional need or players by rating or a combination? Thanks. Robb
    Jim Thomas: BILLY D. 1.) It could impact your draft board in a couple ways. The first being the medical information. You could have a player rated high and if his medical grade comes back as a significant risk you may not take him off the draft board but you will lower him.
    2.) A combination. First thing we do is rank them by position. Once we do that, then we have kind of a mock draft. And we just go through probably five rounds, depending on the depth of the draft.

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    Bald_81: Hi Billy,

    I just want to start by commending you on your success so far with the Rams. We have a much brighter future now which I believe is a direct result of you having joined the organization only three years ago.

    However, one area the Rams have repeatedly come up short with is the goal of finding a formidible back up for Steven Jackson. It is becoming much more pertinent to find his compliment especially with Jackson approaching twenty-eight years old. I believe it is one of our superior needs heading into the draft and although I know you are a big proponent of never sacrificing value for need (when it comes to trusting the draft board), one player I particularly like is Ryan Williams from VTech. Turning only 21 in February, he can be groomed as our future lead back and showed the ability to carry the load in his freshman season. You have said before that we will almost certainly be looking for a change-of-pace back this offseason, but my question is does that exclude the possibility of selecting a RB like Williams in the second or third round to draft as an heir apparent to Jackson? Or does the fact that we have Jackson preclude us from using a premium pick on a RB?

    Greetings from Canada!
    Jim Thomas: BILLY D. Thanks for the kind words, but trust me there's a lot of great people that are here and involved in the process. Great question on the running backs. I would say as we sit here today the type of back that would help us the most is that change-of-pace, third-down back. It's not for lack of trying that we haven't filled that. We'll keep looking.

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    nick49: Hey Jim/Billy:
    1)Am I the only person who feels like Darien Stewart can be a starting safety for the Rams? And be a playmaker?
    2)Will you finally get us a speedy playmaking running back Billy? I like Reggie Bush,and when the Saints cut him,are you intrigued by him?
    3)What do you think of Phil Taylor,dt out of Baylor,(I think)?
    And as a diehard Rams fan,I like the direction you,Spags and Kevin have the team going.So go out and get us some playmakers!!!!!!
    Jim Thomas: BILLY D. I'll just answer the Stewart question. I thought he showed a lot of promise last year when he was on the field. He's got a lot of upside and we expect him to make a big jump this season.

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    Hollywood: Does John Greco have a future with the St. Louis Rams? He looked good to me when given opportunities, then all of the sudden he seemed to fall off the face of the earth. What gives??
    Jim Thomas: BILLY D: We're all still extremely high on John. He's had a run of bad luck with injuries. But when he's played, he's played well. He can be a big part of the o-line this year.

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    SacTown_Rams_Fan: Hi Jim and Billy D.- I have a couple "mild questions" for Mr. Devaney.

    Last year you made mention that the Rams greatly needed playmakers at many positions, especially skill positions. Besides the QB, LT and Clayton signing, we basically fielded the same team talent wise by position.

    1) What criteria do you use to label a playmaker (Offense/defense)?
    2) Could such a player on offense have excelled within the scheme/playcalling last year?
    3) What top 3 positions this year will need "playmakers" added?
    4) If you had to excuse yourself from the political correctness arena... How would you label S. Jackson (ie..playmaker, workhorse, decoy) based on the play calls last year?

    And lastly, were you surprised at fan reaction to the firing of the equip. manager and asst. strength coach? What was your immediate feeling when Spags mentioned to you his intentions?
    Jim Thomas: BILLY D: When we think of playmaker at any position, being able to make a play on their own. In other words, a receiver can get open and beat coverage and not have to rely on the scheme of the play to get him open. And then once he catches the ball, doing something with it. That's just one example. Do we consider Jackson a playmaker? He's a big-time playmaker.

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    darby st dan: Gday Mr Thomas and welcome to Mr Devaney

    Very much looking forward to next year , a more experienced Bradford

    and a very talented young offensive line with an improving defensive

    line , things are looking positive

    What I worry about is the defensive back field , there is talent but

    what is needed is a a shut down corner and a hard hitting safety

    My question - is there talent say with the 2nd round pick to select

    a defensive back that could start and make an impact ?
    Jim Thomas: BILLY D: In terms of talented defensive backs being availabe in say the second round...I would say, yes. And I'm already drooling over one guy.

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    brokeu91: Hi Billy and Jim thanks for taking our questions. First let me say to Billy, that I think you are doing a fantastic job as our GM. I cannot be more than impressed with everything you have done at reorganizing our front office and finding players that help our team. I thank you for helping turn the team around. If you can answer (any) of these questions, I think Rams fans will appreciate it:
    1. What is your perception of how Selvie and Sims are progressing? If they are doing well, does DE become less of a priority?

    2. This is more of a comment, but coming as a Mizzou grad who works at the University of Iowa, if you decide to go DE I don't think you could go wrong with either Claybord or Aldon Smith.

    3. During the combine, does the team break up and each position coach watch players at the positions they coach, or does the staff watch them together?

    Thanks.
    Jim Thomas: BILLY D: 1.) That's two of our young guys who got valuable experience and did credible last year, and that we expect to make a jump their seocnd year. It was cool when we had our free agency meetings with the coaches and scouts, and we got to a certain point quickly with defensive ends where the opinion was "Selvie and Sims are better the guys we are talking about."
    2.) Both are outstanding prospects.
    3.) There's a different position that works out each day at the combine, and we watch it as a staff _ scouts and coaches.

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    doug watson: If a CBA could be achieved prior to March 4, would the Rams be active in free agency?
    Jim Thomas: BILLY D: We have a really good plan in place, just waiting to go.

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    DDavid: Hey Jim & Billy. Without a CBA before the draft and the ability to sign FA's, do you envision teams reaching in the draft to fill needs not knowing if they will be able to sign the FA's they covet? With FAgency after the draft I would think that would drive up the price for most players. None of these pre-draft picks in this draft can be used for trades with teams after a new CBA, right?
    Jim Thomas: BILLY D: I can't speak for everyone, but there's no way we're going to reach and violate our draft board. I think we've done a pretty good job of staying true to our board, and I have to admit, mistakes that I've made later in the draft where when I got away from that. It still ticks me off.

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    D_Roks30: 1. What is your thoughts on re-signing C. Ryan? Seems he was playing well prior to headaches. Any info on his medical status.
    2. Would you be in favor of drafting Jacquizz Rodgers (RB Oregon State) in 3rd round? Reminds me of a Dave Meggett. Good change of pace and good character.
    3. Which of the talented OLB are the most likely to start and contribute immediately?
    Thanks!
    Jim Thomas: BILLY D: 1.) Cliff's an unrestricted free agent, so we'll have to see.
    2.) I'm not going to committ to what round "Quizz" will go, but he's gonna be the topic of long discussion in many teams' draft rooms. He's a peanut, but he is a special player.
    3.) I assume you're talking about OLBs in the draft. We're still in the process of figuring that out.

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    ROBERT: CONGRATULATIONS ON LAST YEARS SEASON!THE 2011 SEASON WILL BE MUCH MORE DIFFICULT-BRADFORD WILL NEED BE PROTECTED BETTER UNDER THE NEW OFFENSE OL & OBTAIN MORE WEAPONS WR RB- THE DEFENSE NEEDS AN UPGRADE AT DT OLB CB S- THE DRAFT WILL NOT BE ABLE TO FILL ALL YOUR NEEDS- WHAT POSITION NEEDS DO YOU VIEW AS YOUR PRIORITIES? REALING THAT FREE AGENCY MAY BE A LIMITED OPTION THIS YEAR- B COEFIELD DT NYG COULD A NICE CATCH-THANKS
    Jim Thomas: BILLY D: We're looking for good players across the board to add to our team.

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    IL-side: Hello Jim,

    Thanks for keeping up the chats!

    It looks like there is the potential for a very strong FA WR class assuming a new labor deal can get worked out. With that being said, do you think the Rams are at the point where they absolutely have to draft Jones if he is available at 14, or do they go for an impact DL or LB and then try to sign a FA WR after the deal is done? Do you think the Rams would be better off with a proven/polished veteran WR or a rookie WR who may or may not be what we need? Thank you for your time.
    Jim Thomas: BILLY D: I would say there's no way we feel we absolutely have to draft any position at 14. Like I said earlier, the board will take us to our pick. As for signing a veteran WR as opposed to drafting one, it's hard to say without knowing the names. There are pros and cons to each.

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    Pujols1.5: Thanks as always JT for doing these chats and a special thanks Billy D for joining us today.

    1.) Billy what do you think, does a timed 4.52 get Julio Jones to you at 14?

    2.) Billy I think most of us in Rams nation feel if a WR is not taken at 14, you will look heavily at DL. Wondering what your initial thoughts are on Missouri Aldon Smith and Illinois Corey Liuget?

    3.) JT will you be at Lucas Oil Field?

    GO RAMS!!!!!!
    Jim Thomas: BILLY D: 1.) I would say don't get so hung up on 40 times. If he's 4.55, does that eliminate him? If he's 4.50, does that mean he goes in the top 10? There's a lot more to it than the 40 time.

    3.) Yes, JT will be at the Combine.

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    Steve Leipziger: Mr. Devaney,

    What satisfies you the most besides wining, about your job?

    Thanks,
    Steve Leipziger
    Jim Thomas: BILLY D: That's a great question. But really, it all about winning and that affects everything. I like winning, for our fans, our organization, our owners, my family (because I'm happy). Everything evolves around winning.

    We're heading to Indianapolis soon. Thanks for your questions, they were great questions and we'll do it again after the Combine.

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    D_Roks30: I hear alot of talk about acquiring S. Rice but my understanding is he will likely be tendered at the highest level.
    1. Could a new CBA change this concept of tendering?
    2. If not, do you see any way we would give up a 1st and 3rd round pick for him?
    3. Hypothetically, if we could land Rice and still have 1st round pick and Jones was selected, who would you predict would be on the opening day roster at WR (using a 5-6 man spot)?
    Jim Thomas: Billy Devaney has just left; he had to go back upstairs. So it's just Jim Thomas now.
    JT: The new CBA could change the concept of tendering. And not only that, does free agency go back to four years (to be unrestricted)? Does it stay at the current six years (which it was this past offseason because of the uncapped year)? That all has to be decided. Personally, a 1 and 3 seems high for Rice, who's really had only the one monster year.

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    Tackleberry: Jim/Billy,

    The back-up running back position has had very little impact the past two seasons for the Rams; how do you see that being addressed this off-season? Is the back-up running back for 2011 most likely a free agent or player to be drafted?
    Jim Thomas: JT: It looks like a very good draft in terms of finding change-of-pace/complementary backs, particularly from Rounds 2 through 4. So I'm not saying this is definitely the way the Rams will go in terms of addressing this needs, but there appears to be a lot to choose from.

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    D-Nice: Thanks for taking my questions Jim, which now that the Vikings are going to let Sidney Rice hit the free agent market do you think the Rams have any interest in trying to sign him? Also if he is signed by the Rams what direction will they go in the draft and who are the receivers likely to be released or not return to the Rams next year? How much do the Rams like Clayborn, and is DL or DE on the wish list this draft ahead of OLB help or is safety now a priority ahead of all the other needs? Thanks for taking my question D.
    Jim Thomas: JT: I'm sure the Rams will consider Rice if he hits the market as a UFA. I guess there are some questions, however, about his hip injury. The only WR among the 2010 Rams that is not under contract for 2011 is Laurent Robinson. So he may not be re-signed. But as for the others (Avery, Alexander, Amendola, Gibson, Gilyard, Dominique Curry _ and Clayton, if re-signed), why not bring them all to camp and see who stays healthy and who excels?
    I know Clayborn is on the Rams' radar, but I don't really know how much they like him. I don't know if DL or DE is ahead of OLB on the prioriry list, but if Julio Jones isn't there at No. 14 overall, I don't know if there's an outside linebacker worth taking there. (Maybe Akeem Ayers) But under that scenario _ Jones gone _ there should be several possibilities on the defensive line.

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    Chris Ransom: Obvious question, but was % chance is there of Atogwe returning to STL?
    Jim Thomas: JT: I'd say 50-50. The Rams aren't closing the door. (However, as you may have heard, Atogwe is indeed visiting the Redskins today.)

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    ramsrevolution: I had a lot of fun at last year's training camp. Have the Rams picked a site for the coming year's training camp yet?
    Jim Thomas: JT: I don't think that decision has been made yet. I think if it were up to Spagnuolo, and there was a site that was the right fit, Spags would train away from St. Louis. He just likes that whole "getting away/bonding" experience.

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    Kenny H.: Jim,
    Why are the Rams so ridiculously concerned about possibly overpaying Atogwe by a little bit? They have overpaid (or continued to overpay) Alex Barron, Jacob Bell, & Jason Brown in the Devaney era, and countless others before him. Atogwe is a team leader and consistent top performer, and allowing him to leave over money that will undoubtedly be wasted elsewhere is no better decision-making than allowing London Fletcher to leave. I realize that the CBA sitution probably makes negotiating trickier for players on the upper-end, but I sense that OJ's departure would have a much more negative effect than some realize.
    Jim Thomas: JT: Good point. But I guess the Rams feel $11.5 million (which is the total of Atogwe's roster bonus plus base salary) is more than a little overpaying. It's always risky when you actually create another hole on the roster, and it's not considered a very good year for safeties in the draft.

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    bfulton: I noticed the Rams haven't used the franchise tag. Did they lose the right to use it this offseason?
    Jim Thomas: JT: Rams are not planning to use the franchise tag this year. None of their pending free agents are really in that salary level.

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    Lou Wappel: Jim: As always, thank you for the chats.
    Why do you like Adrian Clayborn more than Cameron Jordan and Cameron Heyward? I watched the MU vs. Iowa bowl game last night and hardly noticed Clayborn, but Cameron Heyward really stood out in the bowl game he played in.
    Billy: Last year you drafted Mardy Gilyard over Mike Williams, and it was common knowledge Williams had 1st round talent, and he proved it.
    You have been in charge of 2 drafts now and still have not drafted a good reciever. Also, you drafted Jason Smith over Eugene Monroe, and Monroe is ABLE to play LT and Jason Smith is not. Why should we have faith in you?
    Jim Thomas: JT: First of all, I don't think you can judge players based on one game. I think Clayborn has more potential, if he returns to his 2009 form _ and I realize that may be a big "if." In addition, Heyward underwent elbow surgery last month. Obviously Cameron Jordan is highly-regarded as well. Keep in mind, picking Clayborn wasn't something that was set in stone.

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    COGzilla: I know you guys liked Hull before the unfortunate injury. Although Diggs played much better at the end of the year, I wouldnt think his job is a lock. Any chance Hull gets some reps at SAM or is he strictly James' back-up?

    Real quick...Incognito cleaned up his act and had a great year down south. Any chance at all he could come in for a visit or has that ship sailed?
    Jim Thomas: JT: I would think Hull would learn the SAM in addition to MIKE. The Rams, like many teams like their backups to be as versatile as possible. As for Incognito, I think that boat has sailed.

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    fulani ram: Thanks again for your time Jim. Say you had final say so on 1st pick. Of coarse you are weighing out the proverbial "need vs best player availble" classic question, and you have Julio Jones, Mark Ingram, & lets say one of the second teir DEs on the board. Which way do you go? I know it's still early, and the Combine & subsequent interview process will weed out a few guys. But I gotta tell you, Mark Ingram & Leonard Hankerson is my Best Case Senario. I think these two guys are going to be special.
    Jim Thomas: JT: Ingram and Hankerson sounds interesting. If the grades are close at No. 14, I think I take Julio Jones, but I'm still studying him and reserve the right to change my mind.

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    GO RAMS!: Billy, a quick comment and a couple of questions. First, I want to commend you on (so far) what seems to be a job well done. I also know that there is no time to sit back and feel good about what has happened so far as the rebuilding process is still a long way from being completed (if it ever is completed). Questions, is there a hope that the Rams will be able to bring back O.J. Atogwe for next season and potentially beyond on a contract that is beneficial to both O.J. and the Rams? Second, are there some free agent targets (assuming there is free agency) that the Rams are hopeful to check out such as Minnesota free agent wide receiver Sidney Rice? Thanks!
    Jim Thomas: BILLY D: As far as Atogwe we never say never. We just have to see where it goes. As far as free agents, I really can't comment because they're still members of their current teams.

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    D-Mac: Hey Jim, thanks for the chat and also thanks to Billy D for taking the time as well.

    My question is concerning the upcoming draft. Is the Ram stance the usual "We will take the best athlete available" or are you keying on one specific position or player? I am guessing your priority is WR, then OLB and maybe another DE to match with Long? But, what if the next best guy is a Offensive lineman??
    Jim Thomas: JT: Well, this year, I don't think they'll have to worry about that. I don't think there are any top 10 offensive lineman. And unless one of the quarterbacks (Gabbert or Newton) fall that far, I don't think they'll have to worry about that, either. You can say that just about every other position could be fair game. (Keeping in mind that this doesn't appear to be a year where a safety or a tight end will be a top 14 pick.)

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    danxxx1: Good Afternoon Jim,

    What do you think of DeMarco Murray from Oklahoma as a 3rd down back and to give a breather to SJ?
    Could be around when the Rams pick in the 3rd round?

    Thanks
    Jim Thomas: JT: Yeah, I think he's a very viable option. And I think the third round is just about the right spot for him. But as I alluded to before, I think the Rams are sifting through a lot of options there.

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    Bopat from Socal: Jim,
    Rams don't improve on 7 wins next season, does Stan clean house?
    Jim Thomas: JT: Interesting question. Don't really know the answer. I wonder if 7 is the over/under. I've got to go. Thanks to Billy Devaney for joining us earlier, and talk to you all next week.

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    shower beers's Avatar
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    Re: Rams Chat Transcript: Devaney Q-&-A On Jim Thomas Live

    I always appreciate Devaney answering questions to the point he is allowed to. Makes for good reads when he chats. He provides a lot of optimism for our future in this chat too.

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    Azul e Oro is offline Registered User
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    Re: Rams Chat Transcript: Devaney Q-&-A On Jim Thomas Live

    None of you draftniks want to speculate on which possible 2nd rounder DB has BD "drooling" ?

    Rahim Moore ?

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    Re: Rams Chat Transcript: Devaney Q-&-A On Jim Thomas Live

    I tell you one thing. A poster mentioned earlier in the chats about having faith in Billy Devaney, and criticized him for drafting Gilyard over Mike Williams, and Jason Smith over Eugene Monroe. Also for being in charge of two drafts now and not drafting a good receiver. I think this draft will determine exactly what kind of draft manager BD is, because at the moment, he seems conservative and just simply does not have the raw eye for hidden talent like others do. This is becoming a real concern for me. Dont get me wrong, the man has made nothing but smart decisions since he has arrived, he just hasn't impressed me with a flashy signing or impact draft player yet, other than Laurinaitis. Dont say jason smith because he hasn't even proven he can play the RT yet. And gilyard has just done NOTHING since he's been here.

    YOU better get this offseason right, Devaney. AND we better win more than 7 games!

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    shower beers's Avatar
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    Re: Rams Chat Transcript: Devaney Q-&-A On Jim Thomas Live

    Quote Originally Posted by rNemesis View Post
    I tell you one thing. A poster mentioned earlier in the chats about having faith in Billy Devaney, and criticized him for drafting Gilyard over Mike Williams, and Jason Smith over Eugene Monroe. Also for being in charge of two drafts now and not drafting a good receiver. I think this draft will determine exactly what kind of draft manager BD is, because at the moment, he seems conservative and just simply does not have the raw eye for hidden talent like others do. This is becoming a real concern for me. Dont get me wrong, the man has made nothing but smart decisions since he has arrived, he just hasn't impressed me with a flashy signing or impact draft player yet, other than Laurinaitis. Dont say jason smith because he hasn't even proven he can play the RT yet. And gilyard has just done NOTHING since he's been here.

    YOU better get this offseason right, Devaney. AND we better win more than 7 games!

    How about Roger Saffold? A player probably 0% of us predicted we would draft, but could have realistically been in the conversation for rookie of the year. Not to mentioning Bradford exceeding everyone's expectations this year. I don't think anyone believed he was going to be this good, this fast. Selvie in the 7th? I'll take 7th rounders like that every time. This very transcript mentions how cool it was for them (FO) to go over free agent DEs and realize Selvie and Simms are probably better than anyone they were looking at.

    Going along with that, Robbins maybe wasn't a "flashy" signing, but he certainly produced like one this year. And that's just this year. I could mention Fletcher, arguably our best corner, taken in the 3rd round, or Jason Brown, perhaps our "flashiest" free agent signing.

    I think you're drastically underestimating the impact he has had on our organization, my friend.

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