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  1. #1
    MauiRam's Avatar
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    Rams considering taking O-lineman in Round 1

    Rams considering taking O-lineman in Round 1


    2 hours ago • By Jim Thomas

    INDIANAPOLIS • When it comes to drafting offensive linemen in the first round, Jeff Fisher made it crystal clear Friday that history may not repeat itself.

    In his 16 full seasons as head coach of the Houston-Tennessee franchise, Fisher never drafted an offensive lineman in the first round.

    So would he be comfortable taking a guard or tackle in the first round as he prepares for his second NFL draft with the Rams?

    “Yeah. I’d draft just about any position in the first round, except maybe a kicker or punter,” Fisher said. “We don’t need those.”

    That can’t be said about the offensive line, particularly the left guard and right tackle positions. Those are definite areas of need.

    Asked the same question earlier Friday, general manager Les Snead also kept the door wide open.

    “Here’s what we need. We need the best players,” Snead said. “Traditionally guard, right tackle, maybe they’re not valued for some reason.”

    But if a guard or right tackle is “gonna actually dominate, help us really become a dominant team, draft that,” Snead said.

    Apparently, those weren’t idle comments, because offensive tackles Lane Johnson of Oklahoma and D.J. Fluker of Alabama both said they had formal — or “suite” — interviews with the Rams at the NFL scouting combine. Fluker’s took place Thursday night and Johnson’s on Friday evening.

    Teams can hold such interviews with only 60 players in this year’s total of 333 combine participants, so teams must be judicious in how they fill out their guest list. Johnson is considered the third-best tackle prospect at the draft; Fluker is considered the fourth-best. That means both could be in range when the Rams pick at No. 16 and No. 22 overall in the first round.

    But whether it’s on the offensive line, or at the skill positions, the Rams want to improve the league’s 25th-ranked scoring offense and 23rd-ranked total offense from 2012.

    “Obviously we want to get better in scoring offense,” Snead said. “That’s the No. 1 priority. Score points, win games.

    “Offensive playmakers and weapons come in all shapes and sizes. They can be 5 foot 8, they can be 6 foot 5. They can come in and help you block and score points that way. They can also be on the defensive side of the ball, because if you keep that team from scoring that helps your offense.”

    Complicating the task is the uncertain status of two of the team’s top offensive players: running back Steven Jackson and wide receiver Danny Amendola. Amendola is an unrestricted free agent; Jackson becomes one if he voids — as expected — the final year of his contract before the start of free agency March 12.

    “We’ve had discussions with Eugene Parker (Jackson’s agent), and thus far things look good,” Fisher said. “I think it’s identifying what both sides want moving forward. ‘Jack’ knows how I feel about him and that we want him back. But we’ve got time. We’ve got a few more weeks and we’ll see where it goes.”

    Weighing Amendola’s value is complicated by injury issues over the past two seasons.

    “Just like intangibles come into play, just like physical skill comes into play, just like production comes into play, your ability to be on the field comes into play,” Snead said. “That’s a fact of life. I think everybody knows it, and I’d be remiss to not tell you that. So yes, you have to weigh that.”

    But any uncertainty on Jackson or Amendola has not affected the scouting department in terms of preparation for the draft or free agency.

    “They’re gonna know the whole board,” Snead said.

    Besides, Fisher pointed out that the Rams will have a feel on what happens with Jackson and Amendola long before the draft in late April, and even before the start of free agency March 12.

    Obviously, losing Jackson and Amendola would put holes in those plans to upgrade the offense.

    “We’ve said all along, we’d like to have both of them back,” Fisher said. “They’re key members of our team. But if that doesn’t happen, you have to address and fill those voids.”

    Another good offseason in terms of player acquisition could make the Rams bona fide playoff contenders in 2013. But Fisher is a big believer in player development and feels members of his rookie-laden 2012 roster have plenty of room to improve, starting with the offseason conditioning program and on into training camp and the preseason.

    On offense, that list includes wide receivers Brian Quick and Chris Givens, and running backs Daryl Richardson, Isaiah Pead and Terrance Ganaway. All were rookies last season.

    “They’re no longer rookies,” Fisher said. “They understand what they have to go through. They’re gonna come in for the offseason program and they’re gonna improve. We identify strengths and weaknesses in not only the younger players but all of our players — and you have to address those things during the offseason.”

    And at the end of the day, some combination of Richardson, Pead and Ganaway could be called upon to replace Jackson.

    “They’re options,” Fisher said. “I’m not one to deal in hypotheticals. We drafted Isaiah because we felt like he has a chance to be a good back, not necessarily just a change of pace back for ‘Jack,’ but the guy. Daryl can be the guy. Most everybody is using multiple backs in their offense. Ganaway has an opportunity. And there’s a number of really good backs in the draft this year.”


  2. #2
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Rams considering taking O-lineman in Round 1

    There's no reason why they shouldn't; it looks like a great class for a first round OL.

  3. #3
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    Re: Rams considering taking O-lineman in Round 1

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    There's no reason why they shouldn't; it looks like a great class for a first round OL.
    I'm not saying they won't. They certainly well may. But....

    ....'tis the season to be misleading, fa la la la la, la la la la.
    "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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    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: Rams considering taking O-lineman in Round 1

    And at the end of the day, some combination of Richardson, Pead and Ganaway could be called upon to replace Jackson.
    Call me crazy, but I don't have a problem going into 2013 with these 3 if (God forbid) S-Jax goes elsewhere. The run game is still important, but I firmly believe in this day and age, the answer can be found in RB committees like this instead of feature backs.

    But HUb, I'm quite certain that Gore and Rice would disagree with you if they weren't too busy playing in the Super Bowl!

    Yes, I agree, both SB teams had a feature back. But I think there were plenty of factors above feature back that put them in the SB.

    I don't want S-Jax to leave. I think he's got another year, maybe two, in him. But if he does, I'm not that excited about spending FA dollars or a high pick on his replacement. I think we have his replacement. It's just that his replacement occupies 3 lockers instead of just 1.
    "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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    Re: Rams considering taking O-lineman in Round 1

    Personally, I don't take a lot of stock in press interviews and public prouncements-HCs and GMs say a lot without really saying anything (smoke and mirrors). And why should they?

    I can't think of a team in the NFL that will tell the others their whole draft strategy or what they are planning for the upcoming season. Might as well handout copies of your play book. This is an odd year for the Rams--they are not drafting in the top 10.

    Wouldn't doubt the Rams have a secret wish list and are keeping an eye on who and what they want. Right now FO has to talk to the fans without saying anything meaningful and address matters in "general" terms.

    But in terms of drafting a lineman in the first round--I wouldn't put any money bets on it happening. I suspect they are looking long and hard at 2nd and 3rd round possible picks for line help. My instincts say they are looking for WR/TE and Safty help

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