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  1. #1
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    Rams need to show courage in the draft

    Bernie Miklasz
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Thursday, Apr. 23 2009
    The Rams' new management regime faces a crucial test in this weekend's NFL
    draft. For the second consecutive year, the Rams have the No. 2 overall choice.
    And here's the question: Will the franchise's football leaders buckle up and go
    for what they really want, rather than opting to play it safe?

    In 2008, the Rams circumvented risk by drafting Virginia defensive end Chris
    Long at No. 2 overall, even though they had LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey
    rated higher. Less than 48 hours before the draft, the Rams' board was adjusted
    to make Long's grade roughly equal to Dorsey's.

    The crew in the draft room also resisted team President John Shaw's urging to
    take a close look at Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan. The Rams stayed true
    to Long and Atlanta grabbed Ryan with the No. 3 overall selection.

    I had no problem with the Rams taking Long. He'll be a very good player in the
    NFL. But I will always wonder if the Rams took Long for the wrong reasons.

    When it comes time to make the big decision Saturday, I hope that Rams GM Billy
    Devaney and associates follow the strength of their convictions rather than cop
    out and settle for a noncontroversial choice.

    The conventional wisdom is that the Rams must absolutely, positively draft an
    offensive tackle either Jason Smith (Baylor) or Eugene Monroe (Virginia).

    Not so fast ...

    Look, if Devaney, the scouts and the coaches truly believe that Smith or Monroe
    is the second-best player in this draft then they should go with it. But don't
    take an OT at No. 2 overall for the wrong reason.

    You don't draft one of these guys just because Orlando Pace's time in St. Louis
    came to a close. You don't draft Smith or Monroe because you are thin at the
    position. And you certainly don't draft Smith or Monroe because you subscribe
    to the misguided theory that it's imperative to use a premium pick to secure a
    cornerstone left tackle.

    True, the 1999 Rams (with Pace) and the 2000 Baltimore Ravens (Jonathan Ogden)
    won Super Bowls with left tackles chosen among the top three overall.

    But among more recent Super Bowl champions, only the 2006 Indianapolis Colts
    had a starting offensive tackle (Tarik Glenn) who was drafted in the first
    round.

    Matt Light started for New England's three Super Bowl champions as well as
    their 16-0 team in 2007; Light was a second-round draft pick, No. 48 overall.

    The 2007 New York Giants' left tackle was a fifth-round draft pick, David
    Diehl. The 2002 Tampa Bay Bucs started a third-round choice, Roman Oben, at LT.
    The 2005 and 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers won Super Bowls with either Marvel Smith
    (second round) or Max Starks (third round) playing LT. Going back a bit
    further, the 1998 Denver Broncos' left tackle was Tony Jones, who wasn't
    drafted. Savvy personnel guys can find tackles later in the draft.

    Is Smith or Monroe worthy of the No. 2 choice and the guaranteed up-front money
    that could top $20 million? Perhaps but only if Devaney genuinely believes
    that Smith or Monroe will be a franchise-foundation player for 10 seasons.

    The Rams must think long term. Don't draft with short-term goals as the
    priority, because this team needs to rebuild, and you aren't going to win big
    in '09, if at all. You have to put the emphasis on building the kind of team
    you want to have in 2010, 2011 and beyond.

    Should the Rams trade down? By all means, yes. It takes no football acumen to
    figure that one out. And perhaps some crazed owner (Washington's Dan Snyder?)
    will lust after USC quarterback Mark Sanchez and make the Rams a spectacular
    offer.

    But for now, let's just assume the Rams stay at No. 2.

    We've already discussed the folly of settling for an offensive tackle for the
    wrong reason.

    If the Rams believe Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry is a talent that you can
    build around, then do it. I don't care that they already have three starting
    linebackers in place for 2009. Again: think long-term.

    The same logic applies to Sanchez. I don't care that the Rams invested a bunch
    of money in Marc Bulger in 2007. He can be cut a year from now with no major
    salary-cap repercussions. Sanchez reportedly wowed Devaney and staff with his
    visit to Rams Park, and his skills fit the team's plan to run a West Coast
    offense.

    I'm not campaigning for Sanchez. But if the Rams love him and believe that
    Sanchez is the franchise quarterback who can lead them into successful new era,
    then they shouldn't lose their nerve. They can't pass on Sanchez just because
    Joey Harrington, Ryan Leaf and David Carr were epic draft-day busts. You can't
    be afraid to take a QB this early just because some other teams screwed up in
    the past. You can't be frightened to take Sanchez out fear that a bunch of
    media simpletons will accuse you of drafting the next Alex Smith.

    If the Rams are convinced that Sanchez is the one, then they should be bold,
    man up and make him the chosen one.



  2. #2
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    Re: Rams need to show courage in the draft

    agree with bernie in the most part of this article...dont believe we picked Long for "the wrong reasons" but the rest i totally agree with.

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    Re: Rams need to show courage in the draft

    No can say Bernie is blowing smoke about this. He's right.

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    Re: Rams need to show courage in the draft

    I subscribe to take the best player on the board reguardless of position. I heard Bob Knight on espn radio talking about a pass NBA draft, he said he was good friends with the then owner of Portland and told him he was lucky because he had the first pick in the draft, and he could pick Michael Jorden. The owner told him they needed a center. Knight said play MJ at center. Portland took center Sam Bowie.
    :ramlogo:

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    Re: Rams need to show courage in the draft

    How is Bernie "right"? He didn't really say anything.

    The Rams should take the player they think is the best available.

    Great. There's a real ground shaker.

    I don't buy the whole "they had Dorsey rated higher but took Long anyway" nonsense. I've heard the decisionmakers deny this repeatedly, but Bernie keeps repeating it as if its gospel. Bernie just has a hard time letting go of his pet theories.

    In the end, a team should consider both perceived talent and need. You don't take a "B" player over an "A" player because of need. However, if you are deciding between prospects who are all in the A range, need has to be a factor.

    The best part, though, is Bernie ripping "media simpletons." Mr. Pot, meet Mr. Kettle.

  6. #6
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    Re: Rams need to show courage in the draft

    Quote Originally Posted by eldfan View Post
    I subscribe to take the best player on the board reguardless of position. I heard Bob Knight on espn radio talking about a pass NBA draft, he said he was good friends with the then owner of Portland and told him he was lucky because he had the first pick in the draft, and he could pick Michael Jorden. The owner told him they needed a center. Knight said play MJ at center. Portland took center Sam Bowie.
    Portland actually had the second overall pick in the draft and they already had a great player in Clyde Drexler playing Jordan's position. You also needed a big man to win in the NBA back then but that's a different point altogether. You're not going to draft a quarterback with your first pick even if he is the best player available if you have Peyton Manning in his prime on your team.

    I'm alright with whoever the Rams pick as long as it's an OT or Curry.

  7. #7
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    Re: Rams need to show courage in the draft

    How is he right? This team has so many holes that they can afford to go in alot of directions. Even though they may have more hustle this year, winning is far fetched. Why not take the best player available in every round and build this team?

  8. #8
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    Re: Rams need to show courage in the draft

    Quote Originally Posted by txramsfan View Post
    How is he right? This team has so many holes that they can afford to go in alot of directions. Even though they may have more hustle this year, winning is far fetched. Why not take the best player available in every round and build this team?
    If the best player was a RB, would you take him with the second pick, even though we just signed a 25 year old RB to a huge contract? I sure wouldn't.

    In the end, it has to be a mix of talent and need. If they view Curry, Sanchez or Crabtree as a 98/100 prospect, and view the OTs as 90/100 prospects then, by all means, go with the BPA.

    My read on things, though, is that they view the OTs and Curry as comparable talents. That's where need comes in as a key tiebreaker.

  9. #9
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    Re: Rams need to show courage in the draft

    Probably, it's a two back league. Man, this draft isn't very good. I'd almost give up our first round pick for Braylon Edwards. I'll put it this way, if there was a back like Ladanian Tomlinson coming this year and the Rams drafted him, I'd be cool with that. There isn't.

  10. #10
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    Re: Rams need to show courage in the draft

    We'll just have to agree to disagree on that one, Tx. I wouldn't take Eric Dickerson with this year's #2 pick if he were coming out of college.

    Remember... on draft day, the Rams didn't know what Dickerson would accomplish. For all they knew at that time, he could have had Curtis Ennis' career.

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    Re: Rams need to show courage in the draft

    I'll buy that but I honestly think that Bernie thought that there wasn't an Eric Dickerson coming out this year. I honestly feel this is a really weak top 10, and I think that's what Bernie was saying also. Go ahead and take the best player on the board at 2, whether it's Curry/Smith/Monroe/Sanchez. If that's what you feel Devaney, trust your judgement. This team needs help. Like he said, the hit dropping Bulger wouldn't be as severe in 2010 as it would be this year.

  12. #12
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    Re: Rams need to show courage in the draft

    It sounds like Bernie is setting himself up to be able to slam the Rams if they do the "cowardly" thing and go with the safe, prudent, boring OT pick.

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    Re: Rams need to show courage in the draft

    Im with AV on this one. He talks about taking the BPA, then he goes on about drafting Sanchez, who I doubt the Rams have higher than both the OTs and Curry. He is wrong on this one IMO

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    Re: Rams need to show courage in the draft

    Of course, if Bernie possessed the courage he is advocating, perhaps he'd tell us who he thinks the Rams should take.

  15. #15
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    Re: Rams need to show courage in the draft

    I'll agree with most of what the lard had to say, put how is it that he can put into print inaccurate assumptions as facts? Was he in the Rams war room last year? Did he see our big board two days before the draft? If so could he print a special draft edition in the PD about what our board looks like this year, i would love to see that. Media simpletons are all just a bunch of guys who sit around and guess what the Rams should do. I do agree that we need to take the BPA though, so yea as far as Bernie goes, pretty good article.

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