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Thread: Rams Team Report - Jun 8
Rams Team Report - Jun 8
Rams Team Report
Yahoo! Sports - Jun 8
He doesn't turn 21 until May 18 after entering the NFL draft with eligibility remaining. He didn't play during his senior season at North Carolina because of a violation of NCAA rules.
Finally, he has been playing since his senior year in high school with a benign brain tumor that is checked out every six months.
Don't accuse Rams general manager Billy Devaney of making safe picks anymore.
Devaney and the Rams made all the work they did on North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn pay off when they made him the 14th pick in the draft.
Said Devaney, "We certainly spent a lot of time evaluating Robert Quinn, but as we got closer to the draft, we thought it would be great if he was there. We didn't really think there would be much of a chance to be there at 14. We had a good group of guys right up to the end, a pool of players that we would have been happy with. It was kind of like (Rodger) Saffold was last year, quite honestly. The grade we had on Quinn was significantly higher than the other players in the pool, so it wound up being a really easy decision."
Quinn was one of the 19 players that visited the team recently and both Devaney and coach Steve Spagnuolo said he made a strong impact on everyone".
"Everybody really liked him," Devaney said. "He made a great impression with the people in the building and it just seems like a real good fit, so we're thrilled to have the guy."
While Spagnuolo has a defensive background, when he was asked about his desire to pick a pass rusher, he said, "We all know that this league ... everybody does. He was one of those guys that fell in that group. He's a great kid. Like Billy said, we had him two weeks ago and we kind of meshed pretty well, so we were very fortunate when we saw that he was there."
The tumor, which is the size of about a dime, was discovered during his senior year in high school when he was acting strange and in one incident made a wrong turn while driving home. The tumor was blocking the spinal cavity and fluid would build up causing swelling in the brain.
Surgery to remove the tumor was ruled out because it was too close to the spinal column.
Said Devaney, "Obviously, our doctors spent a lot of time researching and talking to experts and talking to people at Chapel Hill. He's never had any problem when he was at North Carolina. They discovered this when he was in high school and he's played with it and our doctors, as we called around the league, the majority of the teams were comfortable with his condition also."
He is checked every six months to ensure there has been no accumulation of fluid.
Meanwhile, Quinn and two teammates were suspended for the 2010 season for receiving improper benefits from an agent.
In Quinn's case, the NCAA said he received two diamond watches, a pair of matching earrings and travel to Miami worth more than $5,600. He also initially lied to NCAA investigators.
Said Spagnuolo, "He did make a mistake. All of the research, everybody you talked to, it was out of character for him. I sat down with him, of course we talked about that. I felt very comfortable with the response. This is a kid that's from a great family and a quality upbringing. He's a quality guy there. We all make mistakes, he made one. He knows he's paid for it a little and he's ready to move on."
Asked if there were additional background checks necessary, Devaney said. "You really didn't have to. Once you started delving into the kid, you found out exactly what happened. Like Steve said, it was a mistake. He fessed up to it. Honestly, when you're around this guy, you'll see what kind of guy he is. He's the furthest thing from a criminal, thug, bad kid, nothing like that at all. He made a rookie mistake, a dumb college mistake, and he paid the price for it."
Spagnuolo wanted to talk mostly about what Quinn is capable of doing on the field.
Noting his ability as a pass rusher, Spagnuolo said, "Like all these young guys that are speed guys, that's kind of what they've made their name on. He's going to have to learn how to be a six-technique and hold up against the run. There are some pretty good tight ends in the league.
"But he's got a good coach coaching him (defensive line coach) Brendan Daly. I think he's got guys around him, especially guys like (defensive end) James Hall who has been in the league a long time and can help him out. I'm just anxious to see him grow as a football player."
Asked about knocking the rust off after missing last season, Spagnuolo said, "It's going to take a little while. I think any young guy takes a little while, depending on the position. But I think we're fortunate in that we do have some defensive ends that can help him out. He's got a little bit of time and when he's ready to go, he'll be thrown in there. But we just think the quality of the player was ... we were very fortunate to get."
The Rams were also impressed that after the suspension, Quinn stayed around the team while his suspended teammates didn't.
"He was at Chapel Hill, and that was one of the things that came back when we talked to the people there," Devaney said. "There were some guys there that fell into the same category that they really didn't see. Robert was one that was in the weight room every day. They said the guy loves football. He's passionate about football. He wants to be a great player, and he stayed around the program the whole year."
Finally, Devaney joked that Quinn is the second consecutive first-round pick the Rams have made that barely played their final college season. Quarterback Sam Bradford missed most of his final season at Oklahoma because of a shoulder injury.
He said, "I promise at one point, if we're here long enough, we're going to take a player in the first round that plays their current year in college. It worked out last year, it didn't really seem to affect that guy, so we don't expect it to affect this guy."
Linebacker James Laurinaitis made an appearance on NFL Network with Steve Wyche and Bucky Brooks and said another player-organized "minicamp" will be held in Arizona this week from Thursday through Sunday.
When the team had workouts at Lindenwood the week of May 23, it was reported there would be more workouts in Arizona in June.
Wyche wrote that, "Not all of the work will be on field either. (Ron) Bartell, Laurinaitis and other players have video of previous years' games, and players will get the chance to break down film during the minicamp. Laurinaitis stressed the importance of getting as much film and class work done now so players will be ready when the lockout ends.
"Laurinaitis added that quarterback Sam Bradford has plays from new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels' playbook but without being coached how McDaniels wants the plays to be run, there is only so much to be gained.
"Laurinaitis compared what offensive players are going through in trying to learn a new offense during the lockout to learning Spanish from an English-Spanish dictionary. Words can be learned, but to understand the language and speak it fluently, it has to be taught and spoken frequently, Laurinaitis said."
Also this week, Rams defensive tackle Fred Robbins is hosting the team's defensive linemen in Florida for workouts. Robbins said rookie defensive end Robert Quinn is expected to attend.
St. Louis Rams wide receiver Mardy Gilyard's agent denied a rumor that his client asked for a trade. "never requested a trade," agent Andy Simms tweeted Saturday in response to a rumor from ESPN St. Louis' Rick Venturi, who cited that Gilyard hasn't attended player workouts. The Rams did use third- and fourth-round picks on receivers in April's NFL Draft, but Gilyard has also been recovering from offseason wrist surgery, according to ProFootballTalk.com.
After the Rams selected safety Jermale Hines, coach Steve Spagnuolo and general manager Billy Devaney joked about adding another Ohio State player to the roster.
Speaking of Buckeye James Laurinaitis, the Rams' middle linebacker, Spagnuolo said, "I didn't want to listen to him yell at me because we didn't take an Ohio State guy, right?"
Said Devaney, "We started panicking a little bit. We realized it was getting late in the day and we hadn't added a Buckeye to the defense, so we thought we'd better not waste anymore time."
In the fifth round, the Rams traded with Atlanta and moved down 13 spots while picking up a seventh-round choice.
Asked why the Rams weren't able to get a sixth-round choice, in a round they didn't have a pick, Devaney said, "In kind of the history of the draft, once you get into the fifth round, fifth-, sixth- , seventh-round guys making the team, it's not that great a difference from fifth rounders to seventh rounders. So if you can, in our mind, stockpile some extra picks, you're kind of playing the odds of hitting on a couple of guys.
"We didn't move back that far. It just dictated, we weren't going to get a sixth-round pick. The value, the compensation, didn't come close to being a sixth-round pick. The seventh-round pick was exactly the value of that trade."
The draft ended without the Rams adding more depth b behind running back Steven Jackson.
Said Spagnuolo, "That's been in the discussion, and then you sit there and say, 'OK, here's where we're at. Which one do we want to take now?' You can't get them, whatever the 'needs' are, if somebody has a number on them, it's hard to get them all filled in a draft. That's why you have free agency and you have trades. I know Billy and the staff and everybody is doing their best job to get good football players."
Said Devaney, "Hopefully we get to the point - I think we are - we're not that far off that we go into a draft and we can be more position specific. We still have areas that we have to fill, and we're not going to do it all in seven rounds of a draft. That's just the reality of it. Fortunately, we're not kicking off next Sunday. We have whatever needs that aren't filled these next couple rounds and whatever we don't get in this draft, there's other ways to go about filling those needs, and we still realize what they are and what we have to do."
Asked if they hoped to get a running back in the draft, Devaney said, "No, we never really said we have to. If it happened, it happened. It was probably close a couple of times and we didn't force it, like, 'Gosh, we better reach for this guy because we have to have a running back.' There were running backs that we were thinking about taking and they went before our next pick came up. But we didn't react by saying, 'OK, we lost the back. Now we've got to drop down in value in this round and take a back no matter what if he doesn't warrant going there.' It didn't work out."
Cornerback Mikail Baker and Rams tackle Jason Smith were teammates at Baylor.
Asked about their relationship, Baker said, "Me and Jason have been playing for a lot of years, before we even got to Baylor. We were both raised in Dallas and we were in the same district for four years. I mean for three years, I played against him. He played for W.T. White and I played for Skyline, so I've known Jason for a long time.
"He also is a converted player. When I first got there, we were both on the offensive side of the ball. He played tight end, I played receiver, but Jason couldn't catch a cold so that's why he played tackle."
Baker was switched from receiver to cornerback during his career at Baylor.
Jesse Farmer, a senior at Pattonville High School in the St. Louis area, attended the draft as a guest of the Rams and did the announcement of the team's fourth-round pick.
Farmer played football at Pattonville, and his family home was destroyed by the tornados that hit on April 22. Farmer and his entire family attended the draft.
Strategy and Personnel
CB Justin King: Potential RFA; terms unknown.
WR Andrew Hawkins: FA Montreal-CFL; terms unknown.
S Oshiomogho Atogwe (released).
FB Mike Karney (released).
Re: Rams Team Report - Jun 8
I can't wait for free agency to start. I have a feeling DeSpags has something real good cookin'!
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