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  1. #1
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    St. Louis Rams mull options at offensive tackle with No. 2 pick

    BY JIM THOMAS
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Wednesday, Apr. 15 2009
    Michael Oher of Mississippi appears to have faded out of the top 10. The same
    holds for Andre Smith of Alabama.

    For a team with a top pick — like the Rams at No. 2 overall — that leaves only
    two possible options at offensive tackle in the upcoming draft: Eugene Monroe
    of Virginia and Jason Smith of Baylor.

    There are some at Rams Park who like Monroe better — he's generally viewed as a
    more athletic pass blocker. There are some who favor Jason Smith — he's
    generally viewed as a more aggressive run blocker.

    But is either really good enough to take at No. 2 overall? Keeping in mind that
    only the Rams' opinion matters, there seems to be a difference of opinion on
    that question around the National Football League.

    "They're good, but they're not like Orlando (Pace)," said a veteran NFC scout,
    speaking on the condition of anonymity. "They're not even close to Pace and
    (Jonathan) Ogden and those guys, where you turn on the tape and say, 'Oh my
    God, he looks like a Hall of Famer.' Walter Jones — he was way up there. Those
    guys are rare."

    There are some scouts and coaches who feel that Michigan offensive tackle Jake
    Long, who went to Miami with the No. 1 overall pick, had that same kind of
    potential coming out of college.

    As for Monroe and Jason Smith?

    "Monroe, I hate the way he finishes," said a veteran NFC offensive line coach,
    also speaking on the condition of anonymity. "At the end of the play, if you
    watch tape on him, he watches. He has his hands down by his side, the ball
    carrier isn't tackled, and he makes no effort to get out in front of anybody,
    to go out and pick somebody off a pile."

    When asked about Jason Smith, the line coach said: "The kid from Baylor, I
    think he's a better run blocker right now than he is a pass blocker. He's a
    little stiff.

    "If you have him on the left side, and you're going to have him be the personal
    protector for your quarterback — early in his career he's going to struggle
    more than he's going to have success. He's going to have to have some help,
    which a lot of rookies do."

    But it's not as if Jason Smith and Monroe don't have their backers. Tom Marino,
    a longtime NFL scout who now serves as lead NFL analyst for Scout.com, likes
    Smith.

    "He's a very good player," Marino said.

    And he really likes Monroe.

    "First of all, he gets out there (in space) and he can adjust in the open field
    as well as anyone I've seen," Marino said. "He's a real force out there. I'm
    not going to say he's Orlando because Orlando's the best I've ever seen, but he
    can play for 10-12 years and you don't even worry about the thing. If they got
    Monroe (in St. Louis), they upgrade themselves enormously over what they had
    last year."

    Which ironically enough was Pace, 12 years into his career and coming off
    back-to-back injury-plagued seasons.

    Some think Jason Smith might be better-suited to playing right tackle in the
    NFL, particularly as a rookie. And if the Rams are serious about keeping Alex
    Barron at left tackle in 2009, the veteran NFC scout said, "Jason Smith might
    be their guy. Then you can always move him to left tackle after next year. Some
    guys aren't crazy about him ... but he'll start and be solid. He's a pretty
    tenacious guy in the run game."

    Over the years, there have been very few busts among offensive tackles taken in
    the top 10 in the draft. Robert Gallery, taken No. 2 by Oakland in 2004, is the
    only player among the first eight selections in that year's draft that hasn't
    made a Pro Bowl. But he has turned into a solid guard since the position
    switch. The only other player who might be considered a bust is Mike Williams,
    who was taken No. 4 overall by Buffalo in '02.

    But of the 15 other offensive tackles taken in the top 10 since 1995 — the year
    the Rams moved to St. Louis — 10 have made it to at least one Pro Bowl. The
    other five have been productive starters.

    "Tackles are a good, solid safe pick," said Charley Armey, the former Rams
    general manager. "Usually what you see is what you get in that position. The
    thing they give you is some longevity in the spot; that's the thing that's so
    nice about it."

    But a strong track record at the position doesn't guarantee that Monroe or
    Jason Smith will be Pro Bowlers. Which begs the question, what will the Rams'
    do if they end up with a significantly higher grade on Wake Forest linebacker
    Aaron Curry than either offensive tackle?

    "You've got a rare guy at linebacker now," said the NFC line coach. "And (the
    Rams) have just as many pressing needs on defense."

    But that's a story for another day.



  2. #2
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    Re: St. Louis Rams mull options at offensive tackle with No. 2 pick

    This is why we should take Curry. Few LBs Have ever been Ranked This High Recently, Besides It's Clear to say There Will Be Plenty 1st Round Talent 0T-0G in the 2nd and 3rd. Besides Jackson did Pretty Well With the Line We had last year. adding a 1st round talent from round 2nd won't Hurt.

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    Re: St. Louis Rams mull options at offensive tackle with No. 2 pick

    im for jason smith in the first, then bpa from dt, mlb or wr in the second.

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    Re: St. Louis Rams mull options at offensive tackle with No. 2 pick

    Quote Originally Posted by rams 24/7 View Post
    Besides It's Clear to say There Will Be Plenty 1st Round Talent 0T-0G in the 2nd and 3rd.
    Explain to me how that's clear.

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    Re: St. Louis Rams mull options at offensive tackle with No. 2 pick

    According to this article Monroe is a better pass blocker and Smith is a better run blocker.

    1. If in fact we are going to be more of smash mouth, run it down their throats type of offense. (Favors Jason Smith)

    2. We have to keep Marc Bulger on his feet. (Favors Monroe)

    3. Is Alex Barron better at left tackle as opposed to right tackle? If he is.
    (Favors Jason Smith) If not. (Favors Monroe)

    4. Which is harder to teach and improve on, Pass Blocking or Run Blocking?

    Are there to many questionables to make a decision on either guy?

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    Re: St. Louis Rams mull options at offensive tackle with No. 2 pick

    Quote Originally Posted by rams 24/7 View Post
    This is why we should take Curry. Few LBs Have ever been Ranked This High Recently, Besides It's Clear to say There Will Be Plenty 1st Round Talent 0T-0G in the 2nd and 3rd. Besides Jackson did Pretty Well With the Line We had last year. adding a 1st round talent from round 2nd won't Hurt.
    How will there be plenty of first round talents in the second round?

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    Re: St. Louis Rams mull options at offensive tackle with No. 2 pick

    I've said many times that I favor Monroe, but if I were to quantify it in terms of a scale of 100, it would probably be Monroe 51.5/Smith 49.5. I could pretty much flip a coin.

    The factor that, in my mind, gives Monroe the slight advantage is the fact that Smith played from a stand-up stance in the Baylor offense much of the time. That should not be a long term issue, but it might make his transition a bit longer.

    Whoever the Rams take, I won't second guess it, though. Unlike the team, I have not watched hours of film on each, nor have I interviewed them. Clearly, the Rams will have strong reasons for choosing whoever they choose.

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    Re: St. Louis Rams mull options at offensive tackle with No. 2 pick

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    I've said many times that I favor Monroe, but if I were to quantify it in terms of a scale of 100, it would probably be Monroe 51.5/Smith 49.5. I could pretty much flip a coin.

    The factor that, in my mind, gives Monroe the slight advantage is the fact that Smith played from a stand-up stance in the Baylor offense much of the time. That should not be a long term issue, but it might make his transition a bit longer.

    Whoever the Rams take, I won't second guess it, though. Unlike the team, I have not watched hours of film on each, nor have I interviewed them. Clearly, the Rams will have strong reasons for choosing whoever they choose.
    I agree. I think it's basically a coin flip between Smith and Monroe, and it really depends on what you're looking for.

    On one hand, you can make an easy argument for Smith. He has more upside because he's still working on his technique and pass blocking skills. He is considered to be more aggressive in the running game and had to impress teams by speaking at the combine about his desire to "physically assault" his opposition on the field. For the Rams, an aggressive run blocker who has the athletic ability to mirror as well as get out in space on screen passes could be very intriguing.

    But then you can turn around and make an equally good case for Monroe. He comes from a great program whom the Rams already feel comfortable with. He's the more polished of the two players, and what he lacks in Smith's aggression he makes up for with intelligence and outstanding technique. I think he has the best feet in this draft and is the class' best pass protector, and when you're selecting a franchise left tackle, pass protection has to be at the top of the list. I think Monroe's run blocking skills are better than some would have you believe, and he's capable of stepping in and playing at a high level from Day One.

    IMO, the Rams could easily justify either pick. These guys have the work ethics to help them succeed at the next level. They are high character individuals who would be great additions to any team. While my personal preference leans slightly towards Monroe, I would be very happy with either. I'd love to be a fly on the wall of the Rams' Draft War Room to hear how their first-round discussion plays out.

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    Re: St. Louis Rams mull options at offensive tackle with No. 2 pick

    Most of the negative points made about both OL candidates in this article can be resolved with coaching (assuming good attitudes and willingness to learn). I do agree that the Rams have glaring needs on both side of the ball. I'm going to trust in the new regime's ability to identify their greatest need, weigh that against the availability of the best player on the board, and make the right decision. Is it possible that we'll still have huge holes to fill? Absolutely. As long as the #2 selection fills one of those holes, I'll be content with the pick.
    That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!!

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    Re: St. Louis Rams mull options at offensive tackle with No. 2 pick

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    ... if I were to quantify it in terms of a scale of 100, it would probably be Monroe 51.5/Smith 49.5.
    Where did you learn maths?



    On a serious note, I said a couple of days ago that both of the leading tackles in this year's class have serious concerns and I'm still convinced that Michael Oher could well turn out to be the best LT in this draft in a couple of years' time. Given that draftniks tend to be like sheep and go with what the current flavour of the month may be, Oher has slipped out of the top ten. He could represent great value IF we can trade down.

    If we can't, I'd pick Curry at number two.

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    Re: St. Louis Rams mull options at offensive tackle with No. 2 pick

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    ...I think it's basically a coin flip between Smith and Monroe, and it really depends on what you're looking for.

    ...IMO, the Rams could easily justify either pick. These guys have the work ethics to help them succeed at the next level. They are high character individuals who would be great additions to any team. While my personal preference leans slightly towards Monroe, I would be very happy with either.
    ‘E x a c t a m e n t e, seρor!

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    Re: St. Louis Rams mull options at offensive tackle with No. 2 pick

    Besides Jackson did Pretty Well With the Line We had last year.
    Hmmm ok, how well did Marc do behind this line last year?

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    Re: St. Louis Rams mull options at offensive tackle with No. 2 pick

    I could also see us trading down a few spots, and maybe getting another offensive tackle still in the first few picks.

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