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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Veteran LB Draft joins club / Punter News

    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    03/20/2007


    After visiting Rams Park last week, free-agent linebacker Chris Draft left without a contract. He now has one.

    Draft became the latest offseason addition by the Rams, agreeing to terms on a three-year contract Monday night. The Rams also agreed to terms Monday on a one-year deal with cornerback Mike Rumph.

    At worst, Draft will provide quality depth at all three linebacker positions. But he could challenge Brandon Chillar for the starting spot at strongside linebacker.

    "We didn't promise him anything when it came to the position," coach Scott Linehan said. "But he's a proven player who has come in and played at a high level when he's been called upon to start. Certainly we're going to play the best 11 players on defense."

    Draft, 31, has started 71 regular-season games over a nine-year NFL career that has included stints with Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta and Carolina. Last season in Carolina, Draft started all 16 games, including 14 games at middle linebacker in place of the injured Dan Morgan. Draft registered 111 tackles, the second-highest total of his career, and also had a career-high 5 sacks.

    "He's a three-position player," Linehan said. "He's started actually at different times in his career at all three spots. He made an impression on us, certainly, when we played them."

    He had 1 sacks in Carolina's 15-0 victory over the Rams last year.

    Chillar is a restricted free agent, so it's possible he could get an offer sheet from another team over the next month. Weakside linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery and probably won't be able to go full-out until training camp. Unless Chillar ends up elsewhere, Draft is expected to work with the starting unit at the weakside spot during the full-squad minicamp and the light spring practices.

    Draft has a reputation as a good tackler who runs well. He also plays special teams. But at 5 feet 11, 232 pounds, he's not the biggest linebacker around.

    The addition of Draft probably ends any interest the Rams had in re-signing veteran Dexter Coakley.

    Rumph, 27, was a first-round draft pick by the San Francisco ***** in 2002 out of the University of Miami. He started 19 games in four seasons with San Francisco 16 at cornerback and three at free safety. Before the 2006 season, he was traded to Washington for wide receiver Taylor Jacobs.

    Because of injuries in the Redskins' secondary, Rumph saw a fair amount of action as a third cornerback in the nickel package. In seven games, Rumph registered 10 tackles with five pass breakups. He was released by the Redskins on Dec. 27, three days after a 37-31 overtime loss to the Rams.

    Rumph, who has good size at 6-2, 205 pounds, will compete for the No. 4 cornerback spot in St. Louis.

    Punters audition

    In another sign that negotiations with free agent Matt Turk may have reached a stalemate, the Rams worked out five free-agent punters Monday afternoon at Rams Park: Kyle Richardson, Thomas Olmstead, Nick Murphy, Micah Knorr and Freddy Capshaw. None was signed.

    Richardson, from Farmington, Mo., punted for Baltimore's Super Bowl XXXV championship squad and also has kicked for Miami, Seattle, Minnesota, Cincinnati and Cleveland. Murphy, a St. Louis native, has had brief stints with Baltimore, Kansas City and Philadelphia. Knorr has punted for Denver and Dallas in the past; Olmstead was in Miami's camp last summer; Capshaw is a former University of Florida punter.

    Earlier this offseason, the Rams signed former Green Bay punter B.J. Sander to a one-year contract.


  2. #2
    UtterBlitz's Avatar
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    Re: Veteran LB Draft joins club / Punter News

    Weakside linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery and probably won't be able to go full-out until training camp.
    Here is the answer on Pisa. He had surgery.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  3. #3
    Keenum's Avatar
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    Re: Veteran LB Draft joins club / Punter News

    I know the Steelers are going after Turk. Is there not much of a chance we'll get him back?

  4. #4
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    Re: Veteran LB Draft joins club / Punter News

    I don't know ,but getting all the seeds to plant and then selling the tractor is kinda lame! I like Turk!
    I stopped going to the dentist.......I got tired of the cavity searches!

  5. #5
    blood85's Avatar
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    Re: Veteran LB Draft joins club / Punter News

    I still don't know why we picked up Draft. Was he the best available?

  6. #6
    Fargo Ram Fan's Avatar
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    Re: Veteran LB Draft joins club / Punter News

    Quote Originally Posted by blood85 View Post
    I still don't know why we picked up Draft.
    DEPTH AT LB! Its a big part of what has made the Patriots such a solid D in recent years.
    "You people point your 'f'in' finger and say theres the bad guy....what that make you....good?" Tony Montana

  7. #7
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    Re: Veteran LB Draft joins club / Punter News

    *cough* Panthers? *cough*

  8. #8
    Fargo Ram Fan's Avatar
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    Re: Veteran LB Draft joins club / Punter News

    *cough* NO *cough* ....PATRIOTS!! Is there a more respected Defensive mind in the game than Bill Belichick? He normally stockpiles his roster with many LBs (currently they have 7 signed). They make good special teamers as well. The Rams have not had much depth at LB in recent years. How have the Rams D and special teams looked in recent seasons? I know Draft came from Carolina...that has nothing to do with my reference to the Pats.
    "You people point your 'f'in' finger and say theres the bad guy....what that make you....good?" Tony Montana

  9. #9
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    Re: Veteran LB Draft joins club / Punter News

    Patriots had less talent at WR than Torry Holt combined. What do they do? Win and go to the playoffs every year.

    Fargo has an excellent point.

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