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Thread: Burwell: Rams Need A Tackle, Not A Quarterback

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    Burwell: Rams Need A Tackle, Not A Quarterback

    Burwell: Rams need a tackle, not a quarterback

    5 hours ago • By BRYAN BURWELL bburwell@post-dispatch.com

    When Jeff Fisher and Les Snead step to the podium inside the Rams Park main auditorium this afternoon to meet the local media for their final pre-NFL draft chit chat, I almost expect to see the coach and general manager of the Rams emerge from the billowing clouds of some giant smoke machine like their players do during some elaborate pregame introduction.

    Yes, wouldn’t that be perfect?

    Welcome to the smoke-and-mirrors portion of NFL draft week, the carefully orchestrated blanket of subterfuge, misdirection, intelligence gathering and harmless white lies that swaddle the little tidbits of truth that accidentally slip out in the final 48 to 72 hours before pro football’s annual offseason talent show begins.

    The trick, boys and girls, is being able to find the tiny grains of fact that are buried deep in the fictional muck. Here we are two days out from Thursday night’s first round, and Fisher and Snead have done a fine job of playing the game as well as anyone in their business. They hold the No. 2 and No. 13 picks in the first round, and they’re doing their best to try to create uncertainty (or a potential trade market) about their plans, even though it seems so obvious what they need to do.

    Once Houston selects South Carolina’s defensive freak of nature Jadeveon Clowney with the No. 1 pick, it should take the Rams no less than five or six seconds to turn their card in and pick a giant offensive tackle (Jake Matthews or Greg Robinson) quick, fast and in a hurry.

    But that would be too easy, wouldn’t it? What’s the fun in that?

    What we need is intrigue.

    What we need is uncertainty.

    What we need are .... more Johnny Manziel rumors!

    We’ve been hearing this stuff for weeks now, but it has built to the point that a lot of smart folks in NFL circles are trying to figure out if the Rams are bluffing or if Fisher and Snead have found true Johnny Football religion.

    “I just got off a phone call,” said Charles Davis, an NFL Network draft analyst, “and a lot of people believe the (Manziel) discussion is not just smokescreen right now. There is a big discussion about whether this is real. A lot of phones in the league are ringing off the hook to see if this is real or not.”

    Davis has been doing like a lot of us, working the phones trying to gather meaningful intel that will help sort out the intentions of the NFL’s personnel wise guys and accurately predict the way the early part of the first round will transpire. This time of the year in the NFL, that’s sometimes like grabbing clouds. You see it right there in front of you, but you can’t truly get a grasp on the situation.

    To me, the most sensible thing the Rams can do with the No. 2 pick is go big or go home. I don’t care if it’s Matthews or Robinson, Robinson or Matthews. But when Thursday night’s first round is done, Fisher and Snead better have one of those big men — or another massive offensive line talent as a result of a smart trade out of the No. 2 slot — to fortify the less-than-stable offensive line.

    In the rugged NFC West, the Rams already have beefed up their defensive front. But the O-line needs some work. It’s nice to have Roger Saffold back in the locker room and manning one of the guard slots. But starting left tackle Jake Long is coming off knee surgery, starting center Scott Wells spent most of last season injured, there is no sure starter at the other guard slot and promising right tackle Joe Barksdale will be a free agent after next season.

    Clearly the Rams need some big, immediate-impact bodies on the first day of the draft.

    But what would a draft day with Snead and Fisher be like without some potential first-round trade activity? Trader Les loves working the phones on draft night, and if he can create a market for either one of his two first-round picks, that is something Snead would absolutely love.

    Snead and Fisher have done a lot of things to create the circumstances to make that happen. Davis says the GM and coach held a meeting with Manziel at the combine, kicking all the other coaches and scouts out of the room and grilling him in private.

    Then they made sure word got out that they were in College Station, Texas, last week to work out Manziel, Matthews and wide receiver Mike Evans. But Davis says they also made a special side trip from Texas A&M to Lubbock to meet with current Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury, who just happens to have been Johnny Football’s offensive coordinator his first two years at A&M.

    “That’s a lot of stuff going on for it to just be a smokescreen, isn’t it?” Davis asked.

    No, not really.

    All it takes is one team to believe the Rams aren’t bluffing.

    By now, there are a lot of Rams loyalists who are getting all giddy. But let’s bring some truths to the smoke. The Rams’ offense needs immediate help in a lot of places, but the urgency to use either of those two valuable first rounders on a quarterback shouldn’t be one of them. Unless Sam Bradford’s offseason rehab isn’t going well (and no one inside Rams Park has even hinted at that), the only way you look to a QB in this draft is upgrading the position on the back end of the depth chart, not the front end.

    Upgrade and find a promising third-round pick who could end up as a reliable backup, because there is no franchise QB in this draft.

    But if you like the smoke-and-mirrors stuff, then go right ahead and dream on.

    The Rams need impact players, and Robinson or Matthews would be the epitome of plug-and-play linemen who are flexible enough to start inside at guard and eventually move outside. Then settle back at No. 13 and see what talent falls in your lap. Perhaps it’s a player who doesn’t necessarily fit in with your needs, but he is a top six or seven talent on your draft board. Take the best player available, no matter if it’s a cornerback, safety, linebacker or receiver.

    The reality is, the Rams have more important needs right now than to fall in love with Johnny Football.


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    re: Burwell: Rams Need A Tackle, Not A Quarterback

    Yes they nedd a tackle

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    Re: Burwell: Rams Need A Tackle, Not A Quarterback

    Quote Originally Posted by citr92 View Post
    Yes they nedd a tackle
    Huh, what are you talking about?

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    Re: Burwell: Rams Need A Tackle, Not A Quarterback

    The best smoke screen is the one people believe. At the beginning of the off season I remember Snead saying they weren't even going to scout the top QB's because they were so confident Sam was their guy. Then, when the trade market didn't develop the way they had hoped, all of a sudden it's "Hello Johnny Manziel rumors".

    If I've learned one thing from this regime over the last two off seasons, it's that they're not a dumb group of guys and they have a plan (regardless of whether it works or not). This is Year 3 of that plan, and there is no way they're drafting a rookie QB in the first round, especially one who isn't of that "once in a generation" variety.

    Thursday can't come fast enough.

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    Re: Burwell: Rams Need A Tackle, Not A Quarterback

    yeah, but what if they get a Tackle and a QB like Teddy at 13 ?

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    Re: Burwell: Rams Need A Tackle, Not A Quarterback

    Quote Originally Posted by richtree View Post
    yeah, but what if they get a Tackle and a QB like Teddy at 13 ?
    Personally I would like that even less.

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    Re: Burwell: Rams Need A Tackle, Not A Quarterback

    mathews
    dix
    benjemin

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    Re: Burwell: Rams Need A Tackle, Not A Quarterback

    Trade back to 6 with atlanta, pick mathews at 6, donald at 13 if available (if not, take best available corner), jimmy ward at 37 with falcons second rounder, and guy fish/snead like the best at 45.

    ramming speed to all

    general counsel
    Rambos, Nick and Truth like this.


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    Re: Burwell: Rams Need A Tackle, Not A Quarterback

    Quote Originally Posted by general counsel View Post
    Trade back to 6 with atlanta, pick mathews at 6, donald at 13 if available (if not, take best available corner), jimmy ward at 37 with falcons second rounder, and guy fish/snead like the best at 45.

    ramming speed to all

    general counsel
    I wouldn't mind a trade back to 6 to pick up the extra draft pick (just nothing out of top 10). I also prefer Matthews over Robinson. I don't think I'd take Donald at 13. Oue defense has a MUCH greater need in the backfield. So I would go with Fuller, Pryor, or Clinton-Dix. As for the 2nd round, If a QB like Garapolo, or maybe Mettenberger was sitting there, I think it might be prudent to take one of those guys. If we did trade, and had two 2nd rounders, I'd look for a WR. Then I'd start looking for depth on both lines, and backfields.
    That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!!

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    Re: Burwell: Rams Need A Tackle, Not A Quarterback

    The smoke screen is not working. It is looking more and more like we will take Robinson at #2. I like Matthews only if we can trade back and get him. Robinson could be the best tackle since Pace, Matthews will be just a solid Tackles. So I am ok with both, but I would take the chance on Robinson.

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    Re: Burwell: Rams Need A Tackle, Not A Quarterback

    The smoke screen is working. Everyone thinks we will take Robinson or Matthews at #2. Wrong we will be taking Watkins at 2 and the best O-Lineman available at 13.

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    Re: Burwell: Rams Need A Tackle, Not A Quarterback

    Obviously this is not a smoke-free environment.

    This is one draft that I'm gonna be happy no matter what Snisher does, except for a Manziel pick.

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