04.22.2010 10:59 am
Daily Bernie Bytes: Rams Draft,
By Bernie Miklasz

Good morning …

READING TIME, 5 MINUTES:

The NFL draft is here. Finally. It is, at once, one of my favorite days of the sports years — and also one of the most annoying. The irritating part of draft day are the dumb, unfounded rumors that circulate in the final hours…

As for the Rams and their No. 1 pick, here’s what I know to be true, and if the info changes I’ll update late: GM Billy Devaney has fielded inquiries the last several days, but nothing has heated up. Devaney told me “there’s virtually no chance,” the Rams will trade the pick, but he’ll still listen if teams want to make a pitch. The Rams’ have set a high price for the No. 1 pick. Contrary to some reports, they have not lowered their demands for the No. 1. It will take a lot to get that top slot away from the Rams. There’s been some buzz about the Redskins today, that they are planning to make some late, eye-opening offer for the Rams’ No. 1. And the Redskins, after trading for QB Donovan McNabb, only have one pick among the top 100 in this draft, and that’s No. 4 overall. As of 10:15 a.m. Thursday morning, the Rams hadn’t engaged in any discussions with the Redskins. All was quiet at Rams Park. No one in a position of power at Rams Park expects a a trade. They fully expect to keep the No. 1 pick and use it. And if they keep the pick the choice will be Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford …. you still hear talk that the Rams are considering four players: Bradford, Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh, Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy, and Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen. But Clausen isn’t on the list. He didn’t make the cut, so to speak. At some point — and I don’t know when — the Rams reduced their focus to Bradford and the two defensive tackles… Clausen appears to be tumbling. I have no idea where he’ll go. But Rick “Goose” Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News, who annually produces the most credible and accurate mock draft in the business, has Clausen falling all the way to No. 30 to Minnesota…so even if the Rams made a deal with Washington — highly unlikely — I’d be surprised if they drafted Clausen No. 4 overall.

Speaking of idiotic rumors, let’s put this one in the trash bin: the Rams never had any serious discussions with the Steelers over QB Ben Roethlisberger, and never entertained an offer from the Steelers …

I’m going to go against the grain here and politely disagree with those who say Devaney is under a lot of pressure today, and in this draft … I don’t think there’s a lot of pressure on Devaney … the Rams need a QB, and Bradford has a chance to be great. It’s a fit. It would be a bold move in the respect that the Rams haven’t drafted a QB in the first round since 1964, and so they’d be breaking from pattern. And a QB is more of a high-risk, high-reward type of a pick at No. 1 overall than, say, a DT. So yeah, the Rams could go with a more conservative choice in Suh. But I don’t see it happening. In many ways, Bradford is the obvious pick. So in that context, why is there pressure if you are making the obvious choice? Here are the reasons why I don’t think there’s pressure on Devaney: (1) Everyone who matters at Rams Park — and Los Angeles and Colorado, for that matter — is on board with the Bradford pick. So it’s not as if Devaney is all alone here, going out on a limb, going against everyone else in the organization. (2) If anything, taking a QB will buy Devaney and coach Steve Spagnuolo more time, because Bradford will need some work and refinement. It’s not as if he’s a finished product. And as others have pointed out, the worst thing the Rams could do to Bradford is change coaches and offenses on him after a year or even two. If indeed he’s the pick, Bradford’s chances of being great — and sooner — will be enhanced by stability and continuity. You can’t disrupt his growth by constantly changing everything. And if the Rams let offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur do his job, the man knows how to develop QBs. Devaney has a rare opportunity to do something special for the franchise. I don’t see the pressure. And he seems at peace, so I don’t think he’s feeling it…

Thanks for reading...

-Bernie