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  1. #1
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    Gordon - Boom or bust: Which is the real story of Rams' draft?

    Boom or bust: Which is the real story of Rams' draft?
    BY JEFF GORDON
    Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
    Monday, Apr. 25 2005

    The Rams did a pretty good job addressing team needs in the 2005 NFL Draft.

    Or they really blew it.

    Which is the real story? Many factors will determine this draft’s ultimate
    grade, but the big ones are obvious.

    The Rams must motivate tackle Alex Barron to work hard and play hard. The team
    must teach rangy cornerback Ronald Bartell Jr. how to match up against the
    league’s bigger receivers. The coaches must get Oshiomogho (O.J.) Atogwe ready
    to quarterback the defense from one of the safety posts.

    And doctors must fix Richie Incognito’s damaged wheel, allowing him to get back
    to work by late summer.

    If all four things happen, this will be a strong Rams draft -– regardless of
    what happens to the second-day guys. If they don't happen, we’re not sure the
    other picks will be good enough to offset the missed opportunities on the draft’
    s first day.

    “I think what happens on the first day is that everyone is trying to select
    somebody for an immediate need,” Rams coach Mike Martz said. “We have met some
    needs here with two defensive backs and a right tackle. I feel good about where
    we are with the rest of the roster.”

    The Incognito move, he admitted, was a gamble -– and one that may not pay off
    in the near term.

    “In other years there was no way we could go into this thing like this and make
    this type of selection,” Martz said. “We feel very good about the depth at this
    point. The first three picks really eased our interpretation about some of
    those positions, particularly safety, corner and tackle.

    “Now we can do this, we have an awfully lot of veteran offensive linemen, we
    can bring him along. I think in time this will be one terrific offensive line.”


    Looking into the crystal balls, here is how some of the experts graded the
    Rams’ effort:


    Mel Kiper, ESPN: Grade -- C

    Comments: “Barron has plenty of athletic gifts but is inconsistent in his
    effort, so the Rams may or may not have the right tackle they need. The next
    three picks were all reaches (corner Ronald Bartell Jr., safety Oshiomogho
    Atogwe and center Richie Incognito), but Dante Ridgeway made sense at receiver
    in the sixth round and I like quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick as a developmental
    project.”


    Dan Pompei, The Sporting News: Grade -- C minus

    Comments: “The Rams might have reached a bit to fill needs. Tackle Alex Barron
    is an enigma. The most intriguing pick is offensive lineman Richie Incognito,
    who has first-round ability.”


    Pete Prisco, CBS SportsLine: Grade -- B

    Comments: “The Rams offensive line has to get better and Alex Barron will help
    that happen. He could move to the right side as a young player until Orlando
    Pace walks. Third-round pick Richie Incognito has first-round ability, but he
    has some off-field issues. He will play a long time for a Rams line that needs
    an upgrade.

    “If they keep him out of trouble, Incognito is a big-time player. They needed
    help in the worst way on the offensive line, and they got two in the first
    three rounds and three altogether. That's smart drafting from a team that
    hasn't done that much in recent years.”


    Ron Borges, MSNBC: Grade -- C

    Comments: “The Rams wanted Jammal Brown but had to settle for second choice,
    Alex Barron, who many teams feel is not tough enough to survive in the NFL for
    long. After that they opted for two defensive backs with second-round choice
    Ronald Bartell, a guy most teams projected as a third rounder at best. They
    ended the day with a tough Nebraska offensive lineman who they have to hope
    doesn't live up to his name: Richie Incognito. Nothing special here unless
    Barron can step in and replace Kyle Turley.”


    Jarret Bell, USA Today: Grade -- C

    Comments: “Some considered Alex Barron the best offensive tackle in the draft.
    Scrappy center Richie Incognito has better skills than third-round status.
    Second-round cornerback Ronald Bartell was small-school (Howard) phenom.”


    The national consensus, as you can see, is a shrug. Barron could blossom into a
    top-of-the-draft value. Bartell could become one of the rare cornerbacks with a
    bit of size. Incognito could become a first-round talent, if he gets healthy
    and if he stays out of trouble.

    Notice the use of the word “could.” Every NFL draft yields uncertainty for
    every team and this was especially true for the Rams this year.

    But here is the bottom line: On the first day, the Rams tried to fill their
    position of need and they went after intriguing prospects with the most upside.
    On the second day, they took a big run at improving their special teams.

    If these players hit, then the Rams will have hit big.

    ClanRam ModCast: Episode Four
    Rams Discussion Right at Your Fingertips!



  2. #2
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: Gordon - Boom or bust: Which is the real story of Rams' draft?

    The reactions to this Rams draft remind me of the ones the Dolphins received years ago when Don Shula selected OT Richmond Webb and OG Keith Sims on day one. Because O linemen are not flashy or exciting, most gave the draft mediocre reviews. However, these picks ended up solidifying the Dolphins' O line for years. That's what I'm hoping this draft will do for the Rams.

  3. #3
    general counsel Guest

    Re: Gordon - Boom or bust: Which is the real story of Rams' draft?

    I sent emails to both gordo and bryan burwell suggesting that it was unfair to mention the jacoby sheppard pick without also mentioning travis fisher and pisa. Of course, neither responded. Too busy i guess to correspond with people that actually read the column.

    general counsel

  4. #4
    ramstiles's Avatar
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    Re: Gordon - Boom or bust: Which is the real story of Rams' draft?

    I know the rams were interested in Brown but from most things I read I thought it was Davies who they really wanted and if the price to trade up was not so costly they would have I think barron is a great consolation prize

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