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Holt wants Rams to take a cornerback
BY R.B. FALLSTROM
ASSOCIATED PRESS SPORTSWRITER
04/25/2006

Rams receiver Torry Holt is a certified draftnik. So it isn't surprising he has an opinion about what the team should do with its first selection.

To him, cornerback seems to be a good place to start with the 11th overall pick Saturday.

St. Louis was 6-10 last year, playing much of the season without both starting cornerbacks. Travis Fisher missed most of the year with a groin injury, and Jerametrius Butler missed all of it with a knee injury.

Perhaps it's regional bias, considering Holt went to North Carolina State, but he forecasts the Rams choosing one of two cornerbacks: Tye Hill of Clemson or Johnathan Joseph of South Carolina.

Why is Holt so knowledgeable about all these prospects? He has done work for ESPN at the draft, and said he has already analyzed about 500 players.

"I'm going to go up there and give the world my analysis on what I think is going to happen," Holt said. "Whether I'm right or wrong, it's fun. It's challenging."

New coach Scott Linehan, preparing for his first draft, could probably use the advice.

The Rams have several other needs. At tight end, they have only one experienced player in returning starter Brandon Manumaleuna. The offensive line lacks depth. They need help at defensive tackle, where they signed La'Roi Glover as a free agent, but still need to replace two other spots. Ryan Pickett and Damione Lewis left as free agents and Tyoka Jackson wasn't offered a contract.

Linehan also said there's a "very serious" chance the Rams could take a quarterback, even though they're set with Marc Bulger and Gus Frerotte, who signed from Miami. He said there are three quarterbacks worthy of going that high, Vince Young of Texas, Jay Cutler of Vanderbilt and Matt Leinart of Southern California.

Of course, there is a chance none will be available when the Rams pick.

"Whether you like it or not, or if it makes sense on paper, it's hard to get your hands on players that can be great in this business," Linehan said. "We feel strongly enough about one of those guys and if he's there and falls wherever he falls, I think that it is a big possibility that we'll take one.

"I'm not just saying that as a smoke screen, they are what they are and you can't deny that."

Linehan said the Rams would be willing to trade up or down, if the scenario is right for the team, but added that the draft isn't "fantasy football."

"It's still about making a good decision," Linehan said. "We all want to have the Reggie Bush's of the world on our football team, but it's not reality."

The Rams are holding three minicamps because they made a coaching change. To a certain extent, it's helped Linehan familiarize himself with the roster and perhaps identify some needs.

"There were some really good surprises in this camp as far as guys that may have been a question mark that we now feel better about than we started camp," Linehan said. "There are also a few areas of concern as far as our depth that we're going to have to address at some point in the draft or free agency."

Whatever happens Saturday, Holt is thinking positive about the new regime.

"It's a new era for the Rams, and we're going to get this thing moving in the right direction," Holt said. "We'll try to give this city a lot to cheer about."