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King's look deep inside Rams' draft room
By Mike Sando | ESPN.com
Peter King’s report for Sports Illustrated from inside the St. Louis Rams’ draft room gives us a much better feel for how the team operates.
We learned, among many other things, that the Rams' trade to acquire the eighth overall choice from the Buffalo Bills was worked out days in advance, but never a sure thing until the last minute, and only then when St. Louis upped its offer. Tavon Austin was the player the Rams felt they had to have, so when the division-rival Arizona Cardinals selected guard Jonathan Cooper at No. 7, the Rams' draft room erupted in celebration (the down side: having to face Cooper twice a year in the NFC West).
We learned from King that the Rams really did have Alec Ogletree as their No. 1 priority with the second of their two first-round selections. They had serious concerns about Ogletree's off-field issues, and those concerns presumably influenced their decision to trade back to No. 30 instead of selecting Ogletree at No. 22. But the wait to No. 30 sounded excruciating based on the conversations and observations King relayed in his report.
When the Rams traded back, UCLA defensive lineman Datone Jones, chosen 26th by Green Bay, and Kentucky guard Larry Warford, chosen 65th by Detroit, were the players St. Louis was considering as fallbacks at No. 30 if Ogletree were not available. That information can be helpful in the future if Jones or Warford becomes available in free agency. We now know those players could have special appeal to the Rams' current leadership.
We also learned from King that the Rams could have traded the 30th pick to Minnesota for the Vikings' second-, third- and fourth-round picks, but general manager Les Snead thought such a move would have sacrificed one of his core principles: going and getting players his team really, really wanted. This philosophy came into play later in the draft when the Rams traded both sixth-round picks to Houston for the fifth-round choice St. Louis used for running back Zac Stacy.
"I think [Stacy] was one of probably the last guys on our board that we were really, really jacked about," Snead would explain to reporters after the draft. "The rest was just going to be people we liked, but not jacked about, so at that point in time we said, 'Hey, let's go get him.' "
Snead would rather have one player he really likes than two players he doesn't feel as strongly about. That thinking makes tremendous sense at the top of the draft, I think. I'm not sure if that's true nearly to the same degree later in the draft, when it's tougher to tell differences between players and the "crapshoot" element comes into play more prevalently.
Ogletree might become an all-world player, and if the Rams think he's going to be special, it's tough to fault them for holding onto the pick. But there are obvious risks associated with drafting Ogletree, whose off-field issues have included failed drug tests in college and a DUI arrest.
The Rams entered the draft with only 52 players on their roster. They are wisely valuing impact players over lesser ones. But they still needed numbers.
There's a decent chance, in theory, that one of the players the Rams would have selected with the 52nd, 83rd or 102nd picks from Minnesota would have outperformed the player chosen 30th. Kevin Meers' Harvard draft value chart says the Rams would have received 85 percent more value than they traded away had they made the trade. Steve Drake's Sports + Numbers chart would have given the Rams a 46 percent value edge. Chase Stuart's Football Perspective chart had the Rams ahead by 69 percent.
Of course, those fancy charts aren't in love with Ogletree. Those charts cannot know whether Ogletree is really a top-10 or top-15 talent from a physical standpoint, as the Rams project. By all appearances, NFL teams aren't yet in love with these types of charts, which value picks based on how players selected in the same slots have performed historically.
The traditional value chart from two decades ago says the 30th overall pick is worth almost exactly what those three picks from the Vikings would be worth.
The Rams might not care all that much. They got their guy and that is what matters to them.
-05-05-2013 #2Registered User
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Re: King's look deep inside Rams' draft room
I am not sure how I feel about the Rams passing on that trade. Obviously, we will have to wait and see what goes on with Ogletree. However, I feel like the Rams would have a better chance of obtaining contributors with three extra picks over one pick with some character issues. At this point I am not going to judge the Rams' decision. If Ogletree ends up being a very good starter for the Rams then I won't think twice about the non-trade. Yet, if Ogletree has problems, or isn't a good player, I will find myself thinking about how this trade should have been made. Hindsight is always 20/20 but 3 picks in rounds 2-4 seems like an easy decision to me.
Re: King's look deep inside Rams' draft roomThe Rams entered the draft with only 52 players on their roster. They are wisely valuing impact players over lesser ones. But they still needed numbers.
Bottom line is I see no problem moving up late in the draft to get a player of need that you really like vs taking two players you are Luke warm on.
We will play the number game with these guys.
POS PLAYER SCHOOL
WR C.J. Akins Angelo State
WR Emory Blake Auburn
RB Benny Cunningham Middle Tennessee State
FB Eric Stevens California
TE Phillip Lutzenkirchen Auburn
OT Braden Brown Brigham Young
OG Kenny Saia Louisiana Tech
DE R.J. Washington Oklahoma
DT Garrett Goebel Ohio State
DT Al Lapuaho Utah State
LB Daren Bates Auburn
LB Gerald Rivers Mississippi
LB Phillip Steward Houston
LB Jonathan Stewart Texas A&M
S Ray-Ray Armstrong Miami
S Cody Davis Texas Tech
S Cannon Smith Memphis
CB Robert Steeples Memphis
CB Drew Thomas Texas-El Paso
CB Darren Woodard Texas-El Paso
K Brett Baer Louisiana-Lafayette
LS Jorgen Hus Regina
SIGNED ON MINICAMP TRYOUT BASIS
QB Tim Jenkins Fort Lewis
LB Robbie Aldridge Henderson State
LB Mike Gilliard Georgia
LB Joseph LeBeau Jackson State
LB Christian Robinson Georgia
S Don Unamba Southern Arkansas
Last edited by Rambos; -05-05-2013 at 11:00 AM.
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