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  1. #1
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    Latest from the PD: Jets ask for Bulger, Crabtree eliminated

    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    04/25/2009

    Through the weeks of pre-draft buildup. ... From the college all-star games to the NFL scouting combine. ... From the campus pro days to last week's pre-draft visits. ... Through all that evaluation, the Rams are smack dab back where they where at the end of December.

    Namely, realizing that they have a crater-sized hole on the depth chart at offensive tackle.

    Early this week, the Rams narrowed their possible first-round picks to four players: quarterback Mark Sanchez of Southern California; linebacker Aaron Curry of Wake Forest; offensive tackle Eugene Monroe of Virginia; and offensive tackle Jason Smith of Baylor.

    Michael Crabtree, the wide receiver from Texas Tech, basically eliminated himself from consideration with what Rams Park sources said was a diva attitude during his pre-draft trip here. Apparently, his rock star mentality was a big turnoff to coaches and front office personnel. Couple that with his foot injury, and the feeling in Earth City was that he wasn't worth the trouble.

    As for Sanchez, what first looked like pure smokescreen seemed to turn into downright infatuation. To some at Rams Park, Sanchez possesses the leadership qualities — the "it" factor — that may be lacking in Marc Bulger.

    But at the end of the day, the Rams appear committed to Bulger for at least one more season. The rumor of the day Friday was that the New York Jets called inquiring about a possible trade for Bulger, a rumor that one team official did not deny. But another high-ranking team official told the Post-Dispatch: "We have our quarterback." (An obvious reference to Bulger.)

    As the hours went by Friday, it looked like no trade-down would materialize involving the Rams at No. 2 overall and teams wanting to trade up for Sanchez. For those interested in Sanchez — and count Washington, Denver, and the Jets in that group — the first team they needed to get ahead of to take him is Seattle at No. 4 overall. Not Kansas City — with Matt Cassell in tow — at No. 3 overall.

    So as the week wound down, all indications were that the Rams were homing in on the offensive tackle position. Namely Monroe or Jason Smith. Alabama's Andre Smith long ago had been eliminated, viewed as too risky a pick at No. 2 as far back as the scouting combine.

    Monroe is viewed as more of the classic pass blocker. Athletic, quick feet, a great slide step to get out on edge rushers. But some scouts and coaches around the league don't like the fact that he doesn't always finish plays. One longtime line coach even went as far as to say that Monroe plays "a little soft."

    As for Jason Smith, his more aggressive, tough attitude fits the mold that coach Steve Spagnuolo is trying to establish at Rams Park. He's regarded as more of a finisher than Monroe and is stronger.

    One league source told the Post-Dispatch that Monroe seemed to be the choice of the scouting department at Rams Park but that Jason Smith was the tackle of choice among the coaching staff. That's a generalization, because at least one member of the offensive staff prefers Monroe.

    In either event, it's kind of a coin flip. There are no signs of a raging Monroe vs. J. Smith debate at Rams Park. Far from. Those in the Smith camp would be happy with Monroe. And those in the Monroe camp would be satisfied with Smith.

    Even so, Spagnuolo and general manager Billy Devaney were taking no chances. Due diligence for Spagnuolo this week included looking at even more tape of Smith and talking to defensive end Chris Long about Monroe.

    Owner Chip Rosenbloom arrived in St. Louis on Thursday night and after an informal barbecue lunch with team employees at Rams Park, met with Spagnuolo and Devaney to get up to speed on the draft.

    In terms of player personnel, Rosenbloom has handed the car keys to Devaney. In a seismic change from the way business has been done for years with the franchise, the Rams no longer are deferring to the head coach on draft day. The final call belongs to Devaney — and Devaney only — with input and advice, of course, from Spagnuolo and the coaching staff.

    Truth be told, the Rams need about twice as many high picks as they have in this year's draft to attempt to address all their needs. The roster is as thin as it's ever been (since the move to St. Louis in 1995) at offensive tackle and wide receiver. In an ideal world, value would meet need at both positions in Round 1 and Round 2.

    The Rams would love for either Darrius Heyward-Bey or Hakeem Nicks to fall to the team at wide receiver in the second round, where the Rams pick No. 35 overall (and third in the round).

    In his phone calls around the league, Devaney has let it be known that he's willing to trade down in the second round. Ditto for the third round, which begins Day 2 of the draft: normally, that's prime trade-down territory because teams have had time to re-stack and reassess their boards overnight.

    Although lacking in star quality, this draft is thought to have plenty of talent in rounds 2 and 3 compared to recent years. If the Rams can pick up an extra pick or two there by trading down, it could help fill needs at middle linebacker, defensive tackle, running back and cornerback.
    And this from Yahoo sports concerning Sanchez:

    Under NFL rules, the St. Louis Rams – who hold the No. 2 overall pick – now are allowed to negotiate with players on a contract in advance of Saturday’s draft. There were reports Friday night that the Rams intended to select USC quarterback Mark Sanchez with the pick and had given him a plane ticket to St. Louis, but two league sources said they considered the report a possible bluff by the Rams in hopes of getting a team such as the New York Jets or Washington Redskins to trade with them for the pick. Marc Bulger, who received a contract extension from St. Louis in 2007, is the Rams’ incumbent starting quarterback. Bulger has thrown 22 touchdowns and 28 interceptions over the past two seasons combined after tossing 28 touchdowns to just eight interceptions in 2007.

    The Rams, who fired Linehan as head coach early last season, won just two games in 2008. Sanchez threw for 3,207 yards, 34 touchdowns and 10 interceptions last season for a USC team that finished the season 12-1.
    In this time of great deception, you should make of this what you will. My head is with Jason Smith, my heart is with Aaron Curry, and my gut is with Mark Sanchez.


  2. #2
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    Re: Latest from the PD: Jets ask for Bulger, Crabtree eliminated

    I really do feel like we win either way. I'd like for our selection to take the field day 1, but if Sanchez is a stud like everyone's been making him out to be the past couple weeks, I'd be happy with him on the bench this year waiting to run the show.

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    Re: Latest from the PD: Jets ask for Bulger, Crabtree eliminated

    Quote Originally Posted by Warner4prez View Post
    I really do feel like we win either way. I'd like for our selection to take the field day 1, but if Sanchez is a stud like everyone's been making him out to be the past couple weeks, I'd be happy with him on the bench this year waiting to run the show.
    Agreed.

    All of the selections seem to be win/win for us, but I feel like we'd create more controversy and thus perhaps more picks if we get Sanchez, which is great. And even if we don't get anyone to try to take him, I think we have a great QB that can learn under Bulger.


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  4. #4
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    Re: Latest from the PD: Jets ask for Bulger, Crabtree eliminated

    I have no problem with anyone supporting the pick of sanchez (which i dont even though i would have been thrilled with stafford) as long as any sanchez supporter has no problem with another terrible season. Without a really effective offensive tackle (and please dont say we are going to get one in round 2 or later because that is a longshot) we are going to be very weak on the oline again and bulger is likely to get killed.

    ramming speed to all

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  5. #5
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    Re: Latest from the PD: Jets ask for Bulger, Crabtree eliminated

    Now I don't know if the cap constraints would make trading Bulger a realistic possibility, but what do you suppose the Jets were offering for him?

  6. #6
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    Re: Latest from the PD: Jets ask for Bulger, Crabtree eliminated

    Quote Originally Posted by general counsel View Post
    I have no problem with anyone supporting the pick of sanchez (which i dont even though i would have been thrilled with stafford) as long as any sanchez supporter has no problem with another terrible season. Without a really effective offensive tackle (and please dont say we are going to get one in round 2 or later because that is a longshot) we are going to be very weak on the oline again and bulger is likely to get killed.

    ramming speed to all

    general counsel
    I have to agree with GC here. I wouldn't be on the board ranting if we took Sanchez. But, I'd be a bit concerned for our upcoming season.

    I also agree that finding a stud OLT in the 2nd or 3rd round of this years draft would be akin to winning the Powerball Lottery. I wouldn't want to risk our new QB behind our current line. That means not much playing time for the guy, or running for his life while our other QBs recover in the hopital.
    That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!!

  7. #7
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    Re: Latest from the PD: Jets ask for Bulger, Crabtree eliminated

    Quote Originally Posted by Truth View Post
    I have to agree with GC here. I wouldn't be on the board ranting if we took Sanchez. But, I'd be a bit concerned for our upcoming season.

    I also agree that finding a stud OLT in the 2nd or 3rd round of this years draft would be akin to winning the Powerball Lottery. I wouldn't want to risk our new QB behind our current line. That means not much playing time for the guy, or running for his life while our other QBs recover in the hopital.
    exactly. bulger, boller or sanchez wont me much use if they are running for their lives all the time.

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    Re: Latest from the PD: Jets ask for Bulger, Crabtree eliminated

    Well, I'm more hoping we pick him and get draft picks because of it. But at the same time, if no one takes him, I think we have a great QB for the future.


    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

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    Re: Latest from the PD: Jets ask for Bulger, Crabtree eliminated

    Hmmm...could be some big changes on the horizon if they do trade Bulger away. Anything can happen I guess.
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  10. #10
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    Re: Latest from the PD: Jets ask for Bulger, Crabtree eliminated

    I really don't think the Jets are that interested in Bulger,not sure sure he would do that well playing all those games in crappy,cold weather and Bulger is a nice guy,he doesn't want to deal with the N.Y. media,by far the biggest group of a**holes in the country.

  11. #11
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    Re: Latest from the PD: Jets ask for Bulger, Crabtree eliminated

    I agree with GC and Truth, without a fortified OL, the QB position doesn't much matter.

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    Re: Latest from the PD: Jets ask for Bulger, Crabtree eliminated

    We have had big changes in the Front Office. I wonder what they really think about the team and about the current players. They could be ready to make big changes like getting a new QB or this could just be a big teaser to see if they can get some other team to trade them for the draft spot. The OL is obviously important no matter what QB is back there. I am dying to know what they do with their first pick.
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    Re: Latest from the PD: Jets ask for Bulger, Crabtree eliminated

    Frankly, I think the Ram's maneuvering to shop their number 2 pick has been amateurish. I mean really. Buying a plane ticket for Sanchez is going to fake anyone out? The Ram's really need to put together a package to get a bunch of picks by packaging the number two pick with Bulger (he's 32 on on decline) or some other player (not Jackson). We don't need a OT for the money its going to take to sign him at number 2.
    Last edited by bigredman; -04-25-2009 at 02:38 PM.
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    Re: Latest from the PD: Jets ask for Bulger, Crabtree eliminated

    Quote Originally Posted by bigredman View Post
    Frankly, I think the Ram's maneuvering to shop their number 2 pick has been amateurish. I mean really. Buying a plane ticket for Sanchez is going to fake anyone out?
    I didn't know the Rams were interested in Jeff Garcia?
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    Re: Latest from the PD: Jets ask for Bulger, Crabtree eliminated

    Oh Sanchez, got it!
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