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NFL Draft Countdown on Rams Draft - Positive
Here is a positive review of the Rams' draft. The only thing I quibble with is that I think he has Incognito a little highly rated (impact this year) due to injury, but otherwise could have been written by a Clannie!
May 10, 2005
St. Louis Rams '05 Draft Review
President, NFL Draft Countdown
When it comes to evaluating and grading drafts I take into account how well a team addressed their needs and weigh it much more heavily than most. That probably explains why I am such a fan of what the Rams did this year. They needed a lot of help along the offensive line and in the secondary and they used their first six selections to shore up those areas.
There was little doubt that the most pressing need this team had was at right tackle, where Kyle Turley will not be back even if his health allows him to play again. That is why they were so lucky to find Florida St. offensive tackle Alex Barron still on the board at #19 overall. In terms of sheer talent and athletic ability this guy would have been a Top 5 overall pick but he dropped a little amid concerns about his desire and intensity. Barron will begin his career on the right side and eventually move over and replace Orlando Pace somewhere down the line years from now. This was a gamble on greatness that could pay huge dividends though. In round three the team snagged former Nebraska center Richie Incognito, a guy who many had rated as a first rounder based on his ability but character concerns pushed him down. There is no denying he has the talent to be a very good pro, but he needs to learn to keep his emotions in check on the field. He was the ultimate boom or bust type of pick. Then in round four they chose New Mexico offensive guard Claude Terrell, a guy who played tackle in college but will likely shift inside at the next level. Not only did they fill their glaring hole at right tackle with a tremendous talent but they also solidified their depth which earns high marks in my book.
The other main area of concern was the secondary, at both safety and cornerback and they realized this as well, using three picks in the top four rounds on that portion of the squad. In round two the team selected cornerback Ronald Bartell of Howard. A small-school sleeper, Bartell has a lot to learn but with his size and speed he has the tools to make it. With their next two choices they grabbed safeties in Oshiomogho Atogwe of Stanford and Jerome Carter of Florida St. While he lacks ideal height Atogwe can play either free or strong safety and at the very least will provide tremendous depth and versatility while Carter is more of an in-the-box player who struggles a bit in coverage. Overall they brought in three talented players who will strengthen a unit that desperately needed reinforcements, which is highlighted when you factor in that they were considering playing linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa in the deep secondary.
In the later rounds St. Louis had a number of intriguing picks, starting with Notre Dame tight end Jerome Collins in round five. A linebacker until his senior year with the Irish, Collins was one of the best athletes among the tight end prospects in this draft and someone who will be an interesting developmental guy. In round six the team looked to the same program with a couple of choices, tabbing wide receiver Dante Ridgeway and punter Reggie Hodges from Ball St. One of the most productive pass catchers in the college game last year, Ridgeway lacks ideal size but does all the little things and is a great fit for their system. As for Hodges, he was widely considered to be the #2 punting prospect in this draft and could end up snaring the starting job for them this upcoming season.
With their final two selections in round seven the Rams once again looked to the offensive side of the ball, choosing Harvard quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and North Carolina fullback Madison Hedge****. Most though Fitzpatrick would come off the board in the middle rounds so to land him where they did was a steal. He doesn't have top physical tools but he is very smart with top intangibles and could develop into a good backup option at the pro level. Hedge**** is a former defensive end who has tremendous size and is a good athlete. He will provide depth behind Joey Goodspeed and could really develop for them.
As I said, the first thing I look for when grading drafts is how well a team did in terms of addressing their needs and very few did a better job at that than St. Louis this year. They identified the offensive line and secondary as weaknesses and went back there early and often, which is why I really like what they did. Look for Barron to be an instant starter and don't be surprised if guys like Incognito and Hodges make an impact this year as well, in addition to the quality depth they added with their other selections.
Re: NFL Draft Countdown on Rams Draft - Positive
Now this guy knows what he's talking about!
Re: NFL Draft Countdown on Rams Draft - PositiveOriginally Posted by viper3"Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod