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Thread: Nick’s Rams Draft Primer – Offense

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    Nick’s Rams Draft Primer – Offense

    Welcome to the first installment of the ClanRam’s St. Louis Rams 2013 Draft Primer for the offensive side of the ball. As a draftaholic, my motto is that it’s never too early to start looking at the draft, especially since these prospects have been showing off their talents for the last four months and are ready to showcase their abilities in the next few weeks as bowl games begin.

    My objective is to evaluate team needs for the Rams, identify which are of greater priority than others, and determine some prospects to keep an eye on and track through the draft process. As always, I would appreciate your feedback and opinions on anything I bring up. This should first and foremost serve as a conversation starter.

    First up, identifying the Rams’ offensive needs. Let’s go position by position.


    Rams Offensive Position Breakdown

    Quarterback – No Need: The Rams are set with Sam Bradford, who is rebounding nicely from a down year in 2011. Despite only modest improvements along the offensive line and at receiver, Bradford is making strides and giving fans renewed confidence. Behind him, Austin Davis showed enough pre-season potential for me to feel comfortable developing him behind Sam.

    Running Back – Minimal Need: Steven Jackson continues to look like a beast out there on the playing field, especially in recent weeks. However, his status with the team is uncertain beyond this season. Possibly taking the reins in 2013 is Daryl Richardson, who has flashed speed and breakaway skills as a change of pace back behind Jackson. Isaiah Pead hasn’t had many opportunities, but if Jackson leaves, the Rams will expect him to produce. Another mid to late round pick or cheap, veteran free agent could round out this committee nicely.

    Wide Receiver – Primary Need: The Rams essentially have two weapons at wide receiver. One is Danny Amendola, who is expected to hit free agency in 2013 unless the Rams work out an extension. The other is Chris Givens, who has flashed ability as a rookie this season but still boasts only a limited body of work. Even with these two weapons at their disposal, the Rams offense has been too stagnant at times to feel comfortable with simply the tools they have. Doing nothing and counting on players like Brian Quick to develop is a strategy that has failed this team in the past; more talent at the position would help Bradford and company take the next step offensively.

    Tight End – Moderate Need: Lance Kendricks has developed into a capable blocker, especially when used as an H-back. But he only presents an occasional weapon in the passing game, and the Rams would benefit from having a receiving presence over the middle of the field. Behind Kendricks are role players at best; if Lance isn’t the guy, then I’m not convinced “the guy” is on this roster.

    Offensive Line – Primary Need: When healthy, Rodger Saffold is a capable albeit not exceptional left tackle. Across from him, the Rams are forced to use some combination of Wayne Hunter and Barry Richardson, a far from ideal duo. The acquisition of a prized offensive tackle, one that could start immediately at right tackle but also flip over to the left side should Saffold’s injury issues become a consistent concern, would be ideal. We’ve not seen enough of Scott Wells to really know about him one way or another, but his replacement Robert Turner has performed better than most expected this season and should be brought back. He could compete at the vacant left guard spot in 2013 with injured lineman Rokevious Watkins, but left guard could also be a spot the Rams look to improve upon through the draft.


    Offensive Big Board

    With those needs in mind (OL, WR, TE), here is how I would set up the Rams’ offensive big board, based on the players projected to enter this year’s class…

    -Luke Joeckel (OT, Texas A&M)
    -Jake Matthews (OT, Texas A&M)
    -Chance Warmack (OG, Alabama)
    -Taylor Lewan (OT, Michigan)
    -Eric Fisher (OT, Central Michigan)
    -Jonathan Cooper (OG, North Carolina)
    -Keenan Allen (WR, Cal)
    -Tyler Eifert (TE, Notre Dame)
    -DeAndre Hopkins (WR, Clemson)
    -Terrance Williams (WR, Baylor)

    Honorable Mentions: Barrett Jones (OL, Alabama), Tavon Austin (WR, WVU), Zach Ertz (TE, Stanford)


    If you’re the Rams, and you’re in need of offensive line help, this is a great year to have the versatility of two first round picks. Luke Joeckel has likely earned a spot in the Top Five, which barring a trade up or a Rams/Redskins collapse, would put him out of reach for St. Louis. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other very intriguing prospects to consider. His Texas A&M teammate Jake Matthews is very intriguing to me as a guy who could come in immediately and play on the right side, but would also be capable of shifting to Sam’s blindside if need be. Also keep an eye out for Taylor Lewan and Eric Fisher in Round One, or guys like Warmack and Cooper if the Rams opt to bolster their interior.

    Though I believe the Rams have enough youth at receiver between Quick and Givens and should invest in a free agent receiver instead, they will have some options in the draft to consider if they’d like to add a perimeter weapon. The frontrunner to be the first receiver off the board right now is Allen from Cal, whose health will have to be evaluated during the offseason. While he’s not of the elite caliber of an A.J. Green, he should be worthy of consideration in the 10-20 range if he checks out healthy because of his prototypical height and athletic ability. Behind him, the rankings generally vary depending on whom you talk to. DeAndre Hopkins ranks as my second receiver in this class at the moment, though Baylor’s Terrance Williams could close quickly on him. While I’m a personal fan of Tavon Austin from my alma mater of West Virginia, I don’t think he becomes an option unless the Rams fail to bring Amendola back. At tight end, Eifert is the de facto top player at his position, and he deserves it. The Rams could really benefit from a weapon over the middle of the field, which Eifert really specializes in. There will be some other tight ends worth consideration, such as Stanford’s Zach Ertz, who boasts Gronkowski-like size.


    Games to Watch

    Interested in seeing some of these guys in action? Here are some bowl games to keep an eye on in the coming weeks…

    Little Caesars Bowl (Dec 26): Western Kentucky vs. Central Michigan
    -Check out arguably the nation’s top senior tackle in Eric Fisher.

    Chick-Fil-A Bowl (Dec 31): Clemson vs. LSU
    -Check out how DeAndre Hopkins fares against a talented group of LSU defenders.

    Outback Bowl (Jan 1): South Carolina vs. Michigan
    -Keep an eye out to see how Taylor Lewan holds up against South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney.

    Cotton Bowl (Jan 4): Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma
    -Two top rated offensive tackles (Joeckel & Matthews) will be on display in the beginning of the year.

    BCS Championship Game (Jan 7): Notre Dame vs. Alabama
    -Watch to find out if Eifert can carve up the ‘Bama defense, but also check out the other side of the ball to see how interior linemen Chance Warmack and Barrett Jones perform.


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    Re: Nick’s Rams Draft Primer – Offense

    Great breakdown. I'm going to be doing a lot of channel flipping during bowl season.

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    Re: Nick’s Rams Draft Primer – Offense

    question, why allen over woods?

    i'd take either, but people already know my main pick...

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    Re: Nick’s Rams Draft Primer – Offense

    Really nice write up Nick.

    Looking forward to the defense.

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    Re: Nick’s Rams Draft Primer – Offense

    Quote Originally Posted by citr92 View Post
    question, why allen over woods?

    i'd take either, but people already know my main pick...
    nearly everyone has Allen higher than Woods on the draft board. Woods isn't even likely to go in the first round anymore.

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    Re: Nick’s Rams Draft Primer – Offense

    The tough thing with Woods is deciding if he took a backseat to a better WR (Marquise Lee) or if Lee owes a portion of his succes to the attention Woods received.

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    Re: Nick’s Rams Draft Primer – Offense

    Quote Originally Posted by citr92 View Post
    question, why allen over woods?

    i'd take either, but people already know my main pick...
    There's very little about Robert Woods that really blows me away, at least when I watch him through the lens of looking for a legitimate top receiver on a team. He's good, but can he be great?

    I'm not the kind of guy who believes top receivers have to be 6'3"+, but if you're smaller, you've got to be able to convince me you'll be able to be productive because you excel at something.

    For instance, last year, I was a fan of Justin Blackmon because, even though he was only 6'1" like Woods, it seemed to me like he played with the physicality of a bigger receiver. I don't see that as much from Woods, and I also don't see the speed to consistently separate.

    IMO, his upside is probably as a #2-type possession receiver. That's great, and maybe you look for that in the second round if you need one, but it's not the type of thing that would cause me to put a guy top on the list, especially for the Rams.
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    Re: Nick’s Rams Draft Primer – Offense

    woods does have the speed to separate, however, the only thing that i'm not sure about is his ankle, he's had problems with it and i think that will decide if he goes to the nfl or not,

    if it's good, he'll go, if not, he'll probably get surgery and stay his senior year

    as for this year, his numbers only declined due to recovering from the ankle and sitting out practices in the beginning of the year and barkley lost his sync with him

    then when lee really started to blossom, kiffin and barkley got high on lee and forgot that woods is a great receiver, i think woods should have won the biletnikoff award last year imo...

    but woods does have better hands than lee and is a fantastic route runner, woods is indeed a fast receiver, he's done so much i think he's the most underrated receiver in college football, he had 111 receptions last year for a reason and only as a sophomore

    i think a part of me is just nervous that another trojan will go to another team, steve smith is the only trojan i've been able to root for on my favorite nfl team but unfortunately hasn't worked out

    lastly, keenan allen is a good receiver but i haven't seen a lot of him except when SC plays Cal and he didn't really stand out a whole lot
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    Re: Nick’s Rams Draft Primer – Offense

    Quote Originally Posted by citr92 View Post
    lastly, keenan allen is a good receiver but i haven't seen a lot of him except when SC plays Cal and he didn't really stand out a whole lot
    Allen's last two games vs. USC: 22 rec for 253 yards
    Woods' last two games vs. Cal: 10 rec for 66 yards

    My intention isn't for this to become an Allen vs. Woods debate, and maybe you can shed some light on these numbers if you watched and can recall these games. But on paper, if either of the two looks like they didn't stand out a whole lot in those Cal/SC contests, it would be Woods.

    Having said that, if you kind of got the same overall vibe from Allen that I got from Woods - good, but not really feeling the great vibe - then that's perfectly legit. I'm not as crazy about this crop of receivers as I have been the last couple of drafts.

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    Re: Nick’s Rams Draft Primer – Offense

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    Allen's last two games vs. USC: 22 rec for 253 yards
    Woods' last two games vs. Cal: 10 rec for 66 yards

    My intention isn't for this to become an Allen vs. Woods debate, and maybe you can shed some light on these numbers if you watched and can recall these games. But on paper, if either of the two looks like they didn't stand out a whole lot in those Cal/SC contests, it would be Woods.

    Having said that, if you kind of got the same overall vibe from Allen that I got from Woods - good, but not really feeling the great vibe - then that's perfectly legit. I'm not as crazy about this crop of receivers as I have been the last couple of drafts.
    actually, woods has 10 receptions and about 104 yards but anyway,

    that's where the ankle comes in, last year i don't think he played very much against cal, or at least his ankle slowed him down, as it wasn't quite 100% all season since he played on it too soon it seems

    this year it was mainly due to barkley not being able to hit woods in stride well at all, the ankle was much better this year since he got surgery and was off it for quite a while, missing key practices and barkley lost touch, that, and barkley hasn't been himself this season

    not to mention barkley ALSO had Lee to throw to, last year he did good against Cal as well

    as for allen, he's the one they throw to the most by far, also being the cousin of their quarterback probably helps too, SC stopping the run made them throw more often in one game

    i don't want it to be woods vs allen either lol, but i'm seeing posts have "get allen!" or, "get woods!"

    i'd also go as far as saying that woods and lee are probably the top 2 running with the ball, i'd put allen in the top 7
    Last edited by citr92; -12-08-2012 at 01:14 AM.

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    Re: Nick’s Rams Draft Primer – Offense

    while we're on the subject, i guess i'll leave these here...

    Robert Woods vs ASU,COL,MINN,AZ. - YouTube

    Keenan Allen vs USC,Texas,Washington - YouTube

    i know you're not supposed to judge off of highlights but...

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    Re: Nick’s Rams Draft Primer – Offense

    Quote Originally Posted by citr92 View Post
    not to mention barkley ALSO had Lee to throw to, last year he did good against Cal as well

    as for allen, he's the one they throw to the most by far, also being the cousin of their quarterback probably helps too, SC stopping the run made them throw more often in one game

    i don't want it to be woods vs allen either lol, but i'm seeing posts have "get allen!" or, "get woods!"

    i'd also go as far as saying that woods and lee are probably the top 2 running with the ball, i'd put allen in the top 7
    Weird how you don't want to turn this into an Allen vs Woods thread but every single point you've made has been about this(even though Nick has made it obvious he'd like to move on from this debate). I wouldn't mind if if Woods was the consensus #2 wide receiver but many(i mean most) analysts don't even have Woods in the top 5. On the other hand nearly everyone has Allen #1 or at worst #2, behind Terrence Williams.

    This doesn't even take into account Woods doesn't fit our team as well as Allen does. Most teams have Woods slated to be a slot receiver and most don't believe he has #1 wide receiver potential. Even if we did not draft Allen I would much rather draft Terrence Williams, Justin Hunter, Cordarelle Patterson, or DeAndre Hopkins over Woods.

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    Re: Nick’s Rams Draft Primer – Offense

    Quote Originally Posted by citr92 View Post
    actually, woods has 10 receptions and about 104 yards but anyway,
    In his last two games (2012, 2011) against Cal? ESPN and CFBStats disagree...

    Robert Woods Game By Game Stats and Performance - USC Trojans - ESPN

    cfbstats.com - Robert Woods 2012 Player Statistics - USC Trojans


    Quote Originally Posted by citr92 View Post
    as for allen, he's the one they throw to the most by far, also being the cousin of their quarterback probably helps too, SC stopping the run made them throw more often in one game
    I get that you're trying to defend your guy in this comparison against Allen, but I'd ditch the "Allen's playing with his cousin" route. That one seems like a bit of a stretch, to say the least.

    Regarding 2011, the ankle injury and other weapons stealing targets seem like more legitimate arguments, but neither stopped Woods from putting up big numbers in the game prior to (14/255/2 vs. ARI) and immediately after (12/119/2 vs. ND) the October 13th Cal game.

    So I guess I'm still just having a hard time understanding how Allen didn't stand out that much, when over the last two years in Cal/SC games, he put up double the receptions and nearly four times the yards of Woods.

    But back to the main point, I hope I've answered your question of why I'd rank Allen over Woods. It's more to do with what I think of Woods than what I think of Allen. I'm not particularly crazy about Allen either, but I think his skillset offers more potential at the next level. Having said that, I probably wouldn't consider him until the bottom half of the first round at this point.

    IMO, the strength of this class on the offensive side of the ball, at least as it relates to the top half or so of the first round, lies in its offensive lineman, which is another reason why I'd rather see the Rams go that route while finding receiving help in free agency. That could open the door to someone like Woods in Round Two if he's there, to continue adding more offensive weapons.

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    Re: Nick’s Rams Draft Primer – Offense

    I agree with Nick, I just dont see anything special about Robert Woods. He reminds me of a slower Greg Jennings. I think he can be a solid route runner at the next level, but I don't see him as a "you need this guy" type of player. Then again, I don't really want Keenan Allen either. We have too many young developmental kind of guys. They all need playing time. What we need is a proven #1 threat, and I'd bet Sam Bradford agrees.


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    Re: Nick’s Rams Draft Primer – Offense

    Quote Originally Posted by sosa39rams View Post
    I agree with Nick, I just dont see anything special about Robert Woods. He reminds me of a slower Greg Jennings. I think he can be a solid route runner at the next level, but I don't see him as a "you need this guy" type of player. Then again, I don't really want Keenan Allen either. We have too many young developmental kind of guys. They all need playing time. What we need is a proven #1 threat, and I'd bet Sam Bradford agrees.
    Something tells me IF we don't get the receiver in FA, then we will hear how much you guys are liking some of these potential rookies. Just saying seems you are gong all in early on this draft class and their potential. We shall see if you get what you want or what you need.

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