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  1. #1
    Nick's Avatar
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    Nick's Day Two Rams Preview

    Well, the Rams addressed some of their biggest needs on the first day, some more masterfully than others. There should be an award for the kind of performance the Rams put on, convincing the world that Jay Cutler was their man.

    Most Rams fans could see the lack of fire through the smoke, and as it turns out, the Rams came out on top by drafting Clemson cornerback Tye Hill in the middle of the first round. Tight end was a need addressed with two first day picks in Joe Klopfenstein and Dominique Byrd. The Rams took an athletic linebacker/safety in Jon Alston, and got their athletic defensive tackle by taking Claude Wroten.

    So what's left? Let's take a look:

    Interior Offensive Line
    No matter how you slice it, the Rams need better production from their offensive line than they got in 2005. Claude Terrell looked to be making a strong push as a starter, but trailed off as the season wore on and hasn't impressed coaches this spring by showing up heavier than expected. Richie Incognito has a lot of fans optimistic, but hasn't played football in a number of years and may never reach the level he needs to be at to excel at the next level. Blaine Saipaia and Larry Turner are depth players at best.

    Many Rams fans are intrigued by Georgia's Max Jean-Gilles, who surprised many when he fell out of the third round. But I don't think Jean-Gilles is what we need. The last time I checked, the Rams had a lineman with weight issues who specialized in run blocking, and his name is Claude Terrell. Jean-Gilles has more talent, but we'll be facing the same kinds of problems for the same type of player. I think the Rams need to look elsewhere.

    Day Two interior line options that I like for the Rams include Fred Matua (G, USC), Greg Eslinger (C, Minnesota), Mike Degory (C, Florida), Rob Sims (G, Ohio State), Will Montgomery (C, Virginia Tech), and Kevin Boothe (G, Cornell).

    Defense End
    The Rams addressed their defensive tackle need by selecting Claude Wroten out of LSU. But the bookends of the defensive line could use at least some more depth if not a developmental player to replace Leonard Little at left end. St. Louis currently has only four defensive ends on the roster - Little, Hargrove, Brandon Green, and Clifford Dukes. Clearly depth is needed, and with the selections made by defensive coordinator Jim Haslett so far in this draft, you have to think that Haslett is going to prefer a player that can get up the field and has good athletic ability.

    The best defensive end prospect still available is Alabama's Mark Anderson, who many projected to be a second or third round prospect in this draft. I personally was shocked to see Roman Harper taken in the mid second round while Anderson fell to the second day. But without a fourth round pick (lost in the Dominique Byrd trade), the Rams will likely watch another team snatch up Anderson in early to mid round four.

    That's not to say the Rams can't get a good defensive end in the late rounds, however. There are a number of ends that I like in the mid second day, including Victor Adeyanju (Indiana) as a potential 3-4 defensive end when the Rams want to show that look. Also consider Purdue's Ray Edwards, who is perhaps one of the best combinations of size and quickness at the defensive end position in this draft. Don't rule out 'tweeners such as Auburn's Stanley McClover and Brandon Guillory (Louisiana-Monroe) as situational pass rushers and rush outside linebackers in the 3-4.

    Outside Linebacker
    The Rams spent a third round pick on Jon Alston out of Stanford, but early word out of Rams part is that they plan on trying Alston at safety first. If that's the case, then outside linebacker should still be a position of need for the Rams in the second day of this draft. Their current stock of outside linebackers can certainly be upgraded. The Rams are fine at one starting spot with Pisa Tinoisamoa, who technically could play either outside linebacker position but is better suited for the weak side. Brandon Chillar looks like the frontrunner as a starter at the other outside position, with Raonall Smith on his heels. The Rams shoudn't depend on Dexter Coakley after the injury he sustained, but it would be a pleasant surprise if he could make a regular contribution.

    Thirteen outside linebackers went on the first day, which is an incredible run of talent. But there are still some names that should be high on the Rams' draft board for the second day. If the Rams still want a speedy athletic linebacker, then they would be wise to take a look at Jamar Williams (Arizona State), who lacks great size but plays with a lot of fire and has good closing quickness. Spencer Havner (UCLA) is a favorite of mine; he has great size for the position, can shed blocks like a SAM linebacker should, and takes great angles to the ball. He has some durability concerns though, and isn't as fast as the Rams' staff would probably like. Finally, keep an eye out on Terna Nande from Miami of Ohio. He ran a 4.51 forty at the combine and put up 41 reps of 225 at the combine. The concern with Nande is a hit to the abdomin he took this season that lacerated his liver and sidelined him for five games. But he's definitely worth a late round pick.

    Running Back
    The Rams have a nice combination of youth and experience at running back between Steven Jackson, Marshall Faulk, and Tony Fisher. While it would be odd for four running backs to make the final roster, the Rams definitely need to start looking to the future at this position. Marshall Faulk may only have one more season in him, and if that's the case, the Rams need to consider finding a change of pace back for Steven Jackson.

    Fortunately, some great options remain available for the Rams. A favorite is Florida State running back Leon Washington, who runs a 4.4 forty at 5'8" and is a great receiver out of the backfield. Staying in the state, Central Florida's Andre Hall has the ability to break games open as a receiver and an outside runner, and could also contribute in the return game. While Taureen Henderson doesn't have elite timed speed, he's certainly accomplished as a tough runner that caught over 300 passes during his career at Texas Tech. Finally, one of my sleepers is Wake Forest's Chris Barclay, who ran sub 4.4 at the combine and is a very shifty runner who is versatile enough to contribute on special teams.

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  2. #2
    Tony Soprano's Avatar
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    Re: Nick's Day Two Rams Preview

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick
    Interior Offensive Line
    No matter how you slice it, the Rams need better production from their offensive line than they got in 2005.
    First, the Preview was a good overall analysis.
    I do think you're above statement is particularly appropriate.

    IMO, in addition to your comments about Terrell, whom reported overweight and out of condition, the expiration dates on the bodies of McCollum and Timmerman are up.

    I can't see a team with the Interior line run blocking woes we've had over the last two years content with going into this season with a 36 year old center and a 35 year old guard STARTING with their history of injuries of late. Granted, Timmerman has played through his injuries, but they affect his play. And, it's no secret that both player's off-season workouts have been hampered in recent years due to the fact they were recovering from injuries.

    If you look at the Interior group collectively and the fact we had to bring Nutten in from a real job after being out of football for a year - and he was good enough off-the-street to start 6 games for us at guard in 2004 - it's clear we need to add some horses to that stable.

  3. #3
    Rambos's Avatar
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    Re: Nick's Day Two Rams Preview

    Richie Incognito
    Position:
    Center/Guard
    College:
    Nebraska
    Height: 6-3
    Weight: 305
    Hometown:
    Glendale, Ariz.



    An extremely versatile athlete, Incognito can play any position on the offensive line. He held down the starting spot at left offensive tackle from 2002-03 before shifting to center during preseason camp in 2004. A series of off-field trouble over the years reached a point before the 2004 campaign where the new coaching staff decided it would be best for the Huskers to suspend their talented lineman. Incognito soon left the school and later enrolled at the University of Oregon in late September, but under NCAA transfer rules, he was ineligible to play.

    You have real concern Tony; I’m thinking Richie Incognito will have as much or more of an impact then any other first day O-line that we could have picked up in the second or 3rd round. Incognito is in great shape and ready to go, he could be the answer.

    That fact we took him last year on day one knowing he was hurt say a lot about his upside. I look at it as if we took him in this years draft on day one and he will contribute.

  4. #4
    tomahawk247's Avatar
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    Re: Nick's Day Two Rams Preview

    I would love to see Taurean Henderson on the Rams

  5. #5
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    Re: Nick's Day Two Rams Preview

    Quote Originally Posted by Rambos
    Richie Incognito
    Position:
    Center/Guard
    College:
    Nebraska
    Height: 6-3
    Weight: 305
    Hometown:
    Glendale, Ariz.


    An extremely versatile athlete,
    I was very happy they took Incognito last year. I have high hopes for him. He is returning from an injury though. Terrell was, IMO, injury prone last year. Then he reported "much heavier" than expected this month, and he couldn't participate in most of of the minicamp due to wrist injury. I've already mentioned the age,
    wear, and performance concerns with the other guard and center.

    So, while I'm glad we have Incognito and I love his playing style... One "rookie" can only go so far to helping across those 3 positions. Maybe we'll get someone good today!

  6. #6
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    Re: Nick's Day Two Rams Preview

    We need special teams players and yea we need interior lineman

  7. #7
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    Re: Nick's Day Two Rams Preview

    Quote Originally Posted by RamsFan4ever
    We need special teams players and yea we need interior lineman
    RamsFan4ever, looks like we got both. Hagans from VA will be used as our return man

    Looks like they read your post!

  8. #8
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Nick's Day Two Rams Preview

    So let's see how I did. I outlined our Day Two needs as...

    -Interior Offensive Line: The Rams took two guards in the seventh round,

    -Defensive End: The Rams traded back into the fourth round and took a guy I mentioned in the post and whom Av is in love with, Victor Adeyanju.

    -Outside Linebacker: In the seventh round, the Rams took Tim McGarigle, who has experience playing both inside and outside linebacker.

    -Running Back: This is the only real pick I kind of missed on, unless you consider Virginia's Marques Hagans a running back. I did mention a number of candidates that could contribute as returners, and Hagans certainly fits that bill.

    All in all, not too shabby.
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