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    Nick's Notes: Friday

    Friday, February 22, 2008

    Nickís Notes -Friday, February 22, 2008


    - Today was the day for the skill position guys to come through the media room. I mentioned yesterday how different it is to be here talking to the top guys in the draft and knowing one of them might actually end up a Ram. But this year is different for other reasons, too. I canít remember a draft in a long time in which there has been so much uncertainty. So many players here at the combine have something to prove and it starts at the top. Nobody really knows who the top pick is. Every draftnik and pundit has a different top 10. Iíve seen some guys that have Jake Long as low as the bottom of the first round and others with him as high as the top three. Itís absolutely crazy to think a guy who many view as a top guy could actually be in the bottom of the first round. But thatís what we are dealing with. This is a fluid draft, a lot will change between now and April and nobody can predict what will happen.

    - The first clue that every player has something to prove here? Almost every major big name that is healthy will do the full workout here at the combine and there isnít a receiver in the group thatís healthy that wonít run the 40-yard dash. When is the last time we could say that?

    - On to some Rams business, a lot of you have emailed me about the Ramsí cap situation. In conjunction with colleague Jim Thomas, we took a look at the cap and did our best to figure out just how much wiggle room the Rams have entering free agency. The news isnít as good as hoped. As it stands, the league salary cap is around $116 million. To the best we can estimate, the Rams have about $109 million committed to the salary cap. Keep in mind, the salary cap includes your 51 highest paid players. This number for the Rams doesnít include tender offers to restricted free agents nor does it include room to sign draft picks in April. Free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe will get a chunk of that when he gets tendered, likely at the first round level. In other words, the Rams arenít flush with cash entering free agency.

    - The good news, though, is that the Rams have room to make some moves to free up space. Starting out in a simple manner, they can cut loose some guys on the lower end of the depth chart and the pay scale. Players such as Richard Owens and Nick Leckey make around $1.2 million and there are others that could be cut loose to make room. For larger cap savings, the Rams have some options. Defensive end Leonard Little is due to occupy more than $9 million in cap space this year. The Rams have a few options of what they can do with that with varying amounts of space saved depending on which route they go. Of course, that opens the door for a potential solution for what to do with receiver Isaac Bruce as well. Bruce is due to count for around $5 million this year and the Rams could consider doing something with him as well.

    - Coach Scott Linehan spoke with us today also and had some interesting points. Be sure to check out the feature stories on the front page for more. Kicker Jeff Wilkins is considering retirement and the Rams have made plans with center Andy McCollum to have him available in an emergency situation should injuries strike the center spot again. He also shared that the Rams have running back Steven Jacksonís contract extension as a priority and it will likely be done at some point after the draft. Dialogue has already started.

    - The final list of franchise and transition tags has been released and hereís the protected players: Kansas City defensive end Jared Allen, Cincinnati guard Stacy Andrews, Oakland cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, Tennessee defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, Arizona linebacker Karlos Dansby, Carolina tackle Jordan Gross, Dallas safety Ken Hamlin, Philadelphia tight end L.J. Smith, Baltimore linebacker Terrell Suggs, Seattle cornerback Marcus Trufant and Green Bay defensive tackle Corey Williams. The only transition tag went to Pittsburgh tackle Max Starks.

    - The league held their coin flip to determine the draft order in the three spots behind the Rams. Atlanta came out on top and will have the third pick, followed by Oakland then Kansas City .

    - The quarterbacks, receivers and running backs arenít pressing needs for the Rams, but itís a strange year at those positions. There is a lot of depth at running back with Darren McFadden the star and quarterback has depth but a lot of question marks. The receiver class doesnít have one guy that stands out, but a lot could change when they get to run on Sunday.

    - California receiver DeSean Jackson was impressive in his interview Friday morning and spoke with the Rams on Thursday night. Jackson is expected to post a great time in the 40, but doesnít have much size at 5í9, 169 pounds. Still, because of his return ability, he has a chance to be the first receiver taken.

    - All eyes will be on McFadden in his interview opportunities. He has had some off the field issues in recent weeks and his stock is starting to slip. He needs to have a big workout and he needs to wow teams with explanation for his indiscretions. McFadden says he isnít worried about the questions, but he knows he needs to be forthcoming and explain himself. He will run the 40-yard dash and do some other drills, but he wonít do the entire workout.

    - Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm addressed the media and showed poise and a sense of humor. Brohm is an interesting case study. Entering the 2007 season, Brohm had the cache of a potential No. 1 overall pick and the family lineage of a starting signal caller in the NFL. Then his team struggled and he struggled in his senior season. He missed the Senior Bowl with an injury and suddenly some pundits pegged him for the second or even third round, a far cry from the second or third pick. But Brohm still has the talent and ability to be a high caliber starting quarterback. I surveyed five scouts in the hallways here at the RCA Dome and three said they prefer Brohm over the current ďItĒ quarterback Matt Ryan. Brohm is making a comeback and will do everything here. With a big performance, he could leapfrog back into the top half of the first round and even state a case for being selected over Ryan.

    - Some bad news for the Rams people wanting to get to know LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey. Dorsey isnít expected to attend the combine because of a death in the family. Itís unfortunate that happened, but this wonít help Dorsey. Most teams like to get to know these players and get a feel for their health status at the combine. Thatís one of the few question marks surrounding Dorsey heading into the draft.

    - Ryan also spoke with the media and indicated he would like to be the top pick in the draft. He will run in Indianapolis but will wait to throw until his Pro Day at Boston College .

    - Illinois running back Rashard Mendenhall is soft spoken, but donít mistake his demeanor for kindness. He believes heís the best back in the draft and a strong workout this weekend will mean big bucks for him.

  2. #2
    shower beers's Avatar
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    Re: Nick's Notes: Friday

    good stuff. bad news to hear about Dorsey though. I was looking forward to checking him out this weekend.

  3. #3
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    Re: Nick's Notes: Friday

    So is Dorsey not going to show up to the combine at all or just to do measureables and get tested? I read on other news sites that his agent confirmed he would be at the combine to do those things but not work out, but then I see other sites reporting otherwise.

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    Re: Nick's Notes: Friday

    Quote Originally Posted by Bald_81 View Post
    So is Dorsey not going to show up to the combine at all or just to do measureables and get tested? I read on other news sites that his agent confirmed he would be at the combine to do those things but not work out, but then I see other sites reporting otherwise.
    He was there today to get measured in; he'll probably complete the medical evaluations while there as well, but won't participate in the drills. You can understand his decision, but he's also not doing much to stop Sedrick Ellis from gaining on him. Mayock already has Ellis above him in his rankings on NFL Network today.

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