Picking 14th 'a little bit different,' Devaney says

By BILL COATS
Tuesday, April 26, 2011 4:21 pm | Loading…

Here are some highlights from St. Louis Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo and general manager Billy Devaney after their pre-draft meeting with reporters Tuesday:

>>Devaney, on picking 14th after being either No. 1 or No. 2 the previous three years:

"It is a little bit different picking at 14 than where we've been the past few years. In a good way. Some people having been asking us, isn't it a lot more work?

"When we're going through this with the scouts and coaches, it doesn't really feel like work. This is a blast, what we're doing right now. It's been enjoyable."

>>Devaney, on whether the lockout, and the resultant delay in free agency, has affected the Rams' preparation for the draft:

"It's had no effect on our approach. You've heard us talk about the board dictating our draft and best player available, all that stuff. That's going to be our model this year, whether we'd had free agency already. It'll be here in some form eventually, but that hasn't had any impact on how we've put our board together and the way we're going to approach our selections."

>>Spagnuolo, on whether the Rams will be ready for free agency should it start as soon as next week:

"Oh, yeah. We knew anything could happen. You've got to be prepared. I think every team in the NFL will tell you that.

We would've had to be ready for it back in March (when it orginally was scheduled). Pull out those notebooks and away we go."

>>Devaney, on whether the delay in free agency affects the team's approach to the draft:

"We can't sit here and say, ‘Well, we don't have to worry about taking this position because once free agency comes, that position's pretty strong, (and) we feel like we can get a guy there.'

"You can't operate that way. Who knows what's going to happen. So Thursday, Friday, Saturday take the best players that improve our team, regardless. We're not going into it saying, ‘We have to come out with this position,' or, ‘we can count on free agency to supply a certain position.'"

>>Spagnuolo, on whether Josh McDaniels' arrival as offensive coordinator affects the Rams' draft strategy:

"We went through it with Josh. There were only a couple of minor things here and there. A football player is a football player. The receiver has to catch it, the runner has to run with it.

"Now, were there some unique fits? Yeah, but not too bad. We kind of sat down as scouting staff, coaching staff, visited with Josh, and then kind of conveyed that to Billy's staff, where there might be some differences from the prior two years. But not many. There wasn't major changes."

>>Devaney, on whether he wants to land RB Steven Jackson's successor this year:

"In our minds, (Jackson) is still playing at an extremely high level. So we don't feel like, ‘Gosh, we'd better start looking down the road.' This kid is as good as there is. We don't feel any pressure to start lining somebody up to take Steven Jackson's place."

>>Devaney, on the possibility of moving up or down in the draft order:

"You never say never. Who knows what's going to unfold. But as far as everybody else, I don't know. You're able to trade picks in next year's draft. Some people might be reluctant; you're not sure what form that's going to be....

"We've been in touch with teams above us and behind us. It's just kind of an elephant dance right now. It's a little ritual everybody does: 'Yeah, we're interested in trading up.' Yeah, whatever. And you never get a phone call back from them.

"Everybody does kind of the same thing at this time. You just reach out and make sure you have the right phone numbers and see how the draft unfolds."