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  1. #1
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    Rams may turn to draft to get help for Little

    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    02/27/2007

    It's not as if the Rams cringed every time a defensive end was given the franchise player designation in recent days. But they didn't break out the party favors, either.

    "We anticipated it," Rams coach Scott Linehan said. "None of them were a shock. In fact, a couple of them that didn't get franchised, I was more surprised at that than the ones that did. Everybody's got (salary cap) room. You're not going to let good players go unless you have to."

    But the Rams' options at the position shrank as each defensive end got franchised. Dwight Freeney of Indianapolis; Justin Smith of Cincinnati; Charles Grant of New Orleans; and Cory Redding of Detroit are basically off the market because of their franchise tags. In addition, Buffalo announced Monday that it had re-signed pending free agent Chris Kelsay.

    That leaves Patrick Kerney of Atlanta, DeWayne White of Tampa Bay and David Bowens of Miami as remaining possibilities once the free agency period starts Friday. Baltimore's Adalius Thomas is another possibility, but he's more a 3-4 linebacker than 4-3 defensive end.

    As each veteran end goes off the market, it becomes more likely that the Rams will turn to the draft to address one of their most pressing needs. Luckily for them, even though the free-agent market has dried up, the draft is brimming with defensive-end prospects, with a half dozen or more who could go in the first round.

    "There's the every-down end, or guys that play the run first that have decent or good pass-rush skills," Linehan said. "And then there's those third-down guys that you have to put two (blockers) on because you have to account for them. Those are two different types of players. I think there's good depth at both of those positions (in the draft)."

    Nebraska's Adam Carriker is the best example of the every-down, all-around end. At 6-6, 296 pounds, he played over offensive tackles on the tight end side most of the time in college. Carriker had to do more of the dirty work at end, instead of just lining up on the edge and rushing the quarterback. He still had seven sacks and 12 quarterback pressures last season. With his size and strength (440-pound bench press), he may be better suited to playing end in a 3-4 front in the NFL.

    The best pass rusher in the draft is Gaines Adams of Clemson. At the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, Adams checked in at 6-4, 258 pounds. During his workout Monday, he was timed in the mid-4.6s in the 40-yard dash, which is faster than some linebackers.

    The Atlantic Coast Conference defensive player of the year in 2006, Adams finished with 12 sacks, 17 tackles for loss, and 26 quarterback pressures. He has impressive acceleration off the line of scrimmage.

    "We all have different things," Adams said, when asked about the strong draft class at end. "You have some other guys who are strong and things like that. What separates me is I'm a speed guy. I have different moves ... so I can keep the tackles guessing."

    The franchise-tag number for defensive ends this year is a lofty $8.64 million an indication of how valuable pass rushers are in the NFL. It's still a passing league, and the Rams got only two sacks last season from ends not named Leonard Little.

    It sounds as if Linehan would prefer to add a pass-rushing end to the roster in '07 rather than the all-around type.

    "As an offensive guy, you worry more about the guy that rushes the passer," Linehan said. "I'd like to get that guy where you know his name ... because you watch that third-down tape all week and he's running around offensive tackles all the time."

    Adams shapes up as the first defensive player off the board and will be gone long before the Rams pick at No. 13 overall in the first round. But intriguing end prospects such as Carriker, Jamaal Anderson of Arkansas, Charles Johnson of Georgia, Jarvis Moss of Florida, Anthony Spencer of Purdue and LaMarr Woodley of Michigan will be evaluated closely by the Rams between now and draft day.


  2. #2
    Country Guest

    Re: Rams may turn to draft to get help for Little

    Jarvis Moss, the man is a sack artist and still growing.

  3. #3
    keith m. klink Guest

    Re: Rams may turn to draft to get help for Little

    with an extra 5th round pick, i think that the rams would and should take 2 - de's in the first 4-rounds, the other two being a , DT and WR. the 5th through 7th can fill our depth chart.this is the year for the rams to make a youth movement on the d-line.

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