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  1. #1
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    Rams Ready for Combine

    Rams Ready for Combine
    Tuesday, February 19, 2008
    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    On the day he was hired as Executive Vice President of Player Personnel, Billy Devaney described his hiring as a whirlwind.

    Since the end of the 2007 season, that’s probably the best word to describe what’s taken place in the upstairs offices at Rams Park. The Rams have made seven changes to the coaching staff and, with the addition of Devaney, have a decidedly different look than the front office and coaching staff of recent seasons.

    But if they considered that part of the offseason busy, the real fun is about to begin. The Rams coaches and scouting staff will descend on Indianapolis and the RCA Dome for the Scouting Combine this week for the NFL’s annual job fair for collegiate players hoping to get a shot in the NFL.

    After spending the past couple of weeks getting familiar with the Rams’ current personnel and setting up a plan for free agency, Devaney and Co. will turn their complete focus this week to what he calls the life blood of a good team. That focus is the NFL Draft, the place teams go to build a franchise.

    “It could set you up for a long time if you put a couple of good draft classes together, or it could really set you back if you miss out,” Devaney said. I’m not talking about a player or two. If you have a couple of drafts that really aren’t productive, what it forces you to do, and I’ve seen this happen, you start playing catch-up. You start going the free-agency route and trying to compensate for the lack of nucleus of young players. You start signing marginal NFL players to compensate for it. You don’t build a championship team through free agency, it’s the draft and it’s a couple of consecutive drafts together. That’s not real enlightening, but I feel strongly about that.”

    The Senior Bowl was the first stop along the trail in evaluating college players in the offseason and the Combine is the last major opportunity for one stop shopping for collegiate talent. Individual and campus workouts will follow, but the Combine provides that rare opportunity to see all of the best players in one place.

    Once again, the Rams will interview all of the prospects present in Indianapolis and do everything they can to figure out the best option for the No. 2 selection in April’s draft.

    Devaney comes from the Bobby Beathard school of talent evaluation and has seen plenty of riverboat gambling in his day when it comes to trading top draft picks. Devaney says the Rams are still in the process of evaluating the top players and deciding the best course of action for April.

    That process will stretch out over the next couple of months, but in the meantime they will get an up close look this week at who’s hot and who’s not.

    “Are there six players that are worthy of being taken at that spot that you could move down and still get a credible player?” Devaney said. “I don’t think we’re at that point yet. I think that’s what we have to evaluate. It may be a three-person draft and after that then the bottom falls out and there’s a big gap and you say ‘You know what, we can’t afford to trade back.’ We need to figure that out. I think everything is on the table. I, along with everybody, we’d be open to whatever makes us a better team. That’s what we have to figure out.”

    Unlike the Senior Bowl, the Combine brings together all of the best players from around the country, including underclassmen who have declared for early draft eligibility.

    Not all of the presumptive best players will complete full workouts in Indianapolis, but NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. believes this year’s draft consists of six top tier talents before a major dropoff.

    The Rams have a solid idea of what they are looking at with their top pick as clearly one of those six players would be available with the second pick.

    “There are six guys that are a cut above the rest,” Kiper said.

    Kiper lists Arkansas running back Darren McFadden, LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, Michigan offensive tackle Jake Long, Virginia defensive end Chris Long, Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan and USC defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis as the cream of this year’s crop.

    The Rams are believed to be high on Dorsey, but the need for Ryan or McFadden isn’t as great as it would be for any of the others in that group. This week will be one of the first opportunities for the team to get to know those top names as well as potential sleepers to be grabbed later in the draft.

    And, of course, the people in charge of personnel will do everything possible to ensure that information stays private.

    “The fear of organizations is that information is going to get out to teams,” Kiper said. “The more people know the more people will talk. I’ve had general managers say to me, ‘I wish you didn’t have this guy rated as high.’ I think the days of secrets are over. Who you like and don’t like should stay internal and that is the challenge.”

    On a local level, University of Missouri star tight end Martin Rucker, receiver William Franklin and cornerback Darnell Terrell will attend as will Illinois running back Rashard Mendenhall and linebacker J Leman.

    On paper, Kiper believes the offensive and defensive lines provide the most depth of any of the positions in the draft.

    Clearly, that’s good news for the Rams, a team with major needs in both areas.

    “If there’s a position right now that may seem pretty shallow there may a couple of juniors in a couple of weeks after the evaluations are finished that make that position stronger than it seems right now,” Devaney said. “I think teams are still trying to figure that out.”

    What happens this week will go a long way in helping the Rams and the rest of the league do just that.

    MINOR RE-SIGNS: The Rams re-signed running back Travis Minor on Tuesday evening.

    Minor played in 14 games for the Rams in 2007, working mostly on special teams. He had 17 tackles on special teams, second on the team in that category.

    He added 17 carries for 68 yards and 12 catches for 86 yards. He missed the final two games of the season with an ankle injury.


  2. #2
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    Re: Rams Ready for Combine

    The Rams are believed to be high on Dorsey
    I know some folks aren't real high on this idea, but I gotta admit, I wouldn't cry in my oatmeal if we took Dorsey. How does he fit in with AC, CR, CW, & LG? Don't know, don't care. He's been described as the DT version of Ray Lewis. That fire, that intensity, that will to win........we've been missing it around Rams Park. Not since Faulk left town has that been present at any formidable level.

    Is there a place for Dorsey in the D lineup? Yes.
    What is it? I don't know, that's Haslett job...get creative.

    Think about it this way: If Ray Lewis were a rookie again, would you pass on him just because we have Spoon now?

    Again, I'm not saying he's my first option, but Dorsey in Horns wouldn't be the worst thing to happen.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Rams Ready for Combine

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    Think about it this way: If Ray Lewis were a rookie again, would you pass on him just because we have Spoon now?
    This is simply an excellent and provocative statement. Well how about it Clannies, would anyone out there seriously pass on a dominant difference-maker like R. Lewis just because we don't perceive the need right now?

    WHAT SAY YE?

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    Re: Rams Ready for Combine

    Quote Originally Posted by RAMarkable View Post
    This is simply an excellent and provocative statement. Well how about it Clannies, would anyone out there seriously pass on a dominant difference-maker like R. Lewis just because we don't perceive the need right now?

    WHAT SAY YE?
    Of course not, because I'd move Spoon to Sam just like I propose to do if we were to do that trade for Vilma.

    The question becomes, can AC be a beast coming off the edge? At least we know we could stunt our line like all get out!

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    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Rams Ready for Combine

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    I know some folks aren't real high on this idea
    I'm not super high on it, but to be honest, I'm not exactly low on it anymore either. Dorsey isn't my first choice, but he's on the short list. Pairing him up with Carriker could create a devastating duo in the middle, and as you said, Haslett could find a way to make it work. Maybe it means just going with pure left and right defensive tackles instead of having one cheating towards the nose a bit, who knows.

    That being said, I think there are a couple of problems with the Ray Lewis comparison, so I'm not going to touch that question.

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    Re: Rams Ready for Combine

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick
    Pairing him up with Carriker could create a devastating duo in the middle
    My only concern would be the lack of a bulky MLB to hold up between two backfield interior rushers.......ie. a Levon Kirkland or Mike Singletary tackle-to-tackle type MLB.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nick
    That being said, I think there are a couple of problems with the Ray Lewis comparison, so I'm not going to touch that question.
    Well now my curiosity is spiked. What did you have in mind, amigo?
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Rams Ready for Combine

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    Well now my curiosity is spiked. What did you have in mind, amigo?
    Well you're asking if Ray Lewis were a rookie again, would you pass on him because of Spoon. While some may feel Dorsey brings a Ray Lewis mentality to the game, there's a big difference between Ray Lewis as a linebacker and having a Ray Lewis type player at DT.

    The linebacker is going to make plays all over the field and be more dynamic; I don't think you're going to get as much versatility out of a down lineman. I think when you talk about Ray Lewis, there's a perceived level of production that accompanies him. Maybe you get the fire and intensity, but you're simply not going to get that production from a DT.

    Furthermore, you obviously wouldn't pass up Ray Lewis because of Spoon, because Spoon can easily shift to another position (WLB) and has proven to be effective. In fact, I would say there are more than a few Rams fans that still think he should be moved out there. But the hang up with Dorsey is that if you play him at UT, you'd be shifting Carriker to a position where he's not as good. The emergence of Clifton Ryan at NT has allowed Carriker to spend more time at UT, which is his natural position in the 4-3. Drafting Dorsey though very likely forces someone to move to a position they may not be best suited for - Carriker or Dorsey at NT, or *gasp* Carriker at DE - in terms of skillset.

    I just think the situation is a lot more complex than saying he's the Ray Lewis of DL and we shouldn't pass on Ray Lewis.

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    Re: Rams Ready for Combine

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    *gasp* Carriker at DE - in terms of skillset.
    Would Dorsey at DT, Ryan at UT, and Carriker at RDE, Little/Hall at LDE not be a good lineup?

    Little is almost 34 and Hall 31, and if we get Dorsey instead of Long we will need some help at end. Can Carriker not fill that roll effectively?

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    Re: Rams Ready for Combine

    Quote Originally Posted by RamFan_Til_I_Die View Post
    Would Dorsey at DT, Ryan at UT, and Carriker at RDE, Little/Hall at LDE not be a good lineup?

    Little is almost 34 and Hall 31, and if we get Dorsey instead of Long we will need some help at end. Can Carriker not fill that roll effectively?
    In a 4-3, I really don't think so.

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    Re: Rams Ready for Combine

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    In a 4-3, I really don't think so.
    So if we got Dorsey wouldn't that be a wasted pick then since we need help at end much more? Also what about Carriker does not make him a good DE in a 4-3? Too big and slow? If so couldn't he just drop back down to his college weight?

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    Re: Rams Ready for Combine

    Quote Originally Posted by RamFan_Til_I_Die View Post
    So if we got Dorsey wouldn't that be a wasted pick then since we need help at end much more? Also what about Carriker does not make him a good DE in a 4-3? Too big and slow? If so couldn't he just drop back down to his college weight?
    Thats why most of us on this board is all for Chris Long.

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    Re: Rams Ready for Combine

    I have to agree with Nick and Mooselini. We need to draft Chris Long!

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    Re: Rams Ready for Combine

    Quote Originally Posted by Ramer View Post
    I have to agree with Nick and Mooselini. We need to draft Chris Long!
    I think most agree with that but Miami is also interested in him, which means we may have to look elsewhere. IMO Dorsey is not the answer unless Haslett & Co think Carriker can work at DE. I can't remember hearing why people think Carriker couldn't do well as a 4-3 DE, and that's what I'm hoping people can clarify...actual reasons why Carriker can't succeed there.
    Last edited by RamFan_Til_I_Die; -02-22-2008 at 09:48 PM.

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    Re: Rams Ready for Combine

    Quote Originally Posted by RamFan_Til_I_Die View Post
    I think most agree with that but Miami is also interested in him, which means we may have to look elsewhere. IMO Dorsey is not the answer unless Haslett & Co think Carriker can work at DE. I can't remember hearing why people think Carriker couldn't do well as a 4-3 DE, and that's what I'm hoping people can clarify...actual reasons why Carriker can't succeed there.
    You basically got it before - he's too slow to provide an outside rush. Dropping him down to his college weight wouldn't have that much effect on it because even while watching him play here I could tell that he just didn't have that burst that's needed in a pro DE. While he's good with his handwork, he has never shown too much variety in his pass rush moves either. UT suits him perfectly.

    :l

    -jake-

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    Re: Rams Ready for Combine

    Quote Originally Posted by RamFan_Til_I_Die View Post
    So if we got Dorsey wouldn't that be a wasted pick then since we need help at end much more?
    I don't think Dorsey would be a "wasted pick" because I would think the Rams would find a way to use both of them (Carriker @ NT, Dorsey @ NT, Carriker/Dorsey as LDT/RDT). But defensive tackle really is not much of a need right now, so Dorsey would really be more of a luxury pick. We have a starter at UT in Carriker and a potential starter at NT in Ryan. We have depth at UT in Glover, who worked well situationally.

    Ideally it'd be nice to find some more depth at NT, but from a personnel standpoint I don't think DT rates high at all on the list of needs. Defensive end, however, is a definite area of concern. We have two aging starters, one of whom may get cut because of cap situations (Little), and virtually no depth behind either.

    Quote Originally Posted by RamFan_Til_I_Die View Post
    I can't remember hearing why people think Carriker couldn't do well as a 4-3 DE, and that's what I'm hoping people can clarify...actual reasons why Carriker can't succeed there.
    From two weeks ago...

    Someone help me make sense of the Dorsey pick

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