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  1. #1
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    St. Louis Rams get plenty of food for thought from combine

    St. Louis Rams get plenty of food for thought from combine
    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    02/24/2009

    Andre Smith has left the building. Michael Crabtree may have tripped over his own foot.

    Jeremy Maclin took a tumble, but probably not down the draft board. Aaron Curry was as good as advertised. And Eugene Monroe and Jason Smith emerged as the top two offensive tackles.

    Who says nothing ever happens at the NFL scouting combine?

    With the safeties and cornerbacks running and working out today, the annual combine wraps up in Indianapolis. From a Rams standpoint, it's difficult to determine whether the picture cleared up or became more muddled at No. 2 overall.

    One thing seems certain: The Rams won't be drafting Andre Smith, the aggressive but immature offensive tackle from Alabama. Never mind the questions about his work habits or weight control; those weren't the big issues surrounding Smith in Indy.

    Smith never really answered questions about why he got suspended from the Sugar Bowl. Then he played it coy about whether he was working out at the combine or not. It's one thing to say such things to the media; Smith apparently did the same to NFL teams, including the Rams.

    Not only did Smith not work out in a year when it appeared that more top prospects than ever did work out, he left the combine without telling anybody. All of which raised the question: Can you really depend on this guy?

    That's particularly true if you're about to invest more than $50 million in him. Rest assured, the Rams will steer clear of Smith on draft day. How many other teams do the same remain to be seen.

    At wide receiver, the surprise discovery that Crabtree has what's known as a Jones fracture in his left foot makes it a little risky to take him at No. 2 overall. The success rate on surgery for such injuries is very good. But there are no guarantees, particularly at a position where speed and change of direction are so important.

    Patience in the rehab process is a must, and it seems puzzling that Crabtree is waiting until after his pro day March 26 to have the surgery. With a recovery time that could take as long as 10 weeks, that would push Crabtree into mid-June before he's healthy. Assuming there are no setbacks along the way, that's a little more than a month before training camp starts.

    Crabtree seems determined to post a good 40 time before the draft. But why run on a foot that needs surgery? A lot of teams, the Rams included, have seen enough tape on Crabtree to know that he's the real deal, even if his 40 time is around 4.5 seconds, average by NFL standards.

    "The thing that he has going for him is you put on the tape and that kind of erases a lot of the question marks that people have," Rams general manager Billy Devaney said.

    Devaney doesn't treat 40 times as the bottom line anyway, and some other NFL personnel executives feel the same way as it relates to Crabtree.

    "For a lot of people that wasn't a big concern," Devaney said. "What people wanted to see was him run conventional pass routes that you don't really see (in the Texas Tech offense). That's just the nature of the offense. It looks like he can do it. But you know how we are."

    Maclin, the Missouri wide receiver, hyperextended his left knee and banged up his right hip trying to catch a pass during his combine workout Sunday. The injury doesn't appear serious, and over the long haul probably will be just a blip on the pre-draft screen.

    By all accounts Maclin was having a very impressive workout before he was shaken up. But Maclin's biggest hope of moving up even further in the first round was to run a sizzling 40 time.

    That didn't happen. Granted, his 4.43 to 4.45 times were fast, but not fast enough to close the gap between him and Crabtree as the No. 1 receiver in the draft. Overall, Maclin didn't hurt his cause in Indy; but he didn't help it, either.

    So coming out of Indy, the so-called safest picks for the Rams appear to be Curry at linebacker and Monroe or Jason Smith at left tackle.

    Curry was dazzling during his media interview session and impressive in his combine workout Monday. He was among the top 10 linebackers in the bench press, and his 4.56 seconds in the 40 was the fastest time among linebackers. At 254 pounds, that's moving.

    Of course, there remains a bit of projection with him, too, from a Rams standpoint, because he has never played middle linebacker on game day. (He has done so at times in practice but was strictly outside on game day at Wake Forest.) And middle linebacker would seem to be the most logical position for him in St. Louis, and certainly is the Rams' greatest need.

    At left tackle, more than one scout said that Monroe's workout was clearly the most athletic among the offensive linemen. Jason Smith of Baylor didn't look quite as fluid in his footwork and movement. But he did do considerably better in the bench press, with 33 reps to Monroe's 23.

    All are factors to consider before making a decision on draft day.

    "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: St. Louis Rams get plenty of food for thought from combine

    It sure seems like everything is pointing towards Curry, J.Smith or Monroe. But.......Devaney still talks about Crabtree.

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    Re: St. Louis Rams get plenty of food for thought from combine

    No matter what though, Crabtree certainly has to remain in the discussion at least. You can't just automatically count out a talent like that. Plus, the more he's in our mix, the better chance there is of another team possibly trading up to grab him, which would always be nice.

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    Re: St. Louis Rams get plenty of food for thought from combine

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    St. Louis Rams get plenty of food for thought from combine
    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    02/24/2009


    At left tackle, more than one scout said that Monroe's workout was clearly the most athletic among the offensive linemen. Jason Smith of Baylor didn't look quite as fluid in his footwork and movement. But he did do considerably better in the bench press, with 33 reps to Monroe's 23.
    .
    I donít know much about Jason Smith but I do wonder is he worth the # 2 pick in the draft. He seems to emerge after Andre Smith started to slide that concern me
    :ramlogo:

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    Re: St. Louis Rams get plenty of food for thought from combine

    Even though I would love more draft picks... can we actually afford them?

    And can we have Bennett shipped off to some minor league AAA team without anyone knowing so we don't have to pay him another $7 million per catch (what he made this year)???

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    Re: St. Louis Rams get plenty of food for thought from combine

    I donít know much about Jason Smith but I do wonder is he worth the # 2 pick in the draft. He seems to emerge after Andre Smith started to slide that concern me .
    I know the Rams will be at A. Smith's pro day. They will see what he can do. Then they will decide who to take. J. Smith or A. Smith or even E. Monroe.
    It's harder to find a star L-OT in the draft than it is to find a star LB.
    Last edited by HUbison; -02-25-2009 at 10:26 AM.

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