Results 1 to 14 of 14
Like Tree3Likes
  • 1 Post By AvengerRam
  • 1 Post By HUbison
  • 1 Post By shower beers

Thread: Thomas: First-Round OT Prospects Come Into Focus For Rams

  1. #1
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
    r8rh8rmike is offline Superbowl MVP
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    29 Palms, Ca.
    Age
    55
    Posts
    11,465
    Rep Power
    128

    Thomas: First-Round OT Prospects Come Into Focus For Rams

    First-round OT prospects come into focus for Rams

    4 hours ago • By Jim Thomas jthomas@post-dispatch.com

    If the Rams address their offensive tackle needs in the first round of the draft, their choices could be down to three players: Lane Johnson of Oklahoma, D.J. Fluker of Alabama and Menelik Watson of Florida State.

    And after an impressive week at the Senior Bowl followed by a strong showing at the scouting combine, Johnson might be out of reach for the Rams, who pick 16th and 22nd in the first round.

    In just a few short years, Johnson has gone from junior college quarterback at Kilgore (Texas) College to tight end, defensive end and finally offensive tackle with the Sooners.

    “In high school, I was playing quarterback,” said Johnson, who is from Groveton, Texas. “I was around 6-6, 220. I didn’t really get many offers out of high school; I was kind of under the radar. I came from a small school.

    “So I went to junior college and played quarterback there for a semester, then switched over to tight end during the following spring. I was weighing about 255 and ran a 4.5 (in the) 40. So Oklahoma ended up (giving me an offer), and I took it.”

    Johnson kept growing. And during spring drills before his junior season, he was asked by coach Bob Stoops to play right offensive tackle.

    “I told him ‘no’ at first,” Johnson said. “I thought he was joking or lying to me at first. I didn’t really believe him.”

    It was no joke. Johnson ended up starting at right tackle in 2011, before switching to left tackle in 2012.

    “I feel right at home now,” Johnson said. “I’ve kind of grown into my body.”

    It may be a much bigger body at 6 feet 6, 303 pounds, but it’s still a very athletic body. Along with Terron Armstead of Arkansas-Pine Bluff (and Cahokia High), Johnson had a workout for the ages at the combine for an offensive lineman. He ran the 40 in 4.72 seconds, just 1/100th of a second behind Armstead. Johnson also finished among the leaders for his position in the vertical leap, broad jump, three-cone drills and 20-yard shuttle.

    With relatively little experience at tackle, there’s no telling how good Johnson can be once he polishes his technique.

    The same holds true for Florida State’s Watson — even more so. A native of Manchester, England, Watson had played only a half-dozen football games before his only season with the Seminoles.

    He grew up playing soccer, then switched to basketball and a scholarship at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. There was also a brief flirtation with boxing before deciding on football.

    “When I was a kid, I always wanted to be a pro,” Watson said. “A professional athlete. I was that kid that said I wanted to play in the NBA.”

    But basketball wasn’t working out at Marist, and Watson came to a crossroads. He could go back to England and get a real job, or try something else ... like football. He had a difficult time finding a junior college that would take him in football — a sport he never had played at any level.

    “They all thought it was crazy, what I was trying to do,” Watson said.

    He finally found a school in Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, Calif. One of his teammates was Kyle Long, brother of Rams defensive end Chris Long and a potential second or third-round draft pick.

    “I went out there and Kyle Long said, ‘Listen. The quarterback’s the basket. Protect the basket,’ ” Watson said. “And it was just as simple as that.”

    After just one season at Florida State, Watson turned pro in part to help provide for his family in England, where times were difficult growing up. There were times food was so scarce that Watson resorted to eating ketchup packets.

    “My mom, she used to try to work as much as she could,” he said. “She raised four kids by herself. I remember one time she was cleaning a building (and took the kids along). And we’re hungry. We’re sitting in the cafeteria area and the only thing that’s on the table is ketchup. ... So being hungry, I just started drinking ketchup. I don’t really like ketchup any more.”

    Watson is even more of a projection than Johnson, but nonetheless is considered one of the top five or six tackles in the draft because of his size (6-5, 310), athletic ability and potential.

    He has been working with former Rams offensive lineman Tom Nutten this offseason at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., trying to turn some of that potential into technique.

    Fluker, on the other hand, is about as experienced as a college player can be. He had 35 starts at Alabama — all at right tackle. Considered the emotional leader of the Crimson Tide offensive line, Fluker is used to playing in big games, and winning.

    If you’re looking for a big, strong, mauler at right tackle, Fluker’s your guy. At 6-5, 339, his biceps are as big as ham hocks, and during his media session sounded as if he was ready to go out and knock someone down. Immediately.

    Fluker said his job is to make the defensive end “feel you” on the other side of the line of scrimmage.

    “You know what I’m saying? Make the opponent feel you,” Fluker said. “Knock ’em off the ball. Let them know early. Set the tone early — that’s the main thing. ... I’m here to take your lunch money.”


  2. #2
    AvengerRam's Avatar
    AvengerRam is offline Moderator Emeritus
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Longwood, Florida, United States
    Age
    46
    Posts
    18,626
    Rep Power
    167

    Re: Thomas: First-Round OT Prospects Come Into Focus For Rams

    Give me the lunch-money thief!
    TekeRam likes this.

  3. #3
    tomahawk247's Avatar
    tomahawk247 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Essex, England
    Age
    27
    Posts
    4,731
    Rep Power
    57

    Re: Thomas: First-Round OT Prospects Come Into Focus For Rams

    Well that's put me off drafting Watson. If his first love is basketball, that's exactly the same as Alex Barron and Jason Smith. No thanks!

  4. #4
    Nick's Avatar
    Nick is offline Superbowl MVP
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Morgantown, WV
    Age
    31
    Posts
    19,483
    Rep Power
    154

    Re: Thomas: First-Round OT Prospects Come Into Focus For Rams

    Johnson is growing on me, though his lack of experience still makes me a bit nervous. I'm a bit of a conservative person by nature when it comes to prospects in the draft, so guys who are more potential than production make me slightly uneasy. For that reason, I'm not particularly interested in Watson unless it's on Day Two.

    Fluker, I think, really fits the bill if you're sold on Saffold @ LT and really just want a powerhouse RT. I think the rookie wage scale makes it easier to draft that kind of player in the first round, whereas in years past, maybe you'd prefer the guy to have LT potential. Still, I don't get the sense that the Rams have soured on Saffold, so I think Fluker makes a lot of sense. And honestly, there's a case to be made for taking him @ 16 if you don't think he'll get by New York and Chicago.

    The $64,000 question becomes how sold are the Rams on Saffold. He's started only 19 games in the past two seasons. From what I recall of the Mike Silver Rams draft war room article, they really had little to no interest in Kalil in the first round. Is that a testament to Saffold or support for the idea that Fisher doesn't like first round offensive linemen? If the Rams aren't comfortable with Saffold as a 16-game starter or long term answer, someone with left tackle potential is going to be desired.
    Last edited by Nick; -03-04-2013 at 08:52 PM.

  5. #5
    Rambos's Avatar
    Rambos is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Cali
    Age
    50
    Posts
    9,144
    Rep Power
    75

    Re: Thomas: First-Round OT Prospects Come Into Focus For Rams

    Nick do you think Watson could come on and start day one?

  6. #6
    Nick's Avatar
    Nick is offline Superbowl MVP
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Morgantown, WV
    Age
    31
    Posts
    19,483
    Rep Power
    154

    Re: Thomas: First-Round OT Prospects Come Into Focus For Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by Rambos View Post
    Nick do you think Watson could come on and start day one?
    Could he? Yes. Would it be pretty? No.

  7. #7
    HUbison's Avatar
    HUbison is offline Superbowl MVP
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Kentucky
    Age
    40
    Posts
    13,592
    Rep Power
    145

    Re: Thomas: First-Round OT Prospects Come Into Focus For Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick
    The $64,000 question becomes how sold are the Rams on Saffold. He's started only 19 games in the past two seasons. From what I recall of the Mike Silver Rams draft war room article, they really had little to no interest in Kalil in the first round. Is that a testament to Saffold or support for the idea that Fisher doesn't like first round offensive linemen? If the Rams aren't comfortable with Saffold as a 16-game starter or long term answer, someone with left tackle potential is going to be desired.
    Nick, I agree with you. And I think it's possible that the answer to "Is Saffold the long-term answer" vis-a-vis "RT or LT in this draft" could be both yes and no.

    Take Fluker this year, and pair him with Saffold. If Saffold kicks his game up, great; we're set. If not, then next year one of our picks could be in the Matthews/Lewan/Kouandjio range. Or even if we play the Skins in the NFC Championship, David Yankey or Chaz Green could be the answer.
    RosieJones likes this.
    "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

  8. #8
    shower beers's Avatar
    shower beers is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    3,045
    Rep Power
    59

    Re: Thomas: First-Round OT Prospects Come Into Focus For Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    Johnson is growing on me, though his lack of experience still makes me a bit nervous. I'm a bit of a conservative person by nature when it comes to prospects in the draft, so guys who are more potential than production make me slightly uneasy. For that reason, I'm not particularly interested in Watson unless it's on Day Two.

    Fluker, I think, really fits the bill if you're sold on Saffold @ LT and really just want a powerhouse RT. I think the rookie wage scale makes it easier to draft that kind of player in the first round, whereas in years past, maybe you'd prefer the guy to have LT potential. Still, I don't get the sense that the Rams have soured on Saffold, so I think Fluker makes a lot of sense. And honestly, there's a case to be made for taking him @ 16 if you don't think he'll get by New York and Chicago.

    The $64,000 question becomes how sold are the Rams on Saffold. He's started only 19 games in the past two seasons. From what I recall of the Mike Silver Rams draft war room article, they really had little to no interest in Kalil in the first round. Is that a testament to Saffold or support for the idea that Fisher doesn't like first round offensive linemen? If the Rams aren't comfortable with Saffold as a 16-game starter or long term answer, someone with left tackle potential is going to be desired.

    Agreed. I think they're sold on Saffold for now, but I also think they're considering his injury history. He went down quite a few times this year.

    Also, Fluker has been getting some buzz as potentially being able to handle the left side, so I think the potential for versatility is intriguing, regardless of what is actually thought of him. Personally, I hold Fluker abover both Johnson and Watson, although I probably have to credit Jason Smith for some of that opinion.

    I'm not sold on him getting past the Bears, either. Their depth at the tackle position makes me shudder. If you're really high on him, I think you pull the trigger at 16. I don't think there's that much of a difference between 16 and 22 to consider passing because of the position.

  9. #9
    HUbison's Avatar
    HUbison is offline Superbowl MVP
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Kentucky
    Age
    40
    Posts
    13,592
    Rep Power
    145

    Re: Thomas: First-Round OT Prospects Come Into Focus For Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by shower
    Personally, I hold Fluker abover both Johnson and Watson, although I probably have to credit Jason Smith for some of that opinion.
    For real, right?! I find myself doing the same thing. I hear that an OT is "athletic", I mentally downgrade him. There's no logic or common sense to that, but I can't help myself. The image of Jason Smith instantly comes to mind.
    "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

  10. #10
    sosa39rams's Avatar
    sosa39rams is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Hamilton, On
    Posts
    5,460
    Rep Power
    43

    Re: Thomas: First-Round OT Prospects Come Into Focus For Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    For real, right?! I find myself doing the same thing. I hear that an OT is "athletic", I mentally downgrade him. There's no logic or common sense to that, but I can't help myself. The image of Jason Smith instantly comes to mind.
    Usually they mean nothing but trouble. Lets not forget that Jason Peters was considered an "athlete" and actually was converted from TE to LT just like Jason Smith. And in 2011, Peters was probably the best LT in the league.


    THE DREAM TEAM

  11. #11
    Azul e Oro is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    CALIFORNIA
    Posts
    2,372
    Rep Power
    72

    Re: Thomas: First-Round OT Prospects Come Into Focus For Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by sosa39rams View Post
    Usually they mean nothing but trouble. Lets not forget that Jason Peters was considered an "athlete" and actually was converted from TE to LT just like Jason Smith. And in 2011, Peters was probably the best LT in the league.
    Let's not forget that Peters was, iirc, an undrafted free agent whose conversion to effective LT took a few years, not a first rounder whom you'd expect to start PDQ.

    I'm not down with another project at any position with these precious first rounders . Let Snead play mad scientist in the lower rounds.

  12. #12
    shower beers's Avatar
    shower beers is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    3,045
    Rep Power
    59

    Re: Thomas: First-Round OT Prospects Come Into Focus For Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by sosa39rams View Post
    Usually they mean nothing but trouble. Lets not forget that Jason Peters was considered an "athlete" and actually was converted from TE to LT just like Jason Smith. And in 2011, Peters was probably the best LT in the league.

    To me though, all you've really done is replace one example of a bust with one example of a success. All I know now is that it's still a risk, and the taste is still sour from the last one.
    Rambos likes this.

  13. #13
    sosa39rams's Avatar
    sosa39rams is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Hamilton, On
    Posts
    5,460
    Rep Power
    43

    Re: Thomas: First-Round OT Prospects Come Into Focus For Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by shower beers View Post
    To me though, all you've really done is replace one example of a bust with one example of a success. All I know now is that it's still a risk, and the taste is still sour from the last one.
    It is a big risk, we're all well aware of that. Lets also not forget how bad of an offensive line coach Steve Loney was. I'd feel comfortable with Bou getting his hands on a guy like Lane Johnson.


    THE DREAM TEAM

  14. #14
    jerseyramsfan's Avatar
    jerseyramsfan is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    419
    Rep Power
    8

    Re: Thomas: First-Round OT Prospects Come Into Focus For Rams

    Pass on Johnson... Give my Fluker at 16...

Similar Threads

  1. Which prospects have the Rams been looking into???
    By ManofGod in forum DRAFT & FA
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: -02-25-2013, 02:01 AM
  2. Thomas from Ga Tech declares-possible round 2 pick
    By general counsel in forum DRAFT & FA
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: -01-10-2010, 09:33 PM
  3. It's time for Rams to focus on next QB ..
    By MauiRam in forum RAM TALK
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: -11-04-2009, 09:38 AM
  4. Rams try to keep their focus
    By RamWraith in forum RAM TALK
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: -09-18-2008, 08:27 PM
  5. Jim Thomas on the Second Round
    By 39thebeast in forum DRAFT & FA
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: -03-06-2008, 02:27 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •