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  1. #1
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    Wagoner, Sat. at the combine

    Saturday Evening
    Saturday, February 25, 2006

    INDIANAPOLIS -

    - It's going to be tough to top the activity that was Friday here, but Saturday and Sunday are important days for the Rams' coaching staff to really get a close look at some positions of need. Saturday was the day for the defensive linemen and tight ends to make their appearances. Here's my quick reactions on meeting and seeing some of these kids.

    - Let's start with the tight ends. Vernon Davis is the top rated tight end for a reason and he is every bit of the 6'3 he measured in at. Having seen tape, he is a stunning athlete with all kinds of speed to burn. After listening to him today, he is not lacking in self confidence and is very sure of himself. When asked about comparisons to Antonio Gates, Davis said he thinks there are things he does better than Gates. Davis is going to be a big-time player in the NFL, but I'm not sure he will be around when the Rams pick.

    - Leonard Pope of Georgia ranks high on the WOW scale. He measured in at 6'7, but he looks bigger. He might be my favorite tight end in this draft. He says blocking is his first priority, but it's obvious that he has enough speed to stretch the field and the hands to make plays in the red zone. I have a feeling that should his workout numbers compare to his measurements, Pope will be a fast riser in this draft. The Rams are interested according to Pope and that is no surprise. He might actually be a better fit for what the Rams are trying to do than Davis.

    - Marcedes Lewis of UCLA is kind of the happy medium between Davis and Pope. He has good size and is bigger than Davis, but smaller than Pope. He's fast and is faster than Pope, but slower than Davis. He actually received scholarship offers from UConn, Arizona and Cal to play basketball. He's a good athlete and hould last longer than Pope and Davis, but he will be an intriguing option as the draft nears.

    - Dominique Byrd of USC is a confident guy with a more compact body, but he is also confident in himself and could turn into a nice target with the blocking skills necessary to get it done at this level...Anthony Fasano of Notre Dame has had his ups and downs and should fall somewhere in the second round...David Thomas of Texas is interesting also. He had a big game against USC in the national title game and could be had later on...There's no doubt the Rams are looking to upgrade the tight end spot and will probably do so through the draft considering the number of prospects available. I wouldn't completely rule out the possibility of the Rams going tight end in the first round, especially if Davis is there, but indications are pointing in the direction of defense. There is too much talent at the top that will help the Rams put need and value together on defense.

    - Speaking of defense, there were some interesting and intriguing prospects on that side of the ball that made appearances today.

    - I thought Pope was high on the WOW factor until I met North Carolina State defensive end Mario Williams. He breaks the scale. He measured in at 6'7, 295 pounds. The guy is a freak of nature. He doesn't look 295 and doesn't move like he's 295. He wouldn't give up what he expects to run in the 40, but said it will be better than a 4.8. That would be fine, but I wouldn't be stunned if he clocked a 4.6. I'm usually not big on buying into the hype for a player making an immediate impact as a rookie, but if I could pick one player to put on the Rams next year at this point it would be Super Mario.

    - Last year, there was a linebacker named Robert McCune who stole the show with an amazing story of his road through the military in Iraq and Korea to the combine and the NFL. This year's story is even better and this time, the player is a big-time prospect in Penn State defensive end Tamba Hali. Hali is from Liberia, a war-torn country he fled when he was 10 years old. I will have a full story on Hali tomorrow, but what an interesting, intelligent kid. He will make some team happy on and off the field.

    - Oregon defensive tackle Haloti Ngata is an interesting player also. He is massive at about 340 pounds, but he is quick and strong and has tremendous potential as a run stuffer. Should the Rams go to a 3-4 defense as the base defense, he would make an excellent tackle in the middle. He still needs work as a pass rusher, though, and I'm not sure he would be the answer for the Rams.

    - Manny Lawson, the "other" end from North Carolina State has Leonard Little Jr. written all over him. Lawson is around 235 pounds and played some end and linebacker for the Wolfpack. He could be this year's DeMarcus Ware or Shawne Merriman and become the next in the new breed of end/rush linebacker for someone. Right now, he is probably not too highly thought of as far as the first round, but a versatile athlete such as Lawson should have no problem finding a home and will probably rise up the board. He's someone the Rams will keep their eye on.

    - That's all for tonight. Tomorrow is linebacker and defensive back day, so stay tuned.


  2. #2
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Wagoner, Sat. at the combine

    Leonard Pope of Georgia ranks high on the WOW scale. He measured in at 6'7, but he looks bigger. He might be my favorite tight end in this draft. He says blocking is his first priority, but it's obvious that he has enough speed to stretch the field and the hands to make plays in the red zone. I have a feeling that should his workout numbers compare to his measurements, Pope will be a fast riser in this draft. The Rams are interested according to Pope and that is no surprise. He might actually be a better fit for what the Rams are trying to do than Davis.
    Two things.

    1) Pope actually measured in a quarter of an inch from 6'8". The guy's a MONSTER. I still have him to the Bears @ 26th overall, and what a weapon he'd be for them. Especially in their running game opening up holes for Thomas Jones and Ced Benson.

    2) Maybe people of the same first name have some sort of ESP or mental connection, because I remember saying almost a week ago, "I'm not saying Davis couldn't block or won't be a good red zone target, but if we're looking for that kind of player, Leonard Pope is a better fit because of his size and blocking ability."


    I wouldn't completely rule out the possibility of the Rams going tight end in the first round, especially if Davis is there, but indications are pointing in the direction of defense. There is too much talent at the top that will help the Rams put need and value together on defense.
    Music to my ears!


    If I could pick one player to put on the Rams next year at this point it would be Super Mario.
    Wow, can you imagine if the Rams actually were in a position like the Packers? It's very likely Green Bay will have to choose between Super Mario and AJ Hawk. What I wouldn't give to have to make that kind of choice. Either way, you're getting a defensive stud.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Wagoner, Sat. at the combine

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick
    Two things.

    1) Pope actually measured in a quarter of an inch from 6'8". The guy's a MONSTER. I still have him to the Bears @ 26th overall, and what a weapon he'd be for them. Especially in their running game opening up holes for Thomas Jones and Ced Benson.

    2) Maybe people of the same first name have some sort of ESP or mental connection, because I remember saying almost a week ago, "I'm not saying Davis couldn't block or won't be a good red zone target, but if we're looking for that kind of player, Leonard Pope is a better fit because of his size and blocking ability."




    Music to my ears!




    Wow, can you imagine if the Rams actually were in a position like the Packers? It's very likely Green Bay will have to choose between Super Mario and AJ Hawk. What I wouldn't give to have to make that kind of choice. Either way, you're getting a defensive stud.

    I would very much love to have Leonard Pope in Horns, standing at the back of the endzone with his arms in the air, easily catching the ball over the little opposition LBs trying to stop him. And i also think that Pope would be better then Davis. I think Linehan's system relies on talented TEs that can block and catch passes, and Pope's blocking may make him more valuable then Davis.

    If we hadn't beaten Dallas on the last game of the season we would have picked 8th. If we hadn't come from behind to beat the Texans we would have picked 3rd! Thats how bad our strength of schedule was. Then we would have had Mario Williams in the bag. Not only that, but we could have traded down a place or two with a team that wanted a QB or D'Brickashaw Ferguson

  4. #4
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    Re: Wagoner, Sat. at the combine

    AJ hawk is huge. He is about as wide across as Alan Faneca.

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