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Thread: Why Saffold's return is the best smokescreen of all

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    Bald_81's Avatar
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    Why Saffold's return is the best smokescreen of all

    We have seen local columnists (mainly one BernieM) harp on Les Snead about having a better poker face leading up to the draft. Snead has taken flack for coming out and saying the Rams are definitely not going to select a QB with the #2 pick because that could limit the amount of potential trade offers they would receive for that selection. Theoretically, if the Rams said they would consider all options including QBs it would create smoke signals to teams like the Jaguars, Browns and Raiders who may want to come up and grab their guy. I personally don't think Snead's omission will hurt the trade prospects of dealing the #2 pick, but I can tell you why Saffold's return is the best smokescreen of them all.

    Before the Rodger Saffold saga unfolded in Oakland, the Rams were in a huge bind. Ok, they lost a 16 game starter in Chris Williams and it looks like Shelley Smith will be heading elsewhere, but the significant loss was Saffold. His versatility to play any position along the line besides center trumps whatever supposed injury-prone concerns you may have about him. When he left our offensive line was in shambles. No way around it. Coupled with the uncertainty surrounding Jake Long's health, it made the intentions for how the Rams would use the second overall pick look very clear: go OT, or trade down and go OT. Fans, draft analysts pretty much knew this and I would bet front office execs knew too. Not to say we wouldn't be going in that direction to begin with, but Rodger's departure basically amplified the need for it. Saffold coming back not only increases our flexibility with how we can use the pick, it also creates confusion for rival teams.

    "Saffold will slide right back in at RG and they'll take Robinson or Matthews to solidify the line." What if the Rams are confident Jake Long is healthy by the end of the preseason? Conversely, what if the Rams are comfortable having Saffold play LT to start the year? Suddenly OT doesn't seem like the slam dunk it used to. The Rams could supplement the offensive line in later rounds with OGs and have Saffold play at LT, or if Long comes back then slide Rodger back in at RG and plug the newly drafted guard on the left side. This opens up the possibility of taking Jadeveon Clowney or Sammy Watkins which didn't seem very likely 48 hours ago.

    "With Saffold back, I bet the Rams take a playmaker on either side of the ball. Put me down for Watkins or Clowney." Wonderful! Just what we want teams to think when we're targeting Robinson or Matthews. Teams who are salivating at the opportunity to draft Clowney should be weary he could be #1 on our board. That would create trade offers and entice teams to move up. I see a trade up for Watkins as less likely, but you never know. But that uncertainty has turned our pick from a sure thing into a wildcard.

    With Rodger back in the fold it not only makes our entire offensive line better, it gives us the opportunity to make our team better with the avenues and possibilities it will open up for us come May.


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    Re: Why Saffold's return is the best smokescreen of all

    You raise a point I've thinking about for a while, that if we re-sign Rodger, we may not be taking an OT with our initial pick be it at #2 or slightly lower after a trade. The question then becomes who do we take.

    I'm not so sure the Rams want Watkins although he would be an upgrade over Givens. My only other thought is the Rams trade down again and select Justin Gilbert or Mike Evans. But Evans I'm reading is good on contested catches but he's not great at separating from coverage and that's been our problem with Brian Quick. Another option is Kalil Mack, but resigning Dunbar makes that unlikely. It makes Barr unlikely as well.

    At the end of the day the Rams may decide Greg Robinson is a long-term replacement for Jake Long and go that route. Jake Matthews, not so much. I've read that his technique is good and fundamentals sound, but he doesn't do well in pursuit, such as blocking downfield. If we go the Justin Gilbert route then at #13 or lower because that spot is tradeable we take Clinton-Dix or Calvin Pryor. I don't think Taylor Lewan will be there as the Giants need offensive linemen. Promises to be interesting stay tuned fans.

    Go Rams!

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    Re: Why Saffold's return is the best smokescreen of all

    I don't think signing Saffold back has any impact on the draft. Fisher has made it clear he's a much better guard then tackle. We clearly gave him top guard pay to play guard. If J Long is not ready day one to play the best move is to draft one of the two best tackles in this draft to play LT. If and when Long comes back then he could slip into the LT spot and move the rookie to guard or RT. The Rams have said when it comes to the O line they will play the best five.

    The line could look like this day one.

    LT Matthews
    LG Saffold
    C Wells
    RG Jones-Rookie
    RT Barksdale

    We have signed Saffold but looks like we are going to lose three guards. If Dahl comes back he is a stop gap player at best. IMO we need to add at least two starting caliber O linemen and one to be developed in this draft. Saffold has an opt out in three years in his deal and J Long has what three good year left maybe? We need to address the O line for the long term not year to year IMO.
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    Re: Why Saffold's return is the best smokescreen of all

    I still think Robinson is our guy. Fisher and Snead know that we need to pound the ball, and play good D to win. Robinson allows us to pound the ball. With Saffold and Robinson on the Left Side they will make easy running.

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    Re: Why Saffold's return is the best smokescreen of all

    Quote Originally Posted by Unspoken View Post
    I still think Robinson is our guy. Fisher and Snead know that we need to pound the ball, and play good D to win. Robinson allows us to pound the ball. With Saffold and Robinson on the Left Side they will make easy running.
    I agree that they want to pound the ball and get some more OLs, but why not trade down and get a guy like Zach Martin ND. It would be nice if we had a narraitive on how close a guy like Martin is to Mathews/Robinson. Is he a mid first rounder ?

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    Re: Why Saffold's return is the best smokescreen of all

    I agree with a couple of the replies and think that Robinson is our guy. The auburn connection all the way around, we will vet the heck out of Robinson. And if he is worth it, we will know and we will definitely draft him. It would be awesome, however, if we can move back from #2 and still end up with Robinson, Matthews, or Watkins.


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    Re: Why Saffold's return is the best smokescreen of all

    Quote Originally Posted by Rambos View Post
    I don't think signing Saffold back has any impact on the draft. Fisher has made it clear he's a much better guard then tackle.
    Of course his re-signing has an impact on the draft.

    Injury prone or not, he is the most versatile Olineman we have, and because he's able to play multiple positions sufficiently, it gives us options that we wouldn't have otherwise.

    The concern over Jake Long's injury is greatly reduced knowing Saffold can play LT until Jake returns. And as a result, in some minds, that fact alone eliminates the need for drafting an OT. At least, as a starting option.

    Depth in the later rounds is understandable.

    Take Saffold out of the equation and obviously, the need for a starting caliber OT is extremely magnified.
    Last edited by Fortuninerhater; -03-15-2014 at 04:59 PM.
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    Re: Why Saffold's return is the best smokescreen of all

    Does it impact need for starting quality guys in the draft? Kinda. Does it really impact who we're targeting at the top? Probably not. It reduces the perceived need for one of the top OT's, but it doesn't mean that we wouldn't still be targeting them. I still very much hope that we upgrade 2 or three spots by taking Matthews and forgetting LT for 10 years, and put Jake on the Right side.
    I believe!

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    Re: Why Saffold's return is the best smokescreen of all

    Quote Originally Posted by TekeRam View Post
    Does it impact need for starting quality guys in the draft? Kinda. Does it really impact who we're targeting at the top? Probably not. It reduces the perceived need for one of the top OT's, but it doesn't mean that we wouldn't still be targeting them. I still very much hope that we upgrade 2 or three spots by taking Matthews and forgetting LT for 10 years, and put Jake on the Right side.
    Which Jake do you want on the left, and which Jake on the right?

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    Re: Why Saffold's return is the best smokescreen of all

    They will trade down, but not too far, because that's what Snead does, what he prefers. There IS no smokescreen. Snead and Fisher allowed Peter King to be IN the war room last year. They are not Bill Bellicheat.
    Barry Waller

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