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Rams aren't tipping hand on Bradford-or-DTs quandary

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  • Rams aren't tipping hand on Bradford-or-DTs quandary

    Originally posted by Don Banks
    The first round of the NFL draft is still almost eight weeks away, and already there is a drumbeat building the St. Louis Rams will eventually realize they have to take a quarterback like Oklahoma's Sam Bradford with the No. 1 pick because the value of that position at the top of the draft far outweighs the value at defensive tackle, and all other positions. The talents of Ndamukong Suh or Gerald McCoy notwithstanding.

    It's somewhat of a curiously timed argument to make, given that defensive tackles received three of the league's six franchise-player designations this week, with a fourth defensive tackle, Pittsburgh's Casey Hampton, being re-signed by the Steelers to avoid franchising him. Clearly someone in the NFL believes defensive tackles are pretty high up in the pecking order when it comes to positional value.

    The man who has been thrust into the vortex of the quarterback-versus-defensive tackle debate in St. Louis, Rams general manager Billy Devaney, made his appearance in the NFL Scouting Combine media room Friday morning and got plenty of chances to explain his thinking on the positional value front. In general, Devaney said that quarterbacks rule, but there are exceptions to be made. Say for instance, the quarterback turns out to be Ryan Leaf, whom Devaney helped draft in San Diego in 1998, and the defensive tackle turns out to be Warren Sapp.

    If only the Rams could see around that particular corner before they have to turn in their selection card on April 22.

    "Maybe as a rule,'' said Devaney, when I asked him if it's tougher to make the case for taking a defensive tackle first overall. "But when you need players that you deem difference-makers, I don't think it makes any difference what position they play. We may be wrong, but we think these two kids [Suh and McCoy] that we're talking about are difference-makers and they impact the game. So them being defensive tackles doesn't bother us at all.''

    Which is not the same as saying the Rams intend to pass on a quarterback like Bradford or even Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen to take Suh or McCoy. Devaney said the Rams have just begun their information gathering and have "a long way to go'' to reach a decision. Media speculation in recent days says St. Louis will end up with a quarterback atop the draft, but I'm just wondering how much that will change if the Rams make a trade for Michael Vick sometime next month? Or is that particular slice of media speculation no longer operative and I didn't get the memo? According to Devaney, the Rams haven't talked with the Eagles about Vick or any other Philly player.

    It seems to me there are still plenty of moving parts remaining before the Rams are in position to make a final decision. There's the all-important medical clearances that have to be granted for Bradford (shoulder) and Clausen (toe), their pro day workouts, their private workouts, a possible trade or quarterback signing by St. Louis, and then the whole process of falling in or out of love with one of the four likely choices as the pre-draft scouting process intensifies.

    "You can't force the issue,'' Devaney said. "At some point, we need to address the quarterback situation. If it gets down to we think the defensive tackles are far and away the highest-rated players in the draft, you can't force it and say, 'Hey, we've got to get a quarterback and drop way down on your value.' But that's what we're trying to figure out right now.''

    All that said, you'd be foolish to throw any water on the idea that the QB-needy Rams will end up taking a quarterback, because who wins in the NFL without a viable option at that position? And no, we don't consider Marc Bulger returning for another year as the St. Louis starter to be viable. If St. Louis gets to the draft without adding any veteran quarterbacks who factor into the starting equation, the pressure to take Bradford or Clausen could grow exponentially. And Devaney knows it.

    "Let's say the defensive tackles are graded 7.0 and the quarterback was 6.9,'' Devaney said in a later side session with a handful of reporters. "Is that close enough to take [the QB]? All things equal, you're going to take the quarterback. If [the QB grade is]a little bit lower, you probably go with the quarterback. But I know this, the two defensive tackles -- and we haven't put a final grade on the quarterbacks yet -- are way, way up there.

    "The defensive tackles are difference-makers and we have them graded extremely high. But I have a feeling at the end of the day, the quarterbacks are going to be, if not right there, they're going to be within striking distance so that you have to think about taking them. Because of [the value issue].''


    That sounds like quarterbacks rule to me, but again, it's a bit early to know for sure if the Rams have a passer or a pass-rusher on their brain. When you add in the element that Devaney and Co. pretty much have to nail this pick in order to ever get the chance to oversee another Rams draft, the intrigue level surrounding the No. 1 choice in St. Louis this spring should be sky high.

    Maybe this won't be an uneventful draft season after all.
    The bolded part is very interesting to me. You read the first part and you think, okay, we're definitely leaning toward taking a DT. Then you read the second part and you have that mentality totally thrown out. Billy is extremely open and you can tell he speaks his mind. I like that he is upfront about everything and lays everything out in the open. This can be attributed to the fact that we are picking first so he has his pick of whoever he likes, but I like it as a fan that he doesn't leave us in the dark. This should be a very interesting 50+ days until April 22nd.
    Last edited by Bald_81; -02-26-2010, 09:20 PM.

  • #2
    Re: Rams aren't tipping hand on Bradford-or-DTs quandary

    Originally posted by Bald_81 View Post
    The bolded part is very interesting to me. You read the first part and you think, okay, we're definitely leaning toward taking a DT. Then you read the second part and you have that mentality totally thrown out.
    Ah-hah! He's got you right where he wants you. ;)

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    • MauiRam
      Devaney: Rams still weighing options ..
      by MauiRam
      Associated Press

      Updated: April 6, 2010, 10:13 PM ET

      ST. LOUIS -- A day after the St. Louis Rams released Marc Bulger, general manager Billy Devaney said it's far from certain that the team will take a quarterback with the first pick of the draft.

      Smoke screens are typical this time of the year, but Devaney told the AP in a telephone interview Tuesday that the game plan hasn't changed even though the move leaves them with three inexperienced quarterbacks on the roster. Devaney said several players remain under consideration for the No. 1 pick, and refused to tip his hand whether Oklahoma's Sam Bradford was at the top of the list.

      A couple of weeks ago we were at Suh's workout and we left and said 'Oh my gosh, this guy's really something!' A week before that we watched Gerald McCoy and it was like 'Oh my gosh, this guy's really something!' It's like a beauty contest, you can't go wrong. One is more beautiful than the other. -- Rams GM Billy Devaney

      The Rams will attend pro workout days for two more quarterbacks, Texas' Colt McCoy and Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen, on Thursday and Friday, and remain impressed with Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.

      St. Louis has scheduled a second private workout with Bradford about a week before the draft, set for April 22-24.

      "We haven't come close to deciding," the GM said.

      So far, Devaney said there have been "zero" discussions with other teams interested in trading up for the pick, and didn't anticipate any such conversations until perhaps just before the draft.

      The Rams were among teams who gushed after Bradford's workout a week ago. He's the presumed front-runner for the top pick after convincing observers that season-ending shoulder surgery in October was a success, although Suh was considered to be No. 1 shortly after the season.

      "A couple of weeks ago we were at Suh's workout and we left and said 'Oh my gosh, this guy's really something!'" Devaney said. "A week before that we watched Gerald McCoy and it was like 'Oh my gosh, this guy's really something!'

      "It's like a beauty contest, you can't go wrong. One is more beautiful than the other."

      Releasing Bulger, their starter since 2003, leaves the Rams with veteran backup A.J. Feeley and two players coming off their rookie seasons. Feeley, who'll be 33 in May, has 15 career starts in 10 seasons. Keith Null, who started the last four games after Bulger was sidelined with a fractured left shin bone and backup Kyle Boller was ineffective, had nine interceptions with three touchdown passes. Mike Reilly was a late-season pickup who has yet to make his NFL debut.

      Devaney would not confirm a report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Bulger, who was released on his 33rd birthday,...
      -04-07-2010, 10:02 AM
    • eldfan
      St. Louis Rams go into combine in better shape
      by eldfan
      St. Louis Rams go into combine in better shape

      BY JIM THOMAS
      ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
      02/24/2010

      Two months to go until the NFL draft, so a lot can happen for the Rams between now and April 22-24. And despite the understandable obsession with the No. 1 overall pick, the Rams do have eight other selections.

      But as the NFL converges today in Indianapolis for the six-day gridiron job fair known as the NFL scouting combine, four names stand out for St. Louis: defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh of Nebraska and Gerald McCoy of Oklahoma and quarterbacks Sam Bradford of Oklahoma and Jimmy Clausen of Notre Dame.

      At this point repeating, at this point it looks like the Rams' No. 1 overall pick will come from one of those four names.

      Suh and McCoy are widely considered the top two players in the draft. Most mocks have Suh rated ahead of McCoy, but a few have it the other way around. What can the two do to separate themselves at the combine?

      "I don't know," Rams general manager Billy Devaney said. "They've done everything. With their play. Their character is off-the-charts positive. They love playing football. There's nothing more they can do. Those two kids are awesome."

      Suh will work out at the combine. There has been no indication that McCoy will not. Devaney isn't a workout guy, per se, but even he is looking forward to the prospect of watching both those guys run around the floor of Lucas Oil Stadium.

      "They're both great players," Devaney said. "It's amazing how the same position a little bit different styles but man, I don't think you can go wrong with either one of those guys."

      Unless, of course, you really, really need a quarterback. In the case of Bradford and Clausen, neither will throw at the combine because of injuries. Clausen is recovering from toe surgery, Bradford from shoulder surgery. Dozens of doctors and athletic trainers will take a look at them in Indy.

      "The medical (reports) will be important for both those quarterbacks," Devaney said. "And we want to see Colt McCoy's (medical info) to a lesser degree."

      McCoy, the quarterback from Texas, suffered an injury to his throwing arm early in the BCS championship game against Alabama.

      "It sounds like he's going to work (at the combine)," Devaney said. "It doesn't seem like it was as serious as the other two guys. But we're anxious to see him throw."

      Bradford isn't scheduled to throw for pro scouts until March 25 in Norman, Okla. Clausen isn't expected to do so until the first week of April in South Bend, Ind.

      For those quarterbacks in particular, the combine interview sessions might be important as well, helping a coach gauge their intelligence, passion for the game, and personality.
      ...
      -02-24-2010, 12:53 PM
    • r8rh8rmike
      St. Louis Rams Go Into Combine In Better Shape
      by r8rh8rmike
      St. Louis Rams go into combine in better shape

      BY JIM THOMAS
      ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
      02/24/2010


      Two months to go until the NFL draft, so a lot can happen for the Rams between now and April 22-24. And despite the understandable obsession with the No. 1 overall pick, the Rams do have eight other selections.

      But as the NFL converges today in Indianapolis for the six-day gridiron job fair known as the NFL scouting combine, four names stand out for St. Louis: defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh of Nebraska and Gerald McCoy of Oklahoma and quarterbacks Sam Bradford of Oklahoma and Jimmy Clausen of Notre Dame.

      At this point repeating, at this point it looks like the Rams' No. 1 overall pick will come from one of those four names.

      Suh and McCoy are widely considered the top two players in the draft. Most mocks have Suh rated ahead of McCoy, but a few have it the other way around. What can the two do to separate themselves at the combine?

      "I don't know," Rams general manager Billy Devaney said. "They've done everything. With their play. Their character is off-the-charts positive. They love playing football. There's nothing more they can do. Those two kids are awesome."

      Suh will work out at the combine. There has been no indication that McCoy will not. Devaney isn't a workout guy, per se, but even he is looking forward to the prospect of watching both those guys run around the floor of Lucas Oil Stadium.

      "They're both great players," Devaney said. "It's amazing how the same position a little bit different styles but man, I don't think you can go wrong with either one of those guys."

      Unless, of course, you really, really need a quarterback. In the case of Bradford and Clausen, neither will throw at the combine because of injuries. Clausen is recovering from toe surgery, Bradford from shoulder surgery. Dozens of doctors and athletic trainers will take a look at them in Indy.

      "The medical (reports) will be important for both those quarterbacks," Devaney said. "And we want to see Colt McCoy's (medical info) to a lesser degree."

      McCoy, the quarterback from Texas, suffered an injury to his throwing arm early in the BCS championship game against Alabama.

      "It sounds like he's going to work (at the combine)," Devaney said. "It doesn't seem like it was as serious as the other two guys. But we're anxious to see him throw."

      Bradford isn't scheduled to throw for pro scouts until March 25 in Norman, Okla. Clausen isn't expected to do so until the first week of April in South Bend, Ind.

      For those quarterbacks in particular, the combine interview sessions might be important as well, helping a coach gauge their intelligence, passion for the game, and personality....
      -02-23-2010, 11:44 PM
    • eldfan
      QB or no QB? In draft, Rams in search of new face for franchise
      by eldfan
      By Jim Corbett, USA TODAY


      INDIANAPOLIS The St. Louis Rams own the first overall pick and a likely draft-day quarterback quandary.
      The consensus best prospects among evaluators of this draft class are defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh of Nebraska and Gerald McCoy of Oklahoma.

      But if healthy, former Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford is considered the top quarterback and the 1-15 Rams are a franchise without a face.

      They seem set on moving on from the battered and beaten-up Marc Bulger and are in desperate need of a long-term answer at quarterback to energize their fan base.


      FROM THE COMBINE: Top prospect Dez Bryant won't work out
      DRAFT ORDER: How teams will select in the first round

      On Thursday, ESPN's Adam Schefter guaranteed on-air that the Rams will select Bradford first overall in the April 22-24 draft.

      One problem. Bradford, who is rehabilitating his throwing shoulder following Oct. 28 AC joint reconstructive surgery, won't throw for teams until his March 25 personal pro day in Norman, Okla.

      Only then will teams have a better idea about the status of the shoulder of the top-rated quarterback prospect.


      PHOTOS: NFL scouting combine

      "That took a lot of pressure off us right away when Dr. Schefter cleared him medically," Rams general manager Billy Devaney cracked Friday. "We feel really good about the health status of Sam Bradford now with Dr. Schefter giving him a clean bill of health and guaranteeing our pick. So we're on to the second round right now."

      Devaney did concede the team is considering Suh, McCoy, Bradford and Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen. "I think we pretty much know who the potential candidates are," he said.

      He also conceded the organization is still mulling which position can help the team most.

      "Sure," he said. "When you're 1-15, there's a lot of different directions you can go and we're still trying to figure that out. There are four guys that will be given consideration. But we have to be prepared for anything (a trade down).

      "Those four guys, we like everything about them so far."

      The Rams have taken a defensive linemen near the top of the draft in two of the last three years, with defensive tackle Adam Carriker (2007) and defensive end Chris Long (2008).

      No team has called yet with any offers for the top pick. What's more, the Rams have not talked to the Philadelphia Eagles about quarterback Michael Vick.

      "I can tell you this, we have not talked to Philadelphia about any of their players," Devaney said.

      Devaney did insist: The Rams can't overdraft for position.

      "If it gets down to we think the defensive tackles, these two kids, are far and away...
      -03-01-2010, 01:36 PM
    • r8rh8rmike
      Rams In Unfamiliar Spot: Middle Of Draft
      by r8rh8rmike
      Rams in unfamiliar spot: middle of draft

      BY JIM THOMAS
      Thursday, January 6, 2011 12:20 am

      No matter where the Rams finish in the standings, this always is a busy time and exciting time for general manager Billy Devaney and the personnel department. Even so, after coming so close to a division title and a playoff berth, the season's sudden end was a jolt to the system.

      "I sit up in my office and I look out on the practice field, and I'm thinking at this time last week we're geeked up, we're playing, we're practicing, guys are joking around," Devaney said Wednesday.

      And now?

      "It's awful coming in," he said. "It's quiet. The building's quiet. The silence is deafening."

      But with the Rams' offseason now underway, the good news is that at least Devaney doesn't have to worry about picking No. 1 or No. 2 as has been the case the past three drafts.

      "It's great, because you're not going to ask me every day who we're taking," Devaney teased. "Who we're thinking about. Because we don't have any idea."

      Actually, Devaney already has a little bit of an idea even this early in the pre-draft process. (Not that he's telling.) The Rams held their first round of draft meetings last month, well before the regular season ended.

      "About 3-4 weeks ago, we put our tentative (draft) board up and started the process," Devaney said. "We're lining up East-West and Senior Bowl (college all-star game) trips. I mean, it is full go. That is the beauty of this thing. There isn't any down time. You just go."

      That's true even with the uncertainty of the NFL labor situation. Those in the personnel department are proceeding full speed ahead; that's the only way they can approach it.

      "We go over every draftable player right now by position and what needs to be done (in evaluating that player) between now and the draft," Devaney said. "What concerns there are. We have all sorts of symbols. The guy may have a medical concern. Maybe a character concern. Maybe a learning concern. Work ethic.

      "Whatever questions that the scouts have picked up. 'Is this guy a bad character guy or did he just mess up a little bit? Is it something that we really need to dig into?' We started that process. Not necessarily putting grades on 'em, but it gives us a plan (as to) what we need to find out about these guys."

      Just like every other NFL team, the draft list isn't complete because underclassmen still have time to declare for the draft.

      "The juniors (and third-year sophomores) as they come out now, we have tapes being sent out to our scouts at home," Devaney said. "We haven't done a lot of work on the juniors until they declare."

      Devaney and the scouting staff also...
      -01-06-2011, 10:27 PM
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