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  • Burwell: Advice Rolls In For Rams On No. 1 Pick

    Advice rolls in for Rams on No. 1 pick

    By Bryan Burwell
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    02/28/2010


    INDIANAPOLIS óNow that the center of the pro football universe has descended on this place for the NFL scouting combine, it's hard to find anyone within a six-block radius of Lucas Oil Stadium who isn't eager, willing or able to offer the Rams a little helpful or slightly misguided advice about how to use that rather valuable No.1 overall pick in the NFL draft.

    In coffee shops and hotel lobbies, greasy-spoon diners and five-star steak houses, on windy street corners and comfy stadium luxury boxes and just about every other place where more than one NFL executive, coach, TV talking head or ink-stained sportswriter might gather to dish rumors and dispense information, it doesn't take long to gather an opinion about who the Rams will, or should, draft.

    In a nutshell, it is a two-man race to the Radio City Music Hall center stage with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on April 22nd. It's either Nebraska's all-world defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh or Oklahoma's strong-armed, but surgically uncertain quarterback Sam Bradford, and it is a furious and intriguing debate that won't be decided before the Rams football trinity of team vice president Kevin Demoff, general manager Billy Devaney and head coach Steve Spagnuolo return to St. Louis on Tuesday evening.

    There's a lot of late momentum building here for the Rams to take Bradford instead of Suh, but it's for all the wrong reasons.

    I keep hearing some very smart football people swear that the Rams have no choice but to draft Bradford because they failed to take Matt Ryan and Mark Sanchez the last two seasons.

    Really?

    That scares me because that sort of misguided logic violates one of the most sacred rules of smart drafting. As Giants general manager Jerry Reece said Saturday, "You should always try to avoid reaching for your needs in the draft."

    If after exhaustive research, scouring through a million miles of game footage, a half-million miles of practice footage, a thousand interviews with everyone from the kid's high school shop teacher to the assistant locker-room attendant, Spags, Devaney and Demoff come away convinced by reports from their scouting department that Bradford is the smarter pick than Suh, then they ought to go for him.

    But please don't do this because it's a matter of need, or worse yet, it's a business decision based on some silliness that you can't invest $12 million on a defensive tackle. It has to be because everyone is convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that Bradford is in fact a better player than Suh.

    Here's what I rarely heard from the NFL folks who touted Bradford over the past few days: I never heard one of them say they were absolutely, positively certain that you draft Bradford because he's a can't-miss stud passer who will become the next Dan Marino, Joe Montana or Peyton Manning. Most of them said he was going to be a "good" quarterback. Some of them said he was going to be a "very good" quarterback.
    Well, I don't want "good" or even "very good" with the first overall pick in the draft.

    That's what they said about Alex Smith, and it's taken him how long to develop into a starting quarterback that might amount to something for the San Francisco *****?

    Do the Rams have three, four or five seasons to wait on the first overall pick to become a star?

    No, they don't, because if that happens, Spags, Devaney and Demoff won't be around when he does.

    When it comes to first-round picks, I want great almost immediately, or at the very least a strong beacon of potential greatness in that first season. And in a year when the NFL draft class is particularly strong at so many other positions, I don't understand why it is a smart move to draft a quarterback who barely played at all last season and is coming off of surgery and hasn't been cleared by anyone's medical staff or played in a pro-style offense in two years of college ball when the alternative is a monster defensive tackle who every NFL personnel department has listed as a once-in-a-generation beast (Suh).

    The Bradford supporters are basing most of their love of him on game tapes from two seasons ago. They said the Rams need a quarterback in the worst way, so draft Bradford. Well, that, boys and girls, is exactly how you draft a quarterback in the worst way, reaching for need instead of taking the best player available regardless of position.

    The Rams haven't made a decision yet on their first-round choice because they don't have all the information they need in front of them. They already have completed more than 90 percent of their evaluations of the defensive linemen and it's clear that Suh and Oklahoma's Gerald McCoy are at the top of their draft board. Now comes the harder work of evaluating the top QBs, both of whom are coming off major injuries and won't be able to throw for anyone for a month.

    Let's face it, the draft is a grandly inexact science, and it can get some men raises and others fired. Let's just look at how hard it is to pick a passer in the first round.

    "Knowing the history of it, it isn't any better than 50-50," Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said. "There is a lot of risk taking any player in the top 5 or top 10 because you have to pay them so much. I don't know of any team that can really afford their first-round pick to not be successful, whether it's a quarterback or an offensive tackle. You need that guy to be successful for you. ... It's high risk, no doubt."

    Going back to 1998, 33 quarterbacks have been drafted in the first round, and based on nothing more substantial than good, old-fashioned common sense, the best you can come up with are 10 or 12 of those draft picks who have turned out to be ó or are pointing towards being ó franchise-type quarterbacks.

    Here are the can't miss franchise types who have been picked since '98:

    Peyton Manning, Donovan McNabb, Carson Palmer, Eli Manning, Phillip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers.

    Everyone else falls into various categories that make you understand how dicey the process is and why Sam Bradford is not an automatic savior. Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Matthew Stafford, Mark Sanchez and Josh Freeman are the best of the rest. Put them in the category of fascinating kids with ascending careers. In the showing-flashes-of-potential category, we have Vince Young and Jay Cutler. In the enigma category we have Michael Vick. And then there is this large collection of QBs, who at the very best can be classified as ordinary, and on the far end, are out and out flops.

    JaMarcus Russell, Brady Quinn, Alex Smith, Jason Campbell, Byron Leftwich, Kyle Boller, Rex Grossman, Matt Leinart, J.P. Losman, David Carr, Joey Harrington, Patrick Ramsey, Chad Pennington, Tim Couch, Akili Smith, Daunte Culpepper, Cade McNown, Ryan Leaf.

    You could say the same thing about any position in the first round, particularly defensive tackle, too. But for me, it's way too early in the process to be proclaiming anything with certainty about Sam Bradford just yet. Way too early.

  • #2
    Re: Burwell: Advice Rolls In For Rams On No. 1 Pick

    This is definitely a subject that will be talked about a lot in the coming weeks.

    My view is that if Suh is definitely better, you take him. But i think if Bradford and Suh are tied, the team will take Bradford
    @EssexRam_

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Burwell: Advice Rolls In For Rams On No. 1 Pick

      Originally posted by tomahawk247 View Post
      This is definitely a subject that will be talked about a lot in the coming weeks.

      My view is that if Suh is definitely better, you take him. But i think if Bradford and Suh are tied, the team will take Bradford
      I think the rams will reach IMO they Know that Suh is better but they need a QB so a QB the rams will draft. They will talk themselves into believing Bradford is better know matter what they see from Suh or they see from Bradford. The only way they want take him now is if the Drís donít sign off on him.
      :ramlogo:

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Burwell: Advice Rolls In For Rams On No. 1 Pick

        Originally posted by eldfan View Post
        I think the rams will reach IMO they Know that Suh is better but they need a QB so a QB the rams will draft. They will talk themselves into believing Bradford is better know matter what they see from Suh or they see from Bradford. The only way they want take him now is if the Drís donít sign off on him.

        I feel the exact same way. If his shoulder is alright they will try to convince themselves into believing he will over shadow Suh.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Burwell: Advice Rolls In For Rams On No. 1 Pick

          Unless the Rams are trading down, there is no way you take Bradford. Like Burwell stated he is good but not #1, not to mention the injury. Imagine that we draft Bradford pay him #1 money & with the suspect line we have he gets mauled like Bulger has for the past couple of years. The Rams don't need him, there are plenty of QB's in the draft to pick from. I would rather find a diamond in the rough who is a football film junkie and can grow into a stellar QB. Draft Suh & have him terrorizing the NFC West for years to come. The Nfc West is weak & all teams need a QB So let them take there pick, lets take the beast who will destroy them physically & mentally.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Burwell: Advice Rolls In For Rams On No. 1 Pick

            So here's a question...just to throw out there.

            How much longer do we put off drafting a quarterback? I hear alot of people saying just take Jake Locker next year....but do we know he won't have an injury? Do we know we will even be high enough to draft him instead of someone else doing it?

            How long do you wait?

            It makes me nervous not taking a quarterback at some point this year...and I don't mean someone we just plan on projecting for a few years before ultimately releasing. It's weird, because I hear people say: "There are no franchise quarterbacks in the draft" but at the same time say "There are plenty of quarterbacks we can choose from in round 2."

            Ok....which one is it? And Which quarterback? Why?

            As for Suh...he looks great, should be really good right.

            What if he's not? Why has no one explained away his numbers? People seem eager to explain away Bradford's numbers or Clausen's numbers, but Suh's numbers are enshrined, untouchable.

            Honestly, I don't know who we should draft 1st overall...

            But I do know I don't want to wait another year or two to get a quarterback that is expected to start.
            "I've been saving the Universe for over a thousand years. I figure it owes me just this once."

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Burwell: Advice Rolls In For Rams On No. 1 Pick

              Originally posted by BrokenWing View Post
              So here's a question...just to throw out there.

              How much longer do we put off drafting a quarterback? I hear alot of people saying just take Jake Locker next year....but do we know he won't have an injury? Do we know we will even be high enough to draft him instead of someone else doing it?

              How long do you wait?

              It makes me nervous not taking a quarterback at some point this year...and I don't mean someone we just plan on projecting for a few years before ultimately releasing. It's weird, because I hear people say: "There are no franchise quarterbacks in the draft" but at the same time say "There are plenty of quarterbacks we can choose from in round 2."

              Ok....which one is it? And Which quarterback? Why?

              As for Suh...he looks great, should be really good right.

              What if he's not? Why has no one explained away his numbers? People seem eager to explain away Bradford's numbers or Clausen's numbers, but Suh's numbers are enshrined, untouchable.

              Honestly, I don't know who we should draft 1st overall...

              But I do know I don't want to wait another year or two to get a quarterback that is expected to start.
              well i think we will draft a QB this year, just not necessarily in the first round. i doubt we go through the first three rounds without getting one QB
              @EssexRam_

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Burwell: Advice Rolls In For Rams On No. 1 Pick

                Ok, so if we wait until he second or even third round, do we get a QB that will become our Franchise quarterback or just someone to be second string? I'm not sure...from everything I hear it sounds more likely that the quarterbacks in later rounds will just be clipboard holders.
                "I've been saving the Universe for over a thousand years. I figure it owes me just this once."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Burwell: Advice Rolls In For Rams On No. 1 Pick

                  Keep in mind some of the elite QB's have been taken after the 1st round, Brady & Montana are a few that come to mind. On top of that IMHO most QB's taken #1 overall go down in flames & are true bust which is the last thing I want to see. And yes I'm aware of some that have panned out.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Burwell: Advice Rolls In For Rams On No. 1 Pick

                    But *most* late round quarterbacks never do anything more than play when the starter goes down...we already have *three* such quarterbacks.
                    "I've been saving the Universe for over a thousand years. I figure it owes me just this once."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Burwell: Advice Rolls In For Rams On No. 1 Pick

                      If the scouting dept does there homework & DeSpags is as good as we think, then I have confidence they can find a diamond in the rough in the later rounds.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Burwell: Advice Rolls In For Rams On No. 1 Pick

                        Originally posted by BrokenWing View Post
                        But *most* late round quarterbacks never do anything more than play when the starter goes down...we already have *three* such quarterbacks.
                        If we take a back in the draft, he will not fit into that mold.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Burwell: Advice Rolls In For Rams On No. 1 Pick

                          I agree that you should never reach for a need pick. Suh is a dominating force and the best overall player. The one question I have is, "How much do you weigh on the position"? DT's do not when Superbowls, but I think it's fair to say that a franchise QB can. There is ~a 70% chance that this draft will have a franchise QB. There is ~a 35% chance that there will be more than 1. Sooo, the evaluation process is so crucial right now. Bradford or Clausen? It's 50/50, unless someone else is the better prospect. Personally I like Bradford this year, but my gut instinct says pick Suh and wait for the much better crop of Qbs next year.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Burwell: Advice Rolls In For Rams On No. 1 Pick

                            Great article. Someone finally putting forth a rational discussion.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Burwell: Advice Rolls In For Rams On No. 1 Pick

                              Originally posted by BIG-BLUE View Post
                              Unless the Rams are trading down, there is no way you take Bradford. Like Burwell stated he is good but not #1, not to mention the injury. Imagine that we draft Bradford pay him #1 money & with the suspect line we have he gets mauled like Bulger has for the past couple of years. The Rams don't need him, there are plenty of QB's in the draft to pick from. I would rather find a diamond in the rough who is a football film junkie and can grow into a stellar QB. Draft Suh & have him terrorizing the NFC West for years to come. The Nfc West is weak & all teams need a QB So let them take there pick, lets take the beast who will destroy them physically & mentally.
                              Thank You Big-Blue!

                              Thats what I've been saying! If the Rams front office wants Bradford trade down to the Bucs and try to get him there. If Washington moves to #2 and takes Bradford the Rams can come out and say they got the guy they wanted all the time.

                              I still want SUH!

                              Comment

                              Related Topics

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                              • AvengerRam_old
                                Don't be that guy
                                by AvengerRam_old
                                Eventually, each of us will have to decide who we favor: Bradford or Suh/G.McCoy. We can only take one of these guys, and a choice will have to be made.

                                If you find yourself in the Suh/.G.McCoy camp, that's fine. They are Blue Chip prospects at a premium position.

                                If you decide that Bradford is the way to go, that's also fine. He is the concensus top QB in this draft.

                                But, whoever you choose, don't make your point by needlessly tearing down the other player(s). I'm starting to see this on other boards... posters who support Suh/G.McCoy with over the top critiques of Bradford that make him sound like the second coming of Ryan Leaf... Bradford fans who are trying to convince everyone that Suh/G.McCoy are overrated players with high bust potential.

                                Don't be that guy.

                                These are all solid prospects and one can make a reasonable argument for any one of them (even G.McCoy - though I personally see Suh as vastly superior).

                                This is NOT and easy decision. Even if it makes you feel better to argue that it is... it isn't.

                                Seriously... don't be that guy.
                                -03-23-2010, 10:06 PM
                              • 39thebeast
                                Jon Claytons take on the Rams pick
                                by 39thebeast
                                INDIANAPOLIS -- In a perfect world, NFL teams draft the best players and best athletes available.

                                Each February, coaches, scouts and general managers assemble here to evaluate approximately 330 players. It's the perfect world. They interview the draft-eligible players and evaluate the physical skills of the ones who work out.

                                Once everyone leaves Indianapolis, though, the perfect world disappears. Financial considerations enter the decision-making process, and those financial decisions will have a major impact on the 2010 draft.

                                At the top of every draft, teams don't necessarily select the best athletes available. Oftentimes, teams take the players who make economic sense based on the positions they play.

                                This year's draft will be the perfect test case for that premise. Most draft experts consider Ndamukong Suh of Nebraska, Gerald McCoy of Oklahoma and Eric Berry of Tennessee as the top three players. Here's the problem: Suh and McCoy are defensive tackles. Berry is a free safety.

                                If the Rams balk at paying a defensive tackle big money, Sam Bradford stands to benefit.
                                Most likely, at least a couple of teams at the top of the draft won't be able to justify paying a defensive tackle or a safety top-three money. It could lead to a quarterback (Sam Bradford or Jimmy Clausen) or a left tackle (Russell Okung) vaulting up the draft board. Sure, coaches and general managers draft players in relation to talent and rankings, but finances and the reality of the game enter the discussion.

                                Let's start with the St. Louis Rams. They have the No. 1 pick and many people believe St. Louis likes Suh more than McCoy. Here's the problem: Drafting Suh No. 1 when the franchise is without a true starting quarterback doesn't make much sense, particularly if the Rams don't bring back Marc Bulger.

                                Looking at the football side of things, Suh might not make sense for the Rams anyway. Selecting the Nebraska defensive tackle would mean the Rams would have him on a defensive line with Chris Long and Adam Carriker, three first-round defensive tackles in the past four years.

                                The problem facing the Rams is that they aren't one defensive tackle away from being competitive. They went 1-15 last season. Adding Suh without a top quarterback might keep the Rams in double-digit loss territory.

                                Dominating defensive tackles can make an impact on good teams, but they don't always change the fates of bad teams. Former Steelers coach Chuck Noll built his Steel Curtain defense around Mean Joe Greene, but that team was loaded with Hall of Famers. Defensive tackles who go to bad teams can do only so much.

                                The Seahawks got a Hall of Fame career from defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy, the third pick in the 1990 draft, but Seattle had only one playoff appearance during his great career. Glenn Dorsey, the fifth pick in the 2008 draft, didn't stop...
                                -02-25-2010, 04:06 PM
                              • r8rh8rmike
                                Choosing Bradford Is Risky Business
                                by r8rh8rmike
                                Choosing Bradford is risky business

                                By Jeff Gordon
                                STLTODAY.COM SPORTS COLUMNIST
                                04/23/2010


                                As it turned out, the Rams could have selected Nebraska star Ndamukong Suh with their first overall pick and bolstered their defense at the point of the attack.

                                Then they could have added Texas quarterback Colt McCoy in the second round. This one-two combination could have advanced the program quickly.

                                Suh would have created instant impact. When rookie head coach Steve Spagnuolo arrived, he vowed to rebuild the Rams from the lines out, with strong defense and a powerful running game serving as his foundation.

                                The addition of a disruptive defensive tackle would have elevated the whole unit. Suh would have made Chris Long better at defensive end. He would have made James Laurinaitis better at middle linebacker, too.

                                The Rams front seven would have become far more imposing.

                                McCoy would have been a natural fit for the Ramsí version of the West Coast offense. He is mobile, gritty and effective in a short passing scheme.

                                Earning second-round dollars, McCoy could have developed at a sensible pace. He would have been just another good prospect, not the Face of the Franchise and Offensive Savior.

                                Alas, we will never know how this sensible approach would have played out for the Rams.

                                Suh is in Motown now, ready to help the Lions finally re-emerge. McCoy is still waiting to get picked. The Rams are still deciding what to do with their 33rd pick, which the team could convert into multiple picks before the second round starts.

                                The Rams chose a different and more difficult course, taking quarterback Sam Bradford with its first overall pick.

                                The selection brought almost universal praise from NFL experts. Bradford is head and shoulders above McCoy as a prospect. Almost everybody agrees on that.

                                But can he quickly move a 1-15 team forward? The challenge will be enormous.

                                Bradford will get a record-setting amount of guaranteed money coming into the league. The stakes will be incredible.

                                At these dollars, the Rams must develop Bradford into a Top 10 NFL quarterback -Ė and do it quickly.

                                He is coming off major shoulder injuries. He must adapt to the Ramsí version of the West Coast offense, which is nothing like the spread offense he played at Oklahoma.

                                He takes the helm of one of the most inept offenses in NFL history. Despite employing Pro Bowl-caliber running back Steven Jackson, the 1-15 Rams averaged 10.9 points per game last season.

                                TEN POINT NINE! It is almost impossible to be that feckless, especially playing in the weak NFC West.

                                Has any rookie quarterback been confronted with a greater challenge?

                                Ideally, Bradford would take his time to reach his...
                                -04-23-2010, 12:07 PM
                              • eldfan
                                QB or no QB? In draft, Rams in search of new face for franchise
                                by eldfan
                                By Jim Corbett, USA TODAY


                                INDIANAPOLIS ó 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
                              • Bar-bq
                                Impact Players
                                by Bar-bq
                                Something struck me today when posting in another thread about the first overall pick this april and the impact either Bradford or Suh could have on the players around them. I made the case that both players have the potential to significantly impact the players around them in the long term, whilst Suh probably has the advantage of being able to do so almost from the first day of practise.

                                I started to wonder why that is and I think it comes down to something deeper than the well-stated grooming period for rookie QBs. Our situation is quite particular because of who we have on defense. We may well return all of our starters at every position except for Defensive End. (Obviously Bradley Fletcher will be plugged in at corner in an attempt to stop some of the bleeding from the position last season. For the purposes of this discussion, he doesn't count because he's already on the roster.) Whilst I would not be entirely comfortable with this (we'll need a DE ASAP if Little doesn't return) I am much more comfortable with returning our starters on defense than on offense.

                                In my opinion, a player like Suh can make these already established starters a whole lot better. It's a given that the play of the linebackers flanking Lauriniatis, which was heavily criticised last season, stands to see exponential levels of improvement with a better pass rush. And I say this completely aware that the incumbent starters may return to their positions in the first unit. We're not exactly missing a Defensive Tackle in particular, but we are lacking a pass rush in the worst way. Suh will go a long way to providing that, putting Chris Long, and everybody else up front for that matter, in a better position to make plays.

                                I can't say I can see the same thing on the offense. Despite our best efforts, our OL is still a mess. Jason Smith, Jason Brown and Jacob Bell are the building blocks and it looks like Alex Barron might be back. For argument's sake, I'll say that only two of the five positions are secure. I'm not convinced Bell won't have to fight to keep his job. We are devoid of a second runningback and our receiving corps is still under question. Lord knows who our starting Tight End will be.

                                My point is this: the immediate potential Sam Bradford could show as a member of the St. Louis Rams is mooted by the players around him, or the lack thereof. Not all needs can be filled in one offseason and if Bradford were the pick, I wouldn't expect him to start this season anyway. It just seems to me like the supporting cast on defense is much stronger than what we have on the other side of the ball.

                                I'm completely undecided as to who should be our pick. I was a huge advocate of Suh when the season ended but the arguments in favour of a QB are equally as strong. If we draft Bradford, it's going to be a good day to be a Detroit Lions fan. They got their guy last season. They have one of the best WR's to...
                                -03-13-2010, 01:35 AM
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