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QB or no QB? In draft, Rams in search of new face for franchise

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  • QB or no QB? In draft, Rams in search of new face for franchise

    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 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," the Rams GM said. "That's what we're trying to figure out right now."

    So the draft-room question for the Rams: Quarterback or quarterback disruptor?

    "At some point, we have to address the quarterback situation," Devaney said. "For me the physical skills are almost the easy part now because there's so much that goes into being a quarterback in the NFL.

    "The work ethic you have to have, the leadership, the time you put in, the media scrutiny. If you can't handle that stuff, you're going to have a hard time."

    How does a team distill those intangibles?

    Devaney said one way is to sit down over dinner after the pro days of Bradford, Clausen and even former Texas quarterback Colt McCoy with the Rams brain trust, including head coach Steve Spagnuolo.

    He said that in addition to renowned orthopedist Dr. James Andrews, who performed the surgery on Bradford, the Rams orthopedist and an independent third-party doctor would help the team make a final decision on clearing the quarterback's shoulder.

    What if Bradford's shoulder isn't all the way ready at his March 25 pro day?

    "It makes you pause," Devaney said, noting that a quarterback taken first overall would become the face of the franchise. "Sure it does. You're projecting, 'Yeah, I think he's going to be OK.'

    "That's a hell of a projection.

    NFL Network analyst Charley Casserly, who was the Texans' GM when they selected defensive end Mario Williams first overall in 2006, said deciding whom to select likely will come down to signability.

    "On the days they (the Rams) want to be positive about their life, 'Hey, we can't lose on this decision,'" Casserly said. "Clearly, Bradford's physical is huge in this. You start there. You have to cross that bridge, then, you say, now we have all the pieces, now we can decide if we're going to take him.

    "Of the two defensive tackles, they have to find who best fits their system.

    "And certainly signability will enter into it. Kevin Demoff is their negotiator ... He's going to negotiate with more than one player in that negotiation."

  • #2
    Re: QB or no QB? In draft, Rams in search of new face for franchise

    I think we will end up drafting Bradford. I am not against that. I just hope he is the right guy and we dont force ourselves to choose him because we need a QB.


    • #3
      Re: QB or no QB? In draft, Rams in search of new face for franchise

      I want SUH.

      If the Rams front office is thinking take need (QB S. Bradford) over BPA. I hope they switch picks with the Bucs in the first round and get more picks. I don't care if it is just for there second 2nd round pick and a 3rd round pick.

      If Washington drops to #2 (in the Lions spot) and drafts QB S. Bradford. That just means the Rams get DT G. McCoy. I think he is a better fit in Spags system anyway. Then we still have the extra 2nd and 3rd round picks. The Rams could Draft a QB with one of those picks.

      G.M. B Devaney wants differencemakers With 5 picks in the first three rounds he should be able to hopefully find some players that turn out to be great!

      If Skins don't move to the 2nd pick the Rams can draft the QB of there dreams. (I would rather take the DT).
      But you never know Bradford could become the best QB to ever play or be worse than a Ryan Leaf.


      • #4
        Re: QB or no QB? In draft, Rams in search of new face for franchise

        I am also really up and down right now. Like I wish we took Suh. They guy is a monster, and he is a pure force in the middle.

        We have been holding off getting a QB for years now, and what better the opportunity than to draft him now.

        Bradford is excellent, and he fits really well into our system (WCO).

        Although, we get Suh and build around him a nice solid defense, or McCoy.

        I am not exactly sure what we should do right now. I would probably say QB ( i can't believe im saying this SUH<3) but with our weak division, its the perfect time for us to turn around quickly and try to go positive.


        • #5
          Re: QB or no QB? In draft, Rams in search of new face for franchise

          1. Bradford didn't play in a WCO, so there is no guarantee he fits in.

          2. The division is still pretty good. We'd be lucky to win one game in it next season.


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          • eldfan
            QB factor complicates draft picture
            by eldfan
            QB factor complicates draft picture

            Sports Columnist Bryan Burwell
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            With only 43 more shopping days remaining before the NFL draft, Rams general manager Billy Devaney and the rest of his personnel entourage have descended on Indianapolis the past few days for the NFL combine with only one purpose in mind: find a way to fix this wretched mess of a franchise in record time.

            When you have been looking up from the bottom of the NFL barrel for as long as the Rams have — and when the entire football world is just waiting to see exactly what you will do with the No. 1 overall pick — that puts an extraordinary amount of expectation on a GM's shoulders. Devaney, a little guy with an oversized competitive streak, privately simmers when he detects even the slightest hint that people look down their noses at his football team and how much disrespect — whether real or imagined — seems to have piled up on this franchise since he arrived here three years ago.

            So now the best way to fix all those slights is to nail this draft. From start to finish, this offseason could be his championship season, a make-or-break shopping spree that could transform the pitiful Rams from embarrassing to competitive almost overnight.

            "Obviously, everybody knows we have the first pick in the draft coming up," Devaney said a few days ago when he met the media in Indianapolis. "And I certainly hope this time next year when we get together, we're not talking about the first pick in the draft. Otherwise (dramatic pause) ... well, I really hope we're not talking about the first pick in the draft next year."

            The dramatic pause with no words told a story as much as the words Devaney spoke. When his voice trailed off after that "otherwise," it sounded like a man who understood that the clock is ticking on his football life. "Otherwise" means that who knows what a prospective new owner might think after he has just invested upwards of $700 million on a team only to see it end up as the worst team in the NFL two years running.

            In talking to plenty of people around NFL circles in Indy last weekend, everyone agreed on one thing:

            Devaney has a huge challenge in front of him — some say it's the equivalent of stocking an expansion franchise — and he shouldn't be even remotely close to knowing for sure what the Rams will do with that No. 1 pick.

            "If they've already made up their minds at this stage of the process, they're crazy," said one longtime NFL executive. "It would be like buying a house and not going inside to see what it's like. You need an inspector to check the pipes, the roof, the electricity."

            Devaney and head coach Steve Spagnuolo have a lot of work to do before they begin to sort out all the...
            -03-02-2010, 12:01 PM
          • r8rh8rmike
            Burwell: Advice Rolls In For Rams On No. 1 Pick
            by r8rh8rmike
            Advice rolls in for Rams on No. 1 pick

            By Bryan Burwell

            INDIANAPOLIS —Now 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.


            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...
            -02-28-2010, 06:52 PM
          • Bald_81
            Rams aren't tipping hand on Bradford-or-DTs quandary
            by Bald_81
            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....
            -02-26-2010, 08:18 PM
          • Nick
            Prisco: If Rams want to win, Bradford is easy -- and only -- choice
            by Nick
            If Rams want to win, Bradford is easy -- and only -- choice
            Feb. 27, 2010
            By Pete Prisco
   Senior Writer
            Tell Pete your opinion!

            INDIANAPOLIS -- When was the last Super Bowl you came away from thinking that a defensive tackle decided the game?

            Now you know why the St. Louis Rams have no choice but to take a quarterback with the first overall pick in the April draft.

            That quarterback should be Oklahoma's Sam Bradford.

            Forget the charade, Rams. Forget the two top defensive tackles. As good as Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh and Oklahoma's Gerald McCoy are as players, that position doesn't come close to being as important as quarterback.

            You don't win championships with defensive tackles.

            You win with great passers.

            The Rams were 1-15 last season. Their offense was horrible. The passing game was the problem. They were 28th in passing and had just two pass plays of 40-plus yards, the lowest number in the league.

            Starting quarterback Marc Bulger, who missed time with injuries, is talking retirement and the Rams might not want him back if he doesn't.

            When Rams general manager Billy Devaney met with the media here at the combine, he said the Rams have pretty much narrowed their possibilities with the top pick -- provided there is no trade -- to four players, the two defensive tackles, Bradford and Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen.

            "We know this," Devaney said. "It if comes down to that right now, there are four guys that will be given consideration."

            There is still a lot of work left to do before decision day. We have the combine, pro days and two months of evaluation.

            And then there's the most important part of all: Is Bradford's surgically repaired shoulder as good as new?

            Bradford suffered a shoulder injury while being tackled in a game last September against BYU. He came back for a game, but the reinjured the shoulder against Texas. That's when his season ended.

            Bradford had surgery in October, performed by esteemed surgeon Dr. James Andrews, but he's not all the way back to where he can throw. So he isn't throwing here at the combine, but will instead wait for his Pro Day workout in Norman on March 25.

            "We'll get with the doctors, our medical people, as soon as we get back to St. Louis," Devaney said. "That'll be a big decision, and a lot will go into that. We'll probably have more than one opinion on that. We want to get as accurate and thorough information we can, so we'll find out after this process is over. Yeah, that's why we're putting it on the doctors. You hope so. You'll get obviously all the tests, but we've got to see him throw.

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            -02-27-2010, 03:22 PM
          • eldfan
            Is Sam Bradford No. 1? Pro day will show QB's worth to Rams
            by eldfan
            By Jim Corbett, USA TODAY

            When Sam Bradford shows off his surgically repaired throwing shoulder at his March 29 pro day in Norman, Okla., the St. Louis Rams should get a good indication whether the quarterback factors into their plans as the clock ticks toward their first overall pick in the April 22 draft.
            Rams general manager Billy Devaney, coach Steve Spagnuolo and the Rams staff must decide whether to pull the trigger on the 2008 Heisman Trophy winner from Oklahoma.

            ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay says the top pick in this year's draft is Bradford's to lose after the quarterback met with Devaney and offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur last week at the Athletes' Performance Institute training facility near Pensacola, Fla.

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            "Unless something is fundamentally wrong — his throwing motion has changed, if he's not getting nearly as much zip on the ball, if there's something that just jumps out at you and is alarming and creates concern — I don't think his pro day will affect that opportunity to be the No. 1 pick," McShay says. "It's the (Rams') biggest need and the most important position."

            Defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh of Nebraska and Gerald McCoy of Oklahoma are widely considered the best players in this draft, rare talents at a valued position.

            But if Bradford proves healthy, he's the best quarterback at the NFL's most critical position. And no matter how good Suh and McCoy appear, a franchise quarterback makes their worth pale.

            In a quarterback-driven league, the Rams have two designated drivers — banged-up veteran Marc Bulger and perennial backup A.J. Feeley, two potential bridges to whomever they designate as their future.

            So the pressure is on Bradford to win his pro day and win over the Rams.

            "Franchise quarterback trumps all," NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock says. "No matter how good you think Suh and McCoy are, if you believe Bradford is a franchise quarterback — and by the way, your building is kind of empty of franchise quarterbacks — Bradford has to be the first discussion.

            "If the medical question is blessed by their doctors, it makes it easy.

            "The Rams passed on (Mark) Sanchez and Matt Ryan (in the 2009 and 2008 drafts, respectively). Do they want to pass on another potential franchise quarterback?"

            What will Spagnuolo be looking for on Bradford's pro day?

            "I'll be looking for the presence, how he is around teammates because he's in his own setting now," Spagnuolo said. "Then, medically, (assessing) the shoulder. I'll try and grab him early by myself just come away with an overall impression."

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            -03-25-2010, 07:05 AM