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Though the data is limited, the first Devaney/Spags Draft Looks Promising.

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  • Though the data is limited, the first Devaney/Spags Draft Looks Promising.

    It is always difficult to evaluate a draft after only one year, but in the case of the 2009 draft, it is even more difficult. Injuries took their toll on the Rams choices, so most of the selections were not given the chance to develop and show off their skills.

    That said, I'd argue what we did see was promising.

    Round 1: Jason Smith
    Smith worked his way into the opening day starting lineup at RT and held up well. He was slowed by a minor knee injury, then came back strong. For a 2-3 game stretch in the middle of the season, he looked very good, particularly in the running game. He was then sidelined with a concussion. The good news is that he was cleared to practice by the last week, and there is no indication that he won't be ready to go next year. I'm looking forward to seeing him develop at LT next year.

    Round 2: James Laurinaitis
    Not only did JL have an excellent rookie year, he demonstrated that he was the right pick over Rey Maualuga, who he outplayed. Looking forward to seeing what he can do with better players around him.

    Round 3: Bradley Fletcher
    Fletcher's injury was one of the most unfortunate among all the fallen Rams. Before he was hurt, he was showing signs of being a very solid starting CB. Hopefully, he'll recover and be able to contribute next year.

    Round 4: Darrell Scott
    Scott started out slowly, and found himself behind some journeymen in the rotation. However, by the end of the year, in part due to injuries and in part due to improved play, he had worked his way into the starting lineup. He should be a good platoon player next year with Clifton Ryan, possibly Adam Carriker and hopefully some guy named Suh.

    Round 5: Brooks Foster
    Didn't get a chance to play due to injury. We'll see what he has next year.

    Round 6: Keith Null
    I wasn't as impressed with his performance as some were, but I'll at least say he is a more promising prospect at the No. 3 spot than Brock Berlin ever was.

    Round 7: Chris Ogbonnaya
    Spent most of the year on the practice squad, but was elevated to the active roster at the end of the year and made a few nice plays. He'll get a shot next year to earn a roster spot.

    So, in all, not a bad crop. Gives me a bit more hope for the 2010 draft.

  • #2
    Re: Though the data is limited, the first Devaney/Spags Draft Looks Promising.

    Have to agree with what you've written here. We definitely have a good, developing young nucleus of players, especially on defense. I think we really hit a home run on Laurinaitis, and to get just one of those out a a draft is a success to me. Scott seems to be developing nicely, and I think we'll have a good enough rotation after we draft Suh to not have to worry about Carriker coming back for us.

    Hopefully Fletcher heals up quickly and we can get him back without too much trouble.

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    • #3
      Re: Though the data is limited, the first Devaney/Spags Draft Looks Promising.

      AV, I think any evaluation of DV and Spag's draft should also include their acquisition of young players. They weren't drafted by them, but talent evaluation is not limitted to the drafting of players.

      For instance, grabbing Amendola, acquiring Robinson and Gibson. Aggressively pursuing Brown.

      These acquisitions speak volumes to me about their ability to evaluate talent. Let the skeptics rant, IMO they've done a good job so far of turning over this roster, shedding salary and getting younger.

      I can't wait for the beginning of FA and the draft.
      Semper Fi!

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Though the data is limited, the first Devaney/Spags Draft Looks Promising.

        Yeah to me, picking up amendola, gibson, and laurant, as well as the top 3 picks they had in the draft last year, all bodes very well for the future.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Though the data is limited, the first Devaney/Spags Draft Looks Promising.

          I think that the draft combined with the talent they were able to bring in with free agency last year.

          Must not forget the on the field decisions combined with the players aquired in trades. In itself speaks volumes about how I believe they are doing an outstanding job and they are the right men for the job in my book.

          I for one cannot wait to see what other changes are too come.

          Go Rams :helmet:

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Though the data is limited, the first Devaney/Spags Draft Looks Promising.

            I also agree with some of their decisions regarding players to let go, and ones to keep. It was a good idea to let Pace and Holt leave, despite them being fan favourites. They were both older players on the decline, which was ultimately evidence by their play this season. Both struggled at times with their new teams, and clearly arent the players they once were.

            I also agree with the decision to keep players like Barron and McMichael around. They were both guys that could have been let go last season, but by letting them play out their contracts we have the option to let them go this year without giving up a cap hit. I do think they should both be gone now though, i have seen nothing from them that would have me keep them. The dropped passes from McMike at key times, and Barron being the most penalised player in the league is enough for me.

            I also like the way Spags handled the Incognito situation. The guy was given a chance after his first mistakes, but ultimately he cannot be trusted to keep his head screwed on and Spags sent a good message to the team and the fans by getting rid of him.

            Also, the young players they bought in have done pretty well. Not just the drafted players, or the young receivers, but players like Leger Douzable, LaJuan Ramsey and Craig Dahl all played hard and had some highlights.

            Looking at all the personnel moves i cant see one which i dont agree with, and i think Devaney and Spags have this team heading in the right direction
            @EssexRam_

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            • #7
              Re: Though the data is limited, the first Devaney/Spags Draft Looks Promising.

              Great post as always Av! James Laurinaitis looks to be a wonderful MLB for us and our offensive line should be stout quickly with Smith and all the other solid starters we have assembled. I also hope the Rams draft Suh (barring unforseen circumstances) and think both sides of the line will be well above average

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Though the data is limited, the first Devaney/Spags Draft Looks Promising.

                very good and accurate how this evaluation is put... i actually think our 2010 draft will even be better then this one...very anxious to see what we do and how we do it...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Though the data is limited, the first Devaney/Spags Draft Looks Promising.

                  The early returns on the class of '09 do look promising. There's enough reason to hope that the first two picks will be able to anchor key positions for us for years to come, and there's not really any one of the picks that feels like it was wasted at this point. We had some good undrafted acquisitions as well.

                  Of course, the other thing that sticks out to me about this is the fact that three of the seven players drafted missed significant playing time due to injuries. That's not a knock on the players themselves, but it seems somewhat representative of the larger problem this team has had with injuries recently. Losing nearly half the class to injuries in their first season seems like a lot.

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                  • AvengerRam_old
                    The Naysayers Have No Power Here.
                    by AvengerRam_old
                    One thing I've learned from my years as a poster/moderator of this site: there will always be naysayers.

                    We all know who I'm talking about. There are certain posters who you just know, even before you read there posts, are going to have nothing good to say.

                    The naysaying topic du jour, of course, is the Rams' draft.

                    I, for one, am not in the business of "grading" drafts. For me, it comes down to a simple question: does the tactic taken by the team on draft day make sense?

                    This year, the Rams surprised me with many of their choices. I many cases, they did not select the players I expected. But, when I look at the draft as a whole, the strategy is clear (get Sam Bradford big targets with good hands who can work the middle of the field), and it makes sense.

                    Still, there are naysayers.

                    Well, I'm here to say... YOU HAVE NO POWER HERE!

                    Why? Not because I say so. Rather, its because Spags/Devaney has earned our faith and trust.

                    From their first to second season, the Rams went from 1 win to 7. The defense improved. The pass rush became feared. The turnover ratio improved. The team acquired starters at QB, both OT spots, MLB and CB through the draft. The team acquired starters at DT, OLB an S through free agency. The team acquired contibuters at WR, DT and S off the scrap heap.

                    There is still a lot of work to be done, and there are no guarantees, but hasn't the Spags/Devaney team earned enough goodwill to be immune from statements like "that was a horrible pick" or "I hate this draft"?

                    Contructive criticism is fine.

                    Raising concerns is to be expected.

                    But pure naysaying... well, to use a somewhat outdated catch-phrase... that is SOOOOO 2008.
                    -05-03-2011, 08:42 AM
                  • eldfan
                    Improving vision in Rams’ eye for talent
                    by eldfan
                    12.31.2009 7:45 am
                    Improving vision in Rams’ eye for talent
                    By Andy Dapron

                    Hello again to everyone out there in Rams Nation! I hope everyone is finding time and opportunity to enjoy this holiday season.

                    The world can now join the Rams, as we are all now setting our sights on 2010. I don’t want to get too down on the Rams. We all know that General Manager Billy Devaney, Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo, and all the players and staffers on this Rams team are in the midst of a daunting climb from the bowels of the NFL. It was always going to take time and a massive infusion of talent to return the Rams to respectability, and eventually, glory.

                    We just hoped it wouldn’t take this long, and that the Rams didn’t have this far to go, but they do. So, I am more than willing to be patient with Devaney, Spagnuolo, and the Rams braintrust as they try to rebuild the Rams’ engine one agonizing part at a time.

                    But, that doesn’t make these games any easier to watch. I view these Rams with a “no pain, no gain” sort of outlook — I believe there is a lot to be gained from all the hardships the Rams are enduring now, but if ever there was a “pain” part of a rebuilding process, the Rams are mired in it. Make no mistake, it is painful to watch week after week as the Rams are buried beneath a mountain of injuries, a glaringly shallow depth chart, and poor execution.

                    And, it’s difficult to even know who exactly to fault for the short-circuited play, or whether anybody should really be faulted at all (aside from the previous regime that dug the whole from which the Rams must now dig themselves out). After all, the Rams are playing the biggest bunch of newbies I’ve ever seen assembled on one field at the same time. I lost count of the number of times Sunday that one of the announcers used the word “rookie” in reference to a Rams player that was seeing significant action — a quarterback, a running back, a wide receiver, a corner… the list goes on. That’s without counting guys like WR/KR Danny Amendola and DE James Wyche who, even though they aren’t true rookies, are getting their first true taste of the NFL. With so many fresh faces, mistakes are bound to happen.

                    But therein lies the beauty of this season for the Rams, and the thing that keeps us watching, even as the IR list, and the loss column, become more and more crowded. We are getting a good, long look at the young guys, and we’re seeing them in the context of the “real” NFL, too, not against another team’s third string running a watered-down, scaled-back playbook. That’s intriguing. Sure, we’re always hoping that we’ll be witness to that rare and long-awaited victory (I think… The whole “race for the top pick” thing sort of tempers the desire for the team to win…), but the most exciting aspect of Rams games these days is getting an extended look on some of the men on whose shoulders the franchise’s long-term future ultimately...
                    -01-07-2010, 06:03 AM
                  • RamDez
                    Rams Wrap Up Draft
                    by RamDez
                    Sunday, April 26, 2009
                    By Nick Wagoner
                    Senior Writer
                    For any team entering the NFL Draft, the ultimate goal is for the value of the players taken to meet the needs of the team heading into the next season.
                    And after two days of exhaustive drafting, the Rams believe they did that as well as possible.
                    After seven rounds, the Rams stood pat on all of their draft picks and came out with seven players they believe fit the mold of what they are looking for and fill the needs they had on both sides of the ball.
                    Each player selected filled a different spot, also, as the Rams took seven players from seven positions though general manager Billy Devaney said that was just the way things fell.
                    “We were hell bent on taking good players that were going to be part of this process,” Devaney said. “It wasn’t a case of we have to have one receiver, we have to have a quarterback, we have to take a tackle. It wasn’t anything like that at all. We are like 31 other teams. We are pleased with the way it went. We missed on some guys. It never goes perfect. That happens. For the most part, it went according to plan and overall we are really happy. Now we have to see if these guys can play.”
                    The Rams kicked it off by filling their biggest need with a big man. After a long internal debate, the team opted for Baylor tackle Jason Smith with the second overall pick in the draft.
                    Smith will be tasked with filling the large shoes left behind by recently released mainstay Orlando Pace.
                    Although in the interim Smith might start out at right tackle with Alex Barron on the left side, Smith eventually projects to the left side where the team hopes he can be like Pace and hold down the position for a decade plus.
                    “It’s like any other team that you put together,” coach Steve Spagnuolo said. “You get them in here. We’ll do what’s best. You have to give us a little time to get him a helmet and pads first but we’ll work that all out. It gives us a little bit of versatility and gives us another quality player at the offensive line position.

                    “Anything is possible. We’ll use the versatility of him and some of the other guys but that’s viable.”
                    For his part, Smith has no fear of stepping into what he figures are a large pair of shoes left behind by Pace. Smith was widely considered the best tackle in the draft and his aggressive, physical style on the field combined with his hard working, charismatic attitude made him a good fit for what the Rams are hoping to build.
                    “Well obviously Orlando Pace was a great tackle,” Smith said. “He was drafted high. He was a seven-time Pro Bowler. And he’s a grown man. To this day, he is still a great tackle. He wears probably a size 18 and I wear a 14. He had his shoes, I have to make mine.”
                    With the need for a tackle filled, the Rams turned their attention to finding a linebacker or wide receiver in the second round. After a run on receivers that saw...
                    -04-27-2009, 12:37 AM
                  • eldfan
                    St Louis Rams Team Report
                    by eldfan
                    Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo knows the team's defense has to get better. He also knows all the problems can't be fixed in one year.
                    Still, as the Rams prepared to get their first on-field look at the team's rookies at minicamp, a lot of the eyes will be trained on three players that arrived in the draft.

                    Following the selection of tackle Jason Smith with the second overall pick, the Rams added a player from each of the defensive units in the next three rounds.

                    The linebacker was James Laurinaitis, who came in the second round; cornerback Bradley Fletcher was a third-round pick, and defensive tackle Darell Scott was selected in the fourth round.

                    The Rams hope Laurinaitis will emerge as a starter in the middle, and be the quarterback of the defense. Scott should immediately be the backup, possibly to both tackles Adam Carriker and Clifton Ryan. Fletcher, who wasn't a fulltime starter until his senior season, will be competing for the nickel-back spot at the outset. Some of his competition will come from second-year player Justin King, who was making quick progress last year before seeing his season end because of a toe injury suffered in the first preseason game.

                    Of course, after Scott was picked, the draft switched back to defense, with the next three choices on that side of the ball.

                    After the draft was over, Spagnuolo joked about the way things went the defensive way after the drafting of Smith.

                    "I was thinking about that walking down here," he said. "Bang, bang, bang."

                    But, just like that (bang, bang, bang), it went in the other direction.

                    Said a smiling general manager Billy Devaney: "It was kind of a stealth (move). (He) never said it, but then all of a sudden the draft's going on, and I said, 'This thing's starting to get away from us. We've got to get some offensive guys.'"

                    Those offensive guys were fifth-round receiver Brooks Foster, sixth-round quarterback Keith Null and seventh-round running back Chris Ogbonnaya.

                    The bottom line is that Devaney and Spagnuolo knew they needed to add as many good players as possible.

                    When asked if there was anything the team wasn't able to accomplish in the draft, Devaney said, "I don't think so because we didn't come in over the last couple days saying we have to have or this is what we really have to have coming out of this. We're just hell-bent, as we said before, bringing in many good players that were going to be part of this process. It wasn't a case where we have to have one receiver, we have to have a quarterback, we have to take a tackle. It wasn't anything like that at all. So, we're like 31 other teams, we're pleased with the way it went.

                    "We missed on some guys; it never goes perfect. You get close to some guys and they get taken and you get (ticked) off, but that happens....
                    -05-05-2009, 01:15 PM
                  • Barry Waller
                    Day Two Observations
                    by Barry Waller
                    The Rams fans never got the chance to see if Shonn Greene was their guy, since the Rams got traded over and he went first on day two.

                    Did the Rams then pull a Linehan style panic move by taking little known Iowa cornerback Brad Fletcher?

                    We'll never know, but I know the book on this guy is he works out like a first rounder, and while he plays hard and physical, his hips may be a bit too tight to play corner. However, I think the Rams see him as a nickel back, playing inside to support the run as well as cover.

                    As usual, the Rams have a third rounder, a high one, that to me becomes the real key to judging the draft. To me, no matter what else, they get a B- just ofr the first two picks.

                    Is Fletcher, no relation to any of the players with that name who were St. Louis natives, another Tom Knight, the former Hawkeye who was a first round pick of the Cardinals, or is he another Charles Godfrey, who starts for the Panthers af ter being drafted out of Iowa?

                    Fletcher, who was behind Godfrey on the depth chart, only got his chance as a senior, so the risk is certainly there, though it was for the receivers the Rams could have chosen as well.

                    Personally, I would have liked Giorgia TEch DE Michael Johnson there, as again, the lack of depth at that position left the Rams with no help in a key position.

                    The Rams have some young cornerbacks already, but none are as physical as Fletcher, whose immediate impact will be as the "gunner" on punt coverage. He excelled doing it in college, and that IS a big need for the Rams, and has been for years.

                    It's certainly not a pick that can be labelled a "reach", so in this case, we'll chalk it up as "Best player available".

                    The cupboard was bare for the big space eating tackle the Rams needed, and could not find in free agency. So they really had to take the last big tackle on the board with any good grade at all, in Darell Scott.

                    There seems to be a lot of controversy as to the spelling of his name ( Either way, wouldn't YOU use a nickname instead), and I used the one that appears to be correct according to Rams PR.

                    While I worry about fourth rounders named Scott, based on past history here (See OG Travis), and impressive looking corners with not a lot of games under his belt as a starter (See Jacoby Shepherd),
                    I'm still gonna take a wait and see on these two picks, at least till mini-camp.

                    I studied this draft very seriously, as I have for 40 past ones as a draftnik (people thought I was nuts back in the 70s), and it was pretty clear that the solid talent was off the board early in the third, if not sooner.

                    The question marks were greater, which is probably why teams tried to accumilate a lot of 4th through 7th rounders. The more picks the better chance you have to get lucky in what was a crap...
                    -04-26-2009, 05:37 PM
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