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MI_Buckeye
05-17-2011, 12:02 AM
San Diego Chargers coming up

St. Louis Rams

Where did the franchise stand before the draft:

The St. Louis Rams are coming off their best season in years. Of course, that only means they weren't picking in the top two this year.

After a highly successful draft last season in which the Rams found their QB and LT of the future, St. Louis did the unthinkable and went from one win in 2009 to one win away from the NFC West championship in 2010. However, that achievement is not nearly as great as it sounds as the champion Seattle Seahawks still finished 7-9.

It is probably safe to say that the overall talent level on the Rams roster remains in the bottom third of the league. Going into this offseason, the Rams desperately needed to upgrade their WR corps, DL and LBs, as well as improving their depth in general. Also, RB Steven Jackson has taken a lot of hits for a losing franchise, and even if he is good to go for another few years, the offense definitely misses several beats without him.

On the plus side, the core of the team on the roster is among the youngest in the league. As the Rams grow together, they could possibly develop into the perennial leaders of the divison. Seattle, San Francisco and Arizona all have huge holes at QB for the time being. St. Louis does not after Sam Bradford's outstanding rookie season. However, if Bradford is to take the next logical step in his progression as a franchise QB, he is going to need some franchise type weapons.

The Picks

Round One, Pick 14: Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina

The Rams got perhaps the best value in the entire first round by taking one of the best players in the draft at No. 14. It was widely speculated that the Rams would either trade up for WRs A.J. Green or Julio Jones if one of them slid to the end of the top ten or sit at 14 and take the best available defensive linemen. The consensus seemed to be that the Rams had a more pressing need inside than outside, but you can't argue with taking Quinn here, nobody thought he would still be available.

Quinn may have been suspended last year because of an infraction with an agent, but his character hasn't been in question through the entire draft process. Quinn is an athletic freak who Coach Steve Spagnuolo will use liberally across the line and posibly even as a stand-up edge rusher. Quinn has elite burst off the edge and maintains supreme balance when bending around the edge. A three-time state wrestling champion in high school Quinn knows how to use his hands plays with good leverage.

Still 20 years old, Quinn is a pick for the future. He needs to get stronger against the run, but that will most certainly come with time. He has two quality veterans to work behind in Chris Long and James Hall, and he can work in a rotation initially to alleviate his burden in the run game.

Make no mistake about it, this was an absolute steal. It was probably best for the Rams that they weren't able to trade up for one of the top two WRs. Quinn will be more valuable in the long run.

Round Two, Pick 47: Lance Kendricks, TE, Wisconsin

While I personally think Kendricks might have been a slight reach in the second round, the Rams needed a TE badly and this year's class nas next to no depth, so the pick makes sense here.

Billy Bajema and Daniel Fells are marginal at best, and while Michael Hoomanawanui shows promise, his best fit is as an in-line blocker. The undersized Kendricks, though he tested very badly in Indy, is a much better athlete than any of the guys on their roster. Kendricks was used in a variety of ways at Wisconsin, playing in an offense that asks more out of their TEs than any in the country, and he handled all his responsibilities well. He rarely drops a pass, runs excellent routes and is ultra-tough in traffic. He also made a living creating after the catch.

Kendricks is not a good blocker, but he is willing. It will be kind of a surprise if he is often asked to line up in-line; he is an H-back and one that new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels should make great use of.

Round Three, Pick 78: Austin Pettis, WR, Boise State

I must be the president of the Austin Pettis fan club. While most of the national pundits and draftnicks seem skeptical of this pick at best; I absolutely love Austin Pettis, and think he will end up with a starting job by the end of the year.

Not the fastest, Pettis is silk smooth with great flexibility and burst out of his breaks. He tracks and catches poorly thrown balls almost as well as A.J. Green. What I love most about Pettis is his intelligence and competitiveness. He was used in a wide variety of ways in Boise's wide-open offenses, including running reverses and throwing WR passes. In the red zone, he was Kellen Moore's go to guy, and he almost always delivered.

Pettis may need to get a little stronger to handle the punishment of being a possession receiver in the NFL, but he can do it. Where a lot of people are saying the Rams reached on a fifth round prospect here, I am thinking they stole a second-round guy.

Round Four, Pick 112: Greg Salas, WR, Hawaii
An interesting pick since he is so much like Pettis, a sure-handed physical possession receiver. Most like Salas better, but his production and skill were augmented by the most pass-heavy system in the country. Salas is clean in and out of his breaks, but we will see how much of that translates now that he will be asked to run a much fuller route tree under McDaniels.

Salas is a pure hands-catcher and rarely lets the ball into his body. He is highly regarded as a team leader and tough guy. With his solid frame, he might turn into a very good blocker.

Round Five, Pick 158: Jermale Hines, S, Ohio State

A very productive three-year starter, Hines is not quite the prospect he might appear to be if you just watched Ohio State on TV and heard his name a lot. Hines is very strong for his position and an excellent tackler.

The closer to the line of scrimmage he plays the better he does. Hines can make plays in zone coverage when he is able to look into the backfield, but he does get exposed in man coverage and when asked to play center field. Might push for a starting job over James Butler and Craig Dahl, but should at least be a core special teams player.

Round Seven, Pick 216: Mikail Baker, CB, Baylor

Didn't recognize the name when I saw it. Apparently played WR two years ago and missed more time in college than he played. Someone must see something they like.

Round Seven, Pick 228 (from Baltimore): Jabara Williams, LB, Stephen F. Austin

I actually saw bits of the Lumberjacks when they played Texas A&M and Villanova last year, and this guy really stood out. Really speedy LB who looked woefully undersized. He will probably have to make the squad on special teams, but he is a good long-shot investment.

Round Seven, Pick 229 (from Atlanta): Jonathan Nelson, CB, Oklahoma

A decent press corner who adds depth. Nothing more. Was not a great player in college.

All in all

Well, I would say that worked out pretty well for the Rams. They got a stud pass rusher to go along with the stud pass rusher they already had, and supplied their franchise QB with weapons he badly needed. Outside of Quinn, there is probably nobody you can expect be a perennial Pro Bowler, but what can you expect.

The Rams place a high value on character and got hard workers at each point in the draft. The passing game should be much more effective this year, even if they don't have much of a big-play threat outside of Donnie Avery.

Going into free agency, the Rams still need to upgrade the interior of their D line, but I give them a lot of credit for not reaching on someone like Corey Liuget when Quinn was still on the board. With drafts like this, it is easy to see why Billy Devaney has turned around this franchise in such short order.

Overall draft grade: A-

armageddon
05-17-2011, 10:37 AM
good read. thx

tfry
05-17-2011, 11:26 AM
Excellent article!

However, I think a grade of A- is awfully high. Considering the needs you mentioned, the Rams didn't do a good job addressing their major needs. We have no starting caliber Safety on the roster. Our Outside Linebackers are arguably the worst in the league. We desperately needed some depth at D-tackle.

Regarding the picks, we reached for a TE, and followed it up with two big, husky receivers. I realize our redzone offense had trouble last season, but to spend three of your top four picks on it is overkill with so many other needs.

Quinn was the pick of the first round IMO. because of that pick alone I don't think the Rams can do any worse than a B-. However, after that we didn't really get great value while addressing needs.

And for the fourth year in a row we have completely ignored getting a backup for Sjax. It's got to be done in FA now...no choice!

armageddon
05-17-2011, 05:26 PM
Excellent article!

However, I think a grade of A- is awfully high. Considering the needs you mentioned, the Rams didn't do a good job addressing their major needs. We have no starting caliber Safety on the roster. Our Outside Linebackers are arguably the worst in the league. We desperately needed some depth at D-tackle.

Regarding the picks, we reached for a TE, and followed it up with two big, husky receivers. I realize our redzone offense had trouble last season, but to spend three of your top four picks on it is overkill with so many other needs.

Quinn was the pick of the first round IMO. because of that pick alone I don't think the Rams can do any worse than a B-. However, after that we didn't really get great value while addressing needs.

And for the fourth year in a row we have completely ignored getting a backup for Sjax. It's got to be done in FA now...no choice!




The Rams biggest need was getting WR's who can actually catch and can be redzone targets. The Rams were one of the worst teams for drops, and were top 5 getting to the RZ and bottom 5 conveting in the RZ. In rd 1 Quinn was a no brainer. Rounds 2,3 and 4 they addressed their biggest hole, pass catchers and RZ targets. Just because people think DT, OLB and S were their biggest needs, doesn't means the Rams thought so. IMO, they addressed their biggest needs. Sam will be happy throwing to Kendricks, Pettis and Salas. All 3 have great hands, are physical, good size, and get open and good in the RZ. I give the Rams an A+ on rds 1-4. Time will tell on rds 5-7. They gambled there, so there isn't a way to grade those picks for a few years.

ArkyRamsFan
05-17-2011, 05:37 PM
Thanks for your efforts MI, but I am going to have to respectfully disagree with your final grade for the Rams draft.

My main contention is that the Rams reached for a 3rd round talent in the selection of Kendricks. Factor in that he has already been called by the Rams GM-Billy Devaney-a "hybrid" player (whatever the hell that is) and this pick has a certain "Brian Leonard" odor to it that Rams fans are still trying to forget.

The question that nobody seems to be able to answer is why take a guy like Kendricks when other "hybrids" like Aaron Hernandez and Travis Beckham have gone in the 4th round, and even in this draft GB took DJ Williams (a Kendricks' clone himself) in the 5th round?

I wholeheartedly agree with tfry in that the Rams did next to nothing to address their major holes. Note I said "holes" not "needs." Winning teams like Indy, NE, and now GB may have needs but not holes. To pass on players like Paea and Wisnieski as well as Mason Foster in the 3rd seems rather short-sighted to me. Many Rams fans are saying "wait until Free Agency starts, then we'll fill up our holes." Well if past experience is any indication of future results I remain quite concerned.

I'm not going to criticize the Salas and Pettis picks except to agree with tfry again and say that taking multiple receivers in a row when the team, unfortunately, has serious holes is questionable to say the least.

As far as Hines is concerned we traded down in the fifth and got an extra 7th rounder. This was probably OK but I would like to mention that in doing so we passed on Jacquizz Rodgers and we have had a huge hole/need at backup RB for, say, 4 years or so and counting.

Finally, I'm not going to waste everyone's time criticizing 7th round picks - most of whom I consider to be but glorified UDFAs- but when a guy like Greg Romeus is there in the 7th and we pass on him; well let me say maybe this is why the Saints are where they are and we are where we are. 'Nuff said.

At any rate thanks again for your efforts.

MI_Buckeye
05-17-2011, 10:48 PM
The question that nobody seems to be able to answer is why take a guy like Kendricks when other "hybrids" like Aaron Hernandez and Travis Beckham have gone in the 4th round, and even in this draft GB took DJ Williams (a Kendricks' clone himself) in the 5th round?


The issue is last year's tight end class was awesome, and this year's sucked. Kendricks was going to go in the second round, and there was a huge drop-off after him in the eyes of the league. Williams was good value in the fifth, but most had Kendricks significantly ahead of him.

GaMeTiMe
05-18-2011, 04:25 AM
Not to keep beating the drum but A- is a little too high. However the potential is definitely there for them to squeeze the maximum potential out of those top 4 picks. Kendricks, Pettis and Salas may all be major factors in the offense next year and I think the big winner is Danario Alexander downfield.

They still have serious holes at RB, DT and LB, I'm not a big proprietor of drafting for immediate need and think they will sign Cofield and maybe someone like Akeem Jordan once free agency starts so it's not really that big of a deal.

They definitely had a potentially solid draft. Even if their other 4 picks end up being street FAs out of training camp if those top four guys are solid contributors out of the gate and in the future this draft will be worth that A-. It's just not that solid of a gamble, and I would guess McDaniels finds a way to blow it as the OC (when teams just study tape of last year's Patriots)

jbooshey
05-21-2011, 06:42 PM
Anyone who says Kendricks is a bad blocker is stereotyping. Just because he has H-back size does not mean he can't block. He is the best blocking H-back UW has put out. He was VERY effective and if you actually WATCHED him, he was put in a position to lead block (whether being put in motion or being on the side run to) for our RB's more often than not. Watch the film and get over the stereotyping.

PossibleCabbage
05-21-2011, 08:31 PM
My whole concern with the Rams draft is why did they draft both Pettis and Salas? Did they like that guy so much they drafted him twice?

batsandgats
05-22-2011, 01:19 PM
not to mention they already have Amendola, who is a slot receiver coming off an 85 catch season. Thats 3 slot receivers, 1 tight end and no deep threat to stretch the field

armageddon
05-22-2011, 01:20 PM
not to mention they already have Amendola, who is a slot receiver coming off an 85 catch season. Thats 3 slot receivers, 1 tight end and no deep threat to stretch the field


Avery and Denario Alexander are field stretchers.

MI_Buckeye
05-23-2011, 01:56 AM
Anyone who says Kendricks is a bad blocker is stereotyping. Just because he has H-back size does not mean he can't block. He is the best blocking H-back UW has put out. He was VERY effective and if you actually WATCHED him, he was put in a position to lead block (whether being put in motion or being on the side run to) for our RB's more often than not. Watch the film and get over the stereotyping.

I never said he was a bad blocker, I am just saying he is never going to be dominant in that area. He is a position blocker who doesn't get much drive. He was a fine blocker at Wisconsin, but he doesn't project as one in the NFL IMHO. I don't think we'll be seeing them run behind Kendricks very much at all, especially with Hoomanawanui.

jbooshey
05-24-2011, 07:19 AM
I never said he was a bad blocker, I am just saying he is never going to be dominant in that area. He is a position blocker who doesn't get much drive. He was a fine blocker at Wisconsin, but he doesn't project as one in the NFL IMHO. I don't think we'll be seeing them run behind Kendricks very much at all, especially with Hoomanawanui.

You literally said that Kendricks "was not a good blocker" in your first post.

MI_Buckeye
05-24-2011, 12:29 PM
You literally said that Kendricks "was not a good blocker" in your first post.

"Not good" does not mean bad. He is an average blocker, nothing more. It's meaningless anyway, he will almost exclusively play flex TE/H-back.

armageddon
05-28-2011, 09:19 AM
Here is what a Rams insider said after the Rams players only mini camp this week:

*Lance Kendricks ran around like a man possessed, catching everything in his area and displayed the size-speed combination that safeties will struggle with covering deep.

armageddon
05-28-2011, 09:22 AM
Avery and Denario Alexander are field stretchers.


Avery was recently times at 4.3 and said he is at 92-93%. He was looking amazing before the injury which cost him the entire 2011 season. And Denario is said to be feeling and looking much better than last year. He said his knee feels great. If those 2 are healthy, Bradford will have a chubby.