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Old 02-28-2012, 09:00 AM    (permalink
Matthew Jones
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Default Are the Rams Options More Limited Than Believed?

Andrew Luck is believed to be a lock to go #1 overall, which leaves St. Louis in great shape with Robert Griffin III left on the draft board; considering St. Louis has Sam Bradford on roster, they can afford to shop the pick to the highest bidder. But are St. Louis' options more limited than believed? The Rams cannot trade out of the top five while ensuring that they get one of the draft's elite prospects at a position of need, and because Minnesota and Tampa Bay have both recently drafted quarterbacks in the first round, Cleveland is the only trade partner that would allow the Rams to secure a top prospect.

If the Rams move down to #4 overall, the Browns will select Robert Griffin at #2 and the Vikings will likely choose from between Justin Blackmon, Matt Kalil, and Morris Claiborne at #3 overall; the most realistic projection would likely be Kalil in that situation, leaving the Rams with both Blackmon and Claiborne to choose from. However, if the Rams were to trade down with Washington, they run the risk of losing out on both prospects. The Redskins would choose Griffin with the second pick, Minnesota would choose from the same players as before, and Cleveland would be stuck at #4 and likely to choose between Justin Blackmon and Trent Richardson. Richardson would be ideal from St. Louis' perspective, because at least one of Justin Blackmon and Morris Claiborne will be available at #6 overall. Yet Cleveland seems more likely to choose Blackmon than Richardson given the perceived value of running backs in recent years. Tampa Bay is a strong candidate to select Morris Claiborne at #5 overall.

Let's take a look at how the two most likely trade scenarios would play out:

Scenario A

1. Indianapolis Colts - QB Andrew Luck, Stanford*
2. Cleveland Browns (from Rams) - QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor*
3. Minnesota Vikings - OT Matt Kalil, Southern California*
4. St. Louis Rams (from Browns) - WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma St.*
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - CB Morris Claiborne, Louisiana St.*

Scenario B

1. Indianapolis Colts - QB Andrew Luck, Stanford*
2. Washington Redskins (from Rams) - QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor*
3. Minnesota Vikings - OT Matt Kalil, Southern California*
4. Cleveland Browns - WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma St.*
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - CB Morris Claiborne, Louisiana St.*
6. St. Louis Rams (from Redskins) - RB Trent Richardson, Alabama*

In Scenario B, the Rams still end up with an elite talent in Trent Richardson, but considering that Steven Jackson is still on the roster, the Rams' draft would likely end without St. Louis being able to secure a top talent at a position of need. Two other possibilities at #6 overall would be Riley Reiff and Michael Brockers, but is either player worth picking that high, and is the dropoff from Kalil or Blackmon or Claiborne to Reiff or Brockers worth whatever the Rams would additionally acquire from the Redskins?

Unless the Rams fall in love with one of the players outside of the projected top five overall picks (Luck, Griffin, Kalil, Blackmon, Claiborne), or they believe that Cleveland or Tampa Bay would pass on Blackmon or Claiborne, a trade with Cleveland may be St. Louis' only strong option; the Rams may be forced to take what they can get in a trade with the Browns, and Cleveland can afford to be stingy knowing that the Rams don't have any other promising trade partners. So is the #2 overall pick less valuable than perceived despite having an elite quarterback prospect available? St. Louis would likely be able to acquire both of Cleveland's first-round picks, but Mike Holmgren would likely be able to refuse the Rams' request for additional compensation with a great deal of confidence.
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Old 02-28-2012, 09:12 AM    (permalink
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in general I believe trading down is a very hard thing to do. This year everyone and his brother are predicting a trade up (and they might be right), but it's a big game of poker. Teams might wait until STL are on the clock to get the best deal. If they make the deal now the trade up partner will be overpaying grossly. I do agree that their selection at 6 is alot less attractive than their selection at 2. Does STL want Trent Richardson?
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Old 02-28-2012, 09:13 AM    (permalink
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St. Louis not wanting to drop below the top 5, therefore missing one of the "elite" prospects, is why I believe Cleveland is reportedly not looking to trade up to #2 as aggressively as some other teams. I still believe Cleveland makes the most sense from both sides in a trade, but I believe Cleveland may be trying to lay back for a bit to make St. Louis come to them with a trade that might be less than their original asking price. Unless Washington offers a Ricky Williams+ type offer, I think St. Louis will go calling Cleveland to make a trade.
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Old 02-28-2012, 09:16 AM    (permalink
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I love the frame on Brockers, and I love Reiff... but either player at #6 scares me. Brockers has a ton of bust potential, and Reiff is the sort of "solid, reliable, safe" pick that I don't like making high in the draft now that we're not paying rookies that much.
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Old 02-28-2012, 09:16 AM    (permalink
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Never know how thier BB will look, maybe they have Floyd over Blackmon or Poe top 5
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Old 02-28-2012, 09:17 AM    (permalink
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I love the frame on Brockers, and I love Reiff... but either player at #6 scares me. .
both of these players hurt themselves at Indy. Brockers for not running like a physical freak and Reiff for possibly being considered a guard. Cordy Glenn might go before Reiff (and it's probably warranted).
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Old 02-28-2012, 09:29 AM    (permalink
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it's way too early to tell how the board is gonna look in late April. Some guys like Blackmon and Richardson might take a tumble. If Blackmon has a bad pro day he could drop, and Richardson is a runningback so there is a real chance he drops. Someone like Brockers or Poe or Cox or Reiff, etc. might shoot way up boards like Tyson Jackson, Mark Sanchez, Von Miller, or Aldon Smith did.

I'm sure the Rams would take the best offer regardless......though b/c of there not being a Blackmon or Claiborne at #6 maybe in their minds the "best offer" has to be a little more than normal for the Redskins. #4 is going to be worth a bit more than the value chart says this year perhaps. We'll see. Definitely could be a factor, but it's too early to say for sure.
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Old 02-28-2012, 09:30 AM    (permalink
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both of these players hurt themselves at Indy. Brockers for not running like a physical freak and Reiff for possibly being considered a guard. Cordy Glenn might go before Reiff (and it's probably warranted).
Reiff is a left tackle, not a guard. Anybody who says "his arms are short, he'll have to play on the right side" is, quite frankly, an idiot.

I take Reiff in the top 16 and he plays left tackle for me for a decade.
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Old 02-28-2012, 09:31 AM    (permalink
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both of these players hurt themselves at Indy. Brockers for not running like a physical freak and Reiff for possibly being considered a guard. Cordy Glenn might go before Reiff (and it's probably warranted).
Reiff's workout was average at best - his pass protection technique isn't great either. I would take the kid Massie from Ole Miss before Reiff, although Reiff does fit a zone run blocking scheme better.

Was Brockers a bit too heavy? I know it didn't slow Poe down, but he came in a lot heavier than listed - but no explosion there and when using the numbers to project what is a raw talent I think it means a lot later for him than was expected pre-Combine. Even the two gap teams will think twice as he only put up 19 reps of the bench (Doug Martin at 223 lbs put up 28 reps!!) - so might have problems stacking and shedding.

Having said that I remember JPP 2 years ago had an average workout and it didn't mean much...
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Old 02-28-2012, 09:39 AM    (permalink
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Reiff is a left tackle, not a guard. Anybody who says "his arms are short, he'll have to play on the right side" is, quite frankly, an idiot.

I take Reiff in the top 16 and he plays left tackle for me for a decade.
also keep in mind the Iowa tradition of having well coached but limited athletes. Gallery was supposedly a left tackle with short arms. Bulaga was supposedly a left tackle (and he might get there). It's not fair but this is how these guys think.
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Old 02-28-2012, 09:41 AM    (permalink
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it got buried in another thread but more rumblings in Philly about Andy Reid loving RG3. the trade chart says their 2 2nds and their 1st gets them to about 4.

the x factor is they have 2 very tradable players in Desean Jackson and Asante Samuel. a package of Jackson, Samuel and picks might be more attractive to STL than a package of current picks and future picks.
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Old 02-28-2012, 09:44 AM    (permalink
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I'm working on a mock at the minute that has St Louis moving to 6 and taking Poe with both Claiborne and Richardson on the board. I think Fisher will see a lot of Haynesworth in Poe.

Although as Bitonti says it isn't as easy to move down as people think. The Rams will definitely have options but what if either the Browns or Redskins play hardball and the Rams don't get the deal they are looking for.

I kinda think that Dan snyder will be a lot looser with his draft picks than Holmgren though. I know Bruce Allen is running things in Washington now but Snyder may make a power move.

I actually really like this draft and think St Louis can still get a great prospect at 6
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Old 02-28-2012, 09:50 AM    (permalink
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also keep in mind the Iowa tradition of having well coached but limited athletes. Gallery was supposedly a left tackle with short arms. Bulaga was supposedly a left tackle (and he might get there). It's not fair but this is how these guys think.
Gallery was a powerhouse and a technician who had legitimately short arms (32.25") who struggled in NFL because he had poor feet.

Bulaga was a solid athlete who is stout and tough with tools that aren't elite LT skills, but are absolutely good enough.

Reiff is a better athlete than Bulaga where the only major hole in his game is that he needs to work on his punch. He's an excellent pass protector (certainly better than Bulaga or Gallery), he's got the best feet of the three, and should go higher as a result.

Bulaga fell because there were three OTs teams liked better than him, and his stock was slightly depressed due to Gallery. There's not more than one OT this year better than Reiff, and if anything Reiff's stock will be inflated by Bulaga's success (as a second year player Pro Football Focus had him as the 10th best pass blocking OT in the league, allowing only 20 pressures over 409 snaps, a pass blocking efficiency 1.5 percentage points below the top guy.)

The impression you talk about is the one that fans have, not scouts. Scouts aren't stupid.

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Old 02-28-2012, 10:00 AM    (permalink
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St. Louis isn't going to be handicapped. There's loads of talent available at pick 6. Claiborne will probably be there, Blackmon has a shot, Poe is probably going to be more popular in the top 10 by the time the draft rolls around also. I don't think they'll be in trouble.
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Old 02-28-2012, 10:14 AM    (permalink
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St. Louis isn't going to be handicapped. There's loads of talent available at pick 6. Claiborne will probably be there, Blackmon has a shot, Poe is probably going to be more popular in the top 10 by the time the draft rolls around also. I don't think they'll be in trouble.
Yeah the talent available at 6 is going to be very good.

I really like Claiborne. I think he is a top 5 player in the draft. But 5'10 185lb CBs who run in the 4.5s aren't seen as top 5 guys. You have to be an athletic freak at defensive back to be a top 5 pick. He will probably still be around at 6.

Poe is the guy who may intrigue the Rams the most. He probably isn't going top 5 because he is so raw.

Blackmon isn't worth a top 5 pick IMO but if Cleveland can't get up to 2 they may take him over Richardson.
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Old 02-28-2012, 10:25 AM    (permalink
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Gallery was a powerhouse and a technician who had legitimately short arms (32.25") who struggled in NFL because he had poor feet.
Reiff measured 33.25" his arms are 1 inch longer than Gallery. None of his workout numbers were exceptional. Not to say he won't be a great player in the league, I just question his draft value as a top15 lock.
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Old 02-28-2012, 10:49 AM    (permalink
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I still don't buy the Eagles trading up to #2 talk. It sounds more like fan created hype than actual hype. I do believe Andy Reid loves RG3, but so will anyone that talks with him for a few minutes.
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Old 02-28-2012, 10:58 AM    (permalink
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Didn't the Eagles just give Vick 100 million? How the hell can they even think about spending more resources on the QB position?
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Old 02-28-2012, 10:59 AM    (permalink
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Because Andy Reid loves RG3! That's how!
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Old 02-28-2012, 11:05 AM    (permalink
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Because Andy Reid loves RG3! That's how!
Im pretty sure Vick's deal was front-loaded too, was it not? Like 25 million in the first 2 seasons? Something absurd like that. I can't see how they'd be able to allocate any more resources to the QB position while taking a cap hit like that.
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Old 02-28-2012, 11:21 AM    (permalink
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I think a few of you are missing the boat on what Matt means by "more limited." The move to 6 is fine, as there's still blue chip talent available. The "more limited than believed" is regarding the difficulty they face if they do something other than one of those two deals (Cleveland / Washington) because they land too far down the board to secure a blue chip talent.

However, I think we'll see Richardson fall more and there are guys (like Poe) that can really increase their draft stock heading into the draft. I think this will provide the Rams enough targets on their draft board to feel ok with a move to 8-Miami, 10-Buffalo, 11-KC or even 12-Seattle. They could potentially land Richardson still or an OL, DL, DE or even a guy like Decastro (though I'm not sure if they need OG or not, offhand.)

My answer, then, is no. The Rams options are not more limited than believed. When we figure in the cost of moving up from 10 to 2, however, the limitation may simply be teams not wanting to pay that much. Personally, I think the Cleveland deal (both 2012 1st rounders and maybe a bit more) is a slam dunk for both teams.
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Old 02-28-2012, 11:27 AM    (permalink
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Reiff measured 33.25" his arms are 1 inch longer than Gallery. None of his workout numbers were exceptional. Not to say he won't be a great player in the league, I just question his draft value as a top15 lock.
As far as I can tell, no offensive tackle in the modern era has been successful with arms as short as Gallery's. However several offensive tackles have been successful with arms in the same range as Reiff's: Joe Thomas has 32.5" arms, Jake Long has 32.875" arms, Jason Peters has 33.125" arms, Jordan Gross and Bryan Bulaga have 33.25" arms, etc. All of those are guys that every NFL team would like to have on their team, so there's no reason that a team would pass up Reiff because of his arms. I mean, obviously they're not a plus, and everything being equal you'd like him to have him to have 48" gorilla arms, but you don't downgrade a guy for an "adequate" characteristic.

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Old 02-28-2012, 11:31 AM    (permalink
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Think this is one case where free agency is going to play a serious role, mostly because of Manning and Flynn. If Cleveland picks one up, and the Dolphins pick one up, then the bidding is going to be not as impressive as the Rams might like. Likewise, if they go to Washington and Miami, Cleveland has much more to offer than Seattle or Philly (Basically guarenteeing that they will get a top four player). If Cleveland and Washington get Manning and Flynn, however, it could get really, really interesting.
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Old 02-28-2012, 11:44 AM    (permalink
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Joe Thomas has 32.5" arms, Jake Long has 32.875" arms, Jason Peters has 33.125" arms, Jordan Gross and Bryan Bulaga have 33.25" arms, etc. All of those are guys that every NFL team would like to have on their team
JMO Reiff has lesser film/profile than all of those players (except for Peters who was a TE in college). It's not just the arms. He's a bit of a finesse player and scouts have questioned his toughness. note im not saying he sucks im just saying he might be a pick at 18 instead of 8.
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Old 02-28-2012, 12:00 PM    (permalink
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If the SKins sign Peyton Manning and give a big f@ck you to the Rams, the Browns will have them by the short hairs.

The Browns won't have to do more than swap their 4th for the Rams 2nd, and add their 22nd. That's it.

Instead of forcing the SKins to give up two #1s and five picks total for the 2nd overall pick, that get lowballed by Cleveland and St. Louis will have to deal with it.

Or, the Rams could keep the pick and take Kalil and let the Vikes upgrade over Ponder or trade out.

It's better for the Rams to make a deal before FA. If they wait the bid price for RGIII could dramatically fall.
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