St. Louis Rams – Blog

Draftees Will be Only Additions

Posted by nickwagoner on April 30, 2011 – 11:31 PM

– Because of the current labor impasse, the end of the draft has a decidedly different feel for Rams GM Billy Devaney and his staff. As soon as the draft ended Saturday, teams were no longer able to contact draftable players or college prospects.

– Normally, teams spend the hours right after the draft burning up the phone lines to get in touch with their top targets. But there is none of that this year.

“It’s weird,” Devaney said. “Usually at this time you are scrambling and lining up your free agents for tomorrow. That’s not the case this year. As soon as that last pick goes in, that’s it we are done for the time being until we are told otherwise.”

– Devaney and the Rams have their priority undrafted free agent list ready for the moment when they can sign players, though.

“Yeah, we have it by position on guys that weren’t drafted,” Devaney said. “They are prioritized, you aren’t always going to get all the guys you want because the other teams are competing for the same players. You have got to be seven, eight, nine, 10 players deep, start at the top and start calling.”

– For coach Steve Spagnuolo, the situation is equally frustrating but for different reasons.

“The fact that even these draft picks we just took, you want to begin a relationship with them,” Spagnuolo said. “You want the coaches to start developing them. We’ll just see where it goes.”

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Rams Send Farmer Family to New York

Posted by nickwagoner on April 30, 2011 – 11:26 PM

– For those draft diehards watching at home, you might have noticed someone special announcing Hawaii WR Greg Salas as the Rams’ selection on Saturday afternoon.

– That was Jesse Farmer, a young man from the area who plays football at Pattonville High. The Rams sent Farmer and his family to New York to show support and take his mind off the devastation that happened to his home last week when tornados hit the area hard. The Farmer family home was essentially destroyed.

– There will be a special video piece on the Farmers’ trip to New York coming to soon. In the meantime, Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo wanted to send his best wishes to the family.

“I just want to mention, you guys all noticed in the fourth round we had a high school football player, Jesse Farmer from Pattonville. I thought he did a great job. Prayers are with his family and everybody that was involved in the tornado in this area recently. I thought he represented us really well. He was great, so I just wanted to mention that.”

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Rams Wrap Up Draft with 3 Defenders in 7th

Posted by nickwagoner on April 30, 2011 – 11:21 PM

– After making the trade to acquire a seventh round choice, the Rams used their final trio of picks on defenders for the back seven.

– The first choice was Baylor DB Mikail Baker with the 216th pick. With back to back choices at 228 and 229, the Rams selected Stephen F. Austin LB Jabara Williams and Oklahoma S Jonathan Nelson.

– Baker is an intriguing talent who was an accomplished athlete early in his college career, playing wideout and working as a returner. Injuries slowed him considerably but he emerged as a corner in 2010 and did enough to impress the Rams’ brass.

– Baker visited St. Louis a couple weeks ago and checked out healthy. He’ll get a shot to work at corner and some on special teams upon his arrival in St. Louis. At 6 foot, 200 pounds with 4.3 speed, he’s an intriguing prospect who could just be scratching the surface of his potential.

– Speaking of which, Williams might be the young player with the most upside taken in the final rounds.

– Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo has a good history with Stephen F. Austin linebackers, helping to develop former Pro Bowler Jeremiah Trotter in Philadelphia. Williams doesn’t have quite the resume Trotter did but at 6’3, 210 pounds with good speed, he could develop into a contributor at outside linebacker for the Rams.

– The team’s final pick was Oklahoma safety Jonathan Nelson. He didn’t start until his senior year but was an impact player last year for the Sooners. He might be a bit of a late bloomer but Rams GM Billy Devaney says he has some of the same ball skills and instincts former Rams Oshiomogho Atogwe had.

– Nelson will get time to develop as well and like the rest of the late round picks, he’ll be asked to help out on special teams right away.

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Rams Get Secondary Help in Fifth

Posted by nickwagoner on April 30, 2011 – 8:01 PM

– The Rams made their first trade of the weekend, picking up an extra seventh round choice from Atlanta to move back 13 spots in the fifth round in exchange for their fifth round pick.

– When they came back on the clock, the Rams went back to work on the defense, adding safety Jermale Hines from Ohio State.

– Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo and GM Billy Devaney joked that they wanted to get an Ohio State guy to satisfy MLB James Laurinaitis but the real reason for adding Hines goes beyond keeping the defense’s leader happy.

– Hines fits the mold of  the smart, passionate, productive player the Rams like and he will bring some versatility to the Rams as well.

– For the Buckeyes, Hines played both linebacker and safety and is a bit of a hybrid in that regard. He can be used in both spots and for the Rams, he could get the opportunity to play some WIL linebacker in the Rams’ nickel packages.

– Right away, he probably will contribute mostly on special teams where Rams special teams coordinator Tom McMahon believed he was one of the best potential special teams contributors in the draft.

– In the meantime, he will develop and could chip in as a strong safety. With only James Butler, Craig Dahl and Darian Stewart on the roster, the opportunity could be there for Hines to compete for a job right away.

– The Rams have no picks in the sixth round and will make three choices in the seventh round.

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Through Four Rounds

Posted by nickwagoner on April 30, 2011 – 6:25 PM

– After Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo got a stud pass rusher in the first round in the form of North Carolina DE Robert Quinn, the following three rounds for the Rams has been a steady effort to get weapons and help for the offense.

– Let’s take a quick look at where the first four picks fit in for the Rams and where they could go from here.

– GM Billy Devaney has always said he’d stick to the board and go with the guys that are rated the highest by the staff. They’ve done that so far. And it was clear in the first round with Quinn.

– While Devaney and Spagnuolo acknowledge that there was some risk with Quinn, who didn’t play last season because of a suspension and has a benign brain tumor, there’s no questioning his ability.

– Simply put, Quinn was the best pure pass rusher in the draft in terms of defensive linemen and aside from Von Miller, probably the best one period. He gives Spagnuolo’s defense the kind of juice that could terrorize opponents for years to come.

– And here’s the best part: Quinn doesn’t have to dominate right away. He probably won’t start in his first year as he learns from James Hall. That will allow him to become a more complete player and to focus on doing what he does best which is get after the quarterback.

– Another plus on Quinn, he’s a natural right defensive end. Switching to the right side was difficult for Chris Long and when he went to the left side, everything clicked. Quinn will have no such transition. He and Long should have a lot of fun racing to the QB in years to come.

– Tight end Lance Kendricks might have come as a surprise to fans because tight end wasn’t deemed such a huge need for the team. But the Rams thought very, very highly of him. In fact, other than Julio Jones and A.J. Green, Kendricks was the highest rated pass catcher on the Rams’ board. Maybe he’s not a wideout but he can play like one. He is also a willing blocker and will allow the Rams to do a lot of two tight end sets with Michael Hoomanawanui and Daniel Fells (assuming he returns as a free agent).

– After that, the Rams stuck to the pass catcher theme by spending third and fourth round picks on receivers: Boise State’s Austin Pettis and Hawaii’s Greg Salas. Both were wildly productive college players and come with polished route running skills and a knack for scoring touchdowns.

– Pettis didn’t get as much acclaim as teammate Titus Young but he was every bit as productive. He’s not the fastest receiver around but he plays fast and is a touchdown machine. He’ll work on the outside for the Rams and could turn into a real steal when all is said and done.

– Salas comes with a similarly productive resume. He caught 106 balls in each of the past two years and has the toughness and skill to develop into a very productive NFL wideout as well.

– In the fifth round, the Rams made their first draft day deal of 2011, sending the 145th pick to Atlanta in exchange for the 158th pick and the 229th selection. The Rams now have three choices in the seventh.

– Back with more in a while.

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