– Greetings from Indianapolis where tomorrow the festivities get underway in earnest over at Lucas Oil Stadium. Technically, the workouts won’t start until Friday but player interviews, medical evaluations and time with the media starts tomorrow.
– I’ll be here in this space with updates every morning on what’s to come each day and what you’ll get here at stlouisrams.com. But for now, here’s a preliminary look at how the next four days will go.
– Also, if there is someone you want to hear from or questions you want to ask them during the weekend, leave them in the comments and I’ll do the best I can to get that done and relay it here in the blog.
– We’ll have our chance to spend time with offensive linemen, tight ends, kickers and punters tomorrow. I’m planning to write a couple of feature pieces, one of which will be on the merits of drafting a guard high in the first round. With two prospects in UNC’s Jonathan Cooper and Alabama’s Chance Warmack expected to go high in this year’s draft, it’s worth looking into how teams view them and the value of guards in today’s NFL. Also, I’ll be chatting with a number of tackles, including Alabama’s D.J. Fluker and Florida State’s Menelik Watson. I wrote about the likes of Lane Johnson and Eric Fisher at the Senior Bowl but now is a chance to look into some other, realistic options for the Rams in the first round at the position. Watson, in particular, has an interesting story.
– Likewise, we’ll talk to some of the top tight ends including Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert, Stanford’s Zach Ertz and San Diego State’s Gavin Escobar. I’ll be writing about them over the weekend but I’ll update the blog with comments from them throughout the day.
– A variety of coaches and general managers will come through as well and we’ll make it a point to sit in on some of those, particularly around the NFC West Division.
– This will be a busy day all the way around. Headlining the day will be Rams GM Les Snead and head coach Jeff Fisher. They’ll be speaking at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. (EST), respectively. I’m sure they’ll discuss a wide range of topics including free agency, the draft and more. The main stories from that day will be Rams-centric. One thing to look for is a discussion on how they view this year’s draft class and the benefits of having two first rounders. What kind of flexibility does that allow, etc.? Also, we’ll try to get a take from them on how they value offensive linemen and the need for adding weapons to the offense.
– In addition to the Rams’ top decision makers, Friday is a busy day in terms of players as it means time for the skill position guys to come through. While others will be chasing the hard to read QB class, we’ll turn our focus to the wide receivers and maybe chat up an RB or two. Clearly, a big story in this draft is quarterbacks. That’s not an issue the Rams are concerned with but it’s worth getting a feel for it on the chance that some make a first-round case. The more QBs that can sneak into the top 15, the more players will remain on the board for the Rams.
– At wide receiver, I plan to be involved in the chat with Tennessee WR Cordarelle Patterson. He’s an intriguing prospect and probably one that won’t be available when the Rams pick but he’s an interesting proposition because he has such a small body of work. Beyond him, Clemson’s DeAndre Hopkins, Cal’s WR Keenan Allen (who won’t work out because of a knee injury) and West Virginia’s Tavon Austin will also pique our interest.
– Among the running backs, Alabama’s Eddie Lacy and Wisconsin (and STL) product Montee Ball also are of interest.
– The defense gets its turn as the weekend begins with defensive linemen and linebackers going through the media room.
– This is a deep class at defensive tackle and one guy I hope to catch up with is St. Louis native and Missouri product Sheldon Richardson. I expect Richardson to put on a show and he’s apparently an entertaining interview. He’s probably a top 10 pick or will be after he works out here but he’d be an awfully interesting possibility should he somehow slip to the Rams.
– The Rams are pretty well set at DE but if there’s a player at that position you’d like to hear from, let me know in the comments below.
– At linebacker, the Rams could use another contributor on the outside. I’ll plan to cover Georgia’s Alec Ogletree, Rutgers’ Khaseem Greene (whom I unfortunately missed in Mobile) and Kansas State’s Arthur Brown.
– The final day of the media availability gives the media the chance to talk with the defensive backs. Unlike last year, when the Rams were cornerback needy, they enter this combine with their focus turned more to safety. Players like Texas’ Kenny Vaccaro will be high on the priority list but we’ll also try to catch up with some others like Florida International’s Jonathan Cyprien, Fresno State’s Phillip Thomas and more.
– The defensive line and linebackers will go through their workouts inside Lucas Oil Stadium.
– So there you have it. Each morning, I’ll update this blog with the day’s plans. Throughout the day, I’ll add updates with quotes from a whole bunch of players. We’ll also be posting video interviews throughout the weekend courtesy of our two outstanding video producers Chris Slepokura and Glenn Connolly. On the main page, we’ll have a minimum of two feature stories daily. Plus, we’ll cover any scuttlebutt we hear in terms of free agency along the way.
– That’s all for today but be sure to stay tuned through Sunday for some of the best combine coverage on the web. Thanks for reading.
Posted in From the Sidelines | 5 Comments »