– Another year, another NFL Scouting Combine has come and gone, at least for those of us doing the bulk of our work from the media room at Lucas Oil Stadium. The teams and players will stick around for two more days as defensive linemen and linebackers will work out tomorrow and defensive backs will wrap things up on Tuesday.
– But for us, it’s time to head home and turn our attention to free agency, something we’ll be doing on Stlouisrams.com in short order.
– Some final thoughts to keep in mind from the events of the past four days and what is to come in the next couple of days as it relates to the combine.
– First and foremost, please keep everything that happens on the field here in perspective. I know it’s easy to see how a guy runs a 40 or even performs in a drill and act like he’s “boosting” or “hurting” his stock. The reality is that if there’s any adjustment to their “stock,” it’s very minor at best. Scouts study these players year around and one short workout here isn’t going to significantly alter any of that work that’s been done. Teams already have these guys in some sort of order, even if it’s loose.
– With that said, some ties can be broken here. So if, for example, two wide receivers were pretty much in a dead heat on a team’s board entering their time here, a fast 40 could nudge one guy ahead of the other.
– The biggest things that happen here are things that we rarely get access to: team interviews and medical information. Much is learned in those two settings and things can change there. I know some want to draw major conclusions from which players the Rams visit with but they will visit with nearly every player here in some capacity. Perhaps the 60 suite interviews is a little more of a clue but that’s not always the case, either.
– As we head full steam toward free agency, Rams HC Jeff Fisher and GM Les Snead provided some insight into their thinking. Here’s a quick recap of how they see some issues moving in that direction:
– They’d love to bring RB Steven Jackson back and they have great respect for him. The decision for both sides will come down to finding the right value fit and having Jackson be comfortable with his situation.
– WR Danny Amendola’s situation is even more complicated. Snead discussed weighing the value of a player who very productive on the field against his struggles staying healthy. It’s a slippery slope and it only takes one team willing to pay a heavy freight to take Amendola away. The Rams would love to have him back and Amendola said he’d like to be back so we’ll see if they can find common ground.
– The Rams really want DE William Hayes back. Likewise, Hayes wants to return. If he can land starter money somewhere, it might hurt the Rams’ chances. If not, expect him to remain a Ram after a breakout 2012 season.
– Fisher made it extremely clear he has no intention of making any additions at quarterback this offseason. He believes in second-year signal caller Austin Davis and he’s ready to see Davis get a shot to be the No. 2 behind Sam Bradford. Even if veteran Kellen Clemens returns, Fisher said Davis would get every opportunity to be the backup with Clemens as the 3.
– Over the course of the next two plus weeks, the Rams will have some decisions to make as they work to clear some salary cap space. When all is said and done, they expect to be about $10 million under the cap. That’s not a lot of wiggle room so we’ll see where they are and how much they have to spend on their own free agents and potentially even some outside free agents.
– From here, the Rams will begin stacking their boards and finalizing plans for the 30 pre-draft visits. Likewise, the scouts will be back on the road for pro days all over the country as free agency gets underway. Remember, what happens in free agency will have a direct impact on which way the Rams go in the draft.
– That’s going to be it from here. Special thanks to our outstanding video producers Chris Slepokura and Glenn Connolly for their work on providing all of the video interviews and pieces here this week. We had more content coming out of here than ever and I’m proud of the work we’ve done. I hope you’ve all enjoyed it. Thanks for reading/watching/following along. See you in St. Louis.
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