How did the St. Louis Rams do in the draft? For an opinion of a fan/person who covers the team I turned to Turfshowtimes.com. Before the draft, Joe McAtee of turfshowtimes.com interviewed with us previewing the draft about what he thought the Rams might do. I turned to him for his opinion about what the Rams did do in the draft. We haven’t gotten to our opinion of the Rams draft, which we’ll be doing in a couple of weeks in our 32 grades in 32 days.
1). What are the Rams biggest needs after the draft?
Offensively, that’s a tough question to answer. With Josh McDaniels ready to start his first year as the Rams’ OC, the drafting of Lance Kendricks with Mike Hoomanawanui on the roster in addition to the two WRs taken suggests how heavily the Rams’ fortunes will rely on the passing game. Now with roughly a dozen potential targets on the roster for Sam Bradford to target, the only position on offense that could be considered a “need” would be guard. The reality though is that in Jacob Bell, at LG, and Adam Goldberg, at RG, the Rams have two guard who are if nothing else adequate at pass blocking and deficient in the running game. The question is how important their lack of run blocking skills are to the team.
On defense, defensive tackle, outside linebacker and free safety stand out. There is an obvious push to add more ends to the line, so the reality may be that the Rams don’t employ a defensive tackle in certain situations where most teams do. At OLB, the Rams have installed high-character, physical tacklers. The issue is coverage and athleticism, and by avoiding adding more talent at the position, nothing has been done to address that issue. And at free safety, filling O.J. Atogwe’s shoes is a serious responsibility. You can make the argument that none of those positions are incredibly vital to the Rams’ defensive system, but they can’t be ignored either.
2). Was Robert Quinn the right pick in the first round?
IMO, I have to think so. I advocated for the majority of the offseason for the Rams to take Aldon Smith. With Quinn on the board, he fits the same bill. The idea of Chris Long and Robert Quinn operating on the same line should be cause for concern for NFC West offenses.
3). Now that the new regime has had multiple drafts has a philosophy emerged in the way they seem to go about the draft?
Does this have anything to do with my post from this morning? I think the real takeaway from the drafts under GM Billy Devaney and HC Steve Spagnuolo is faith. They have faith in the systems they install on both sides of the ball, and they have faith in the key members of their team to operate effectively. Whether it’s arming Sam Bradford with multiple targets or filling the defensive line with pass rushers, the Rams’ braintrust is committed to their philosophy and will earn or burn according to their commitment. If nothing else, Ram fans should take pride in the confidence and determination of their war room.
4). I know you’re a big draft guy so what were some of your favorite and least favorite picks in the draft as a whole.
Having prayed for months that Aldon Smith would find his way to St. Louis, I was disappointed to see him go to the Niners to say the least. And as a Rams fan, now I’m just hoping he doesn’t fit well in their 3-4. As an unbiased observer, I guess I could point at New Orleans and Mark Ingram. I’ve tried to convince the Turf Show Times community of the lack of importance of the RB position; so to trade up to take a RB is a huge waste of draft capital in my mind. For my favorite picks, Adrian Clayborn to Tampa in Round 1, Marvin Austin to the Giants in the second round, and Jacquizz Rodgers to the Falcons in the fifth. And I love the storyline of Mallett to the Pats. The opportunity for more unnecessary media love for the Pats is strong
5). Specifically to the Rams….what was the best pick?
That’s tough to say without knowing how Lance Kendricks, Austin Pettis and Greg Salas will be used. But I’m more than willing to cop out. Robert Quinn!
6). Specifically to the Rams what was the worst pick?
I’ll go with Mikail Baker, the converted WR who finished his career at Baylor at CB. Six years, two medical redshirts…there’s a lot not to like about the pick.
7). How would you grade the draft?
I hate draft grades. A lot. So I’ll grade it a “yippee” with a chance of sliding down to “whoo!”
8). How do fans generally feel about the Rams draft?
Obviously, there’s always going to be the hater segment. I think for the most part, though, the fan base exudes skeptical optimism. We want to buy on this draft and the receiving targets we acquired, but to validate this draft class, Bradford is going to have to distribute the ball all over the field to quite a few targets. It’s less about who he throws to and more about the consistency of production regardless of who makes the play.
9). With this roster right now what do you think a solid ball-park for number of wins could be?
The 2011 schedule is brutal, especially early on. But I’m riding the Bradford gravy train. I’ll go 9-7 and hope for double digits.
10). Last time we talked I mentioned I thought the Rams would go tight end early in the draft…did they take the right tight end in the second round? Was it right to take the tight end?
We’ll know by the end of this year, but I’m inclined to say yes. Kendricks offers more agility and athleticism than Hoomanawanui and looks to offer the Rams a clone of the Gronkowski-Hernandez pair that worked in New England last year. As to whether it was right to take tight end that early, if the coaching staff was committed to installing more 2-TE sets, then the Rams had to go for a receiving TE early. It’s just another example of how difficult it is to predict the draft. Nothing in Spags’ or McDaniels’ histories suggested a move toward 2-TE sets, but the decision had to have been made at some point this offseason.
11). Anything else to add about the Draft or the Rams 2011 season?
I miss football
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