|Fletcher is 6-feet tall and, like we said yesterday in regard to Utah cornerback Sean Smith, corners this tall can have a hard time changing directions. In Fletcher's case, he doesn't have the burst or hip fluidity to consistently match up in man coverage. However, he does a good job masking his weaknesses with instincts. Because of his long arms he doesn't necessarily have to be in perfect position to make a play on the ball.|
|Scott possesses the adequate size to be an effective one-gap defensive tackle. However, his quickness is just average and we'd like to see him play with more of a mean streak. We do believe he has enough strength to develop into an effective interior run-stopper.|
|5||24(160)||Brooks Foster||WR||North Carolina|
|Foster's a relatively fluid route-runner for his size. He possesses the body control to make the tough catch away from his frame. However, he takes too long to reach top-end speed and needs to work on getting a cleaner release against press coverage.|
|6||23(196)||Keith Null||QB||West Texas A&M|
|Null is a developmental prospect with a strong arm and limited mobility. We like his upside due to good decision-making and his maturity as a leader.|
|Ogbonnaya is a big north-south back who possesses great overall strength. He lacks in terms of top-end speed and elusiveness in the open field, but he is able to pick up tough yards after contact.|
Monday, April 27, 2009
Sunday, April 26, 2009
As expected the St. Louis Rams picked Baylor OT Jason Smith for the number 2 pick overall and on the 2nd round the Rams filled in a need at Middle linebacker as they passed over USC's Rey Malauaga and drafted Ohio State's James Laurinaitis which is more of a three-down player and is a solid character.
On Day 2, I would expect the Rams to add depth on the Wideout positions and maybe a quarterback or a runningback.
Jason Smith Highlights
James Laurinaitis Highlights
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Round 1: Offensive Tackle Jason Smith - Baylor
The reason that an offensive tackle should be draft on the 1st round because the Rams should protect Marc Bulger at all cost and both Jason Smith or Eugene Monroe are NFL ready with Smith having more upside.
While both Smith and Monroe are elite pass protectors, the former offers more in the run-blocking department.
Why not Aaron Curry? a franchise left tackle holds way more positional value than a linebacker.
Round 2: Middle Linebacker James Laurinaitis - Ohio State
Will Witherspoon will be moving over to weakside linebacker, creating a need for the Rams in the middle. St. Louis could desperately use a dynamic talent like James Laurinaitis as a leader for its abysmal defense.
Round 3: Wide Reciever Hakeem Nicks - North Carolina
What I like about Hakeem Nicks aside from the size and is his route running and a sure catching hands. Speed and quickness are just average but with Rams now using a balanced West Coast type of offense speed is not an issue in my opinion.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Height: 6-3, Weight: 209
Strengths: Sensational playmaker…utilizes his hands very well in catching the football away from his body…Crabtree is a physical player who has demonstrated that getting off a jam at the line of scrimmage is not an issue…has had the additional advantage of lining up at both flankers and slot positions, and has found success while playing both…runs crisp routes, so transition to the NFL level should be more smoothly than others…outstanding vertical leap, catches the football at its highest point…should develop into a terrific red zone threat…
Weaknesses: Top end speed is not going to be ideal, reportedly…added speculation circulates Crabtree’s 40 time as he is not going to run at the Scouting Combine, rather at individual workout…recent high-profile receivers who have not run well, Dwayne Jarrett, Malcolm Kelly, etc. have not progressed well to the NFL level…Crabtree has had an amazing collegiate career, but it was only two years, and prior to that, he was a high school QB, so as a wide receiver, he is still developing…playing in the spread offense at Texas Tech has, in all likelihood, glorified his statistics…will he be able to separate from cornerbacks at the next level…?
Overall: The one knock on Michael Crabtree’s NFL potential is his top-end speed, besides that he is, in many scouts opinion, infallible. He is extremely quick off the ball, and the more physical nature of the National Football League will be a fit for Michael Crabtree’s game. He has outstanding hands, and it is almost unbelievable to think that he has only played the position for two years. There are two schools of thought in regards to his experience or lack thereof, some may feel that there is going to be a transition phase where he struggles to the NFL level, some feel that due to his inexperience, the best is yet to come. The Andre Johnson/Larry Fitzgerald comparisons are out there, and they are accurate. Michael Crabtree is a top five talent in the 2009 NFL Draft, and the early favorite for 2009 Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Height: 6-1, Weight: 198
Weaknesses: Needs work on catching the football, his receiving skills are not the smoothest…very fluid with the ball in his hands, needs to adapt that to his game prior to the ball being in his hands…the spread offense that he played in at Missouri can be a detriment to his future NFL prospects…listed at under 200 pounds, and around 6 foot, many doubt his ability to become a true #1 WR…hasn’t had to go over the middle and make the tough grab on a regular basis…not the red-zone threat that many 2009 prospects are…to get in to the end zone, an offense may have to be a bit more creative…
Overall: The comparisons have been made to Ted Ginn Jr. due to their receiving/returning skills and the fact that they are both world class speed athletes, however, the comparison falls short. For one, Maclin is a bigger receiver prospect, and two, he is just a better natural receiver than Ginn. The better comparison is a poor man’s Reggie Wayne. Maclin will immediately help an offense and on special teams, just don’t expect a legit 1,000 season right away. Maclin will take time to learn the nuances of the National Football League, but he has a ton of potential and will stretch a defense like not many in the league can.
Height: 6-2, Weight: 206
Weaknesses: Had a very up and down collegiate career…will need to work on his hands, at times lets the ball get in on him…focusing on technique is essential in regards to progression…needs to work on refining his route running, has a tendency to get sloppy at times….statistics were nothing to write home about…could develop a little more strength to better develop his level of physicality…does he rely too much on his speed and quickness?
Overall: Some scouts and pundits are sleeping on Darius Heyward-Bey in my opinion. Critics will point to an underwhelming career at Maryland where he never dominated, but if one were to watch the Maryland football games you would clearly see that Heyward-Bey was not utilized very well at all and the passing attack, primarily at the quarterback position, of the Terps leaves a lot to be desired. Many are focusing on Michael Crabtree and Jeremy Maclin, however, don’t be surprised if you see pundits start using the terminology "stock moving up" in regards to Darius Heyward-Bey during the Scouting Combine and thereafter. Make no mistakes about it, Heyward-Bey is going to light up the Scouting Combine, and don’t be stunned if he even runs a faster 40 time than speedster Jeremy Maclin, and opens up the eyes of scouts in the process.
Wide Reciever - North Carolina
Nicks is not a pure speed receiver, but he has certainly been productive. At 6-2 and 210 pounds, he has decent size and could develop into a solid complimentary receiver on just about any team in the NFL. It will take a big effort to move up into the first round, but Nicks' performance at the combine should be the difference between a second and third round selection.
2/11 Update: Nicks may even be able to sneak into the first round if teams start going after wide receivers early. Nicks is looking more and more like the fifth best receiver in the draft. The difference will be how well he does in the combine. There are some speed concerns with Nicks and if he quells those concerns, he will be a first or second round selection.
A knee injury sidelined Brandon Tate for most of his senior year, but he still had a very productive career at North Carolina. During the 2008 campaign he caught 16 passes for 376 yards and three touchdowns in just five games before the injury. In 2007 he totaled 1,765 all-purpose yards. A majority of those yards came from kick-off and punt returns and that skill will make him very attractive to certain NFL teams.
It will be his return skills that give him an opportunity in the NFL, but Tate could be a solid second or third receiving option on certain teams sooner or later. His collegiate production was never anything that impressive, but he did do a nice job of complimenting Hakeem Nicks, who could be a first or second round choice this year. Tate's 6-1, 195 pound frame will not allow him to be a primary receiver in the NFL and he has too many questions to answer. That means he will not likely be drafted during the first day of the draft.
However, he should show at the combine that his knee injury is behind him and that he is a quick player who can run decent routes and catch the ball in traffic. If that is the case, Tate will not last very long into the second day.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
The Rams need help at the wide receiver position and got some Monday by trading for Atlanta wideout Laurent Robinson. The Rams acquired Robinson by switching draft positions with the Falcons in both the fifth and sixth rounds. They didn’t lose any picks; they just changed positions in both rounds with Atlanta.
The Rams get Atlanta’s fifth-round (No. 160 overall) and sixth-round (No. 196 overall) picks; Atlanta gets the Rams’ fifth-round (No. 138 overall) and sixth-round (No. 176 overall) picks.
Height: 6-3, Weight: 240
Ohio State LB James Laurinaitis
Height: 6-3, Weight: 240
Strengths: Solid NFL frame with good bulk...good closing speed when rushing the passer...explosive hitter...better ball skills than given credit for...demonstrates good instincts and always flowing towards the ball...does a great job in zone coverage...dominate college player...works well through trash to locate the ball carrier...offers some scheme versatility....
Weaknesses: Needs to improve his functional strength...may struggle to shed blockers at the next level...will not be able to add a lot of bulk at the next level...probably a low upside player...played with several other NFL caliber players...probably a little overrated because he will struggle to make a lot of impact plays.
Overall: Following in the steps of recent Buckeye linebackers such as A.J. Hawk and Bobby Carpenter, James "Little Animal" Laurinaitis is probably a little overrated by the general public but still projects as a solid NFL starter. Laurinaitis is one of the most decorated collegiate linebackers in recent history, including a Butkus Award win. He can probably start in virtually any scheme but projects best on the weakside or in the middle of a standard 4-3 defense.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Just a few hours after completing their first minicamp under coach Steve Spagnuolo, the Rams signed former Baltimore Raven Kyle Boller to a free-agent contract. It's a two-year deal but further contract details weren't available.
"We think he's a good fit for us backing up Marc," general manager Billy Devaney said. "He's a young guy that still has a ton of ability and a lot of upside. This is a really good pickup for us."
The Rams' depth chart at quarterback now includes Marc Bulger, Boller, Brock Berlin and Jeff Otis. Boller has started 42 NFL games, all with the Ravens. He spent last season on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. If healthy, Boller should serve as a viable backup. He is also relatively young -- 27 -- so he has more upside than the 37-year-old Frerotte.
Opinion: Rams made the right move on signing Kyle Boller rather than the aging Gus Frerotte.