Jim Thomas Rams Chat Highlights: Feb. 25
JT’s Chat Highlights
—I just can’t see the Rams using a high pick on a strongside LB, unless they plan to use him elsewhere, so I don’t think they go for Mack or Barr. Again, I’d be happy with any combination of Clowney, Watkins, one of the 3 OLs, and one of the top safeties with the 2 first-round picks.
—Rams Take Clowney? That would not shock me. Jeff Fisher loves pass rushers. He said at the combine, you can never have enough pass rushers. Gregg Williams would figure out a way to get him on the field. Between Williams and d-line coach Mike Waufle (an ex-Marine) I think they could keep Clowney motivated.
—Bradford was the 11th-rated passer in the league last year. And for those who don’t believe in passer-rating, I cite Gil Brant, who said since 2008, the team with the higher-rated passer has won 80 percent of the time. That’s not “defending” Bradford, that’s citing facts.
—Actually, Bradford had one of the best interception percentages in the league last year before he was hurt. (Only four INTs.) But you’re right. Another stat from Brandt. Since ’08, team with the fewest turnovers wins about 80 percent of the time as well.
—Yeah, not much trade talk that I’m aware of at the Combine. But it’s a long way between now and May 8. I think Atlanta would be a good trade partner, partly because of the relationship between Snead and Dimitroff. But if the Rams have a very high grade on Clowney, I don’t know if they could pass.
—The pressure is to win games in the NFL’s toughest division, and getting the type of players in this draft that can get that done. On offense, the question in Round 1, especially with that No. 2 overall pick could be what’s the best way to help Sam Bradford? With a top offensive lineman or a top wide receiver. Robinson could play OG for a year or two. He could start at RT with Barksdale coming off the bench as the third tackle. And keep in mind, there’s no guarantee Jake Long will e ready for opening day coming off his knee surgery.
—Re-signing Saffold? The Rams aren’t going to go down easy on this one. They want to re-sign Saffold. But if the money gets out of hand, they’ll probably bow out. But I’ve been saying for some time that I didn’t think Saffold would be back according to what I’m hearing. We’ll see. We don’t have long to wait.
—Greg Robinson is getting a lot of hype, most of it deserved. But Lewan had the better workout at the combine and ran faster than Robinson! Lewan was strong all across the board in the combine workouts. Robinson wasn’t all that good in some of the change of direction and lateral movement drills, which were important for linemen. Now don’t get me wrong, they’re both very good prospects. But Robinson doesn’t have a ton of pass-blocking experience either.
—You know, value meets draft position at both the safety and corner positions at No. 13. That would be the range for the top 2 safeties (Pryor and Clinton-Dix) and the top two corners (Gilbert and Dennard). So that could be the way to go there.
—I think Clinton-Dix has better range and is more of a free safety, which is what in theory you’re looking for. But I don’t think Pryor is a dud in coverage, either.
–Bradford Talk Shut Down? I shut it down because the Rams aren’t replacing Bradford. Not this year. Did you listen to Fisher and Snead at the combine, or were you too busy sticking needles in your Bradford voodoo doll? If the Rams were thinking of replacing Bradford this year I’d be writing about it.
—I’m thinking if it’s Robinson and there’s no Saffold on the roster _ and Long’s not ready for the opener _ that Barksdale probably would open at left tackle, and Robinson at right tackle. Once Long returns, it probably makes the most sense to play Robinson at guard.
—I think one Free Agent to keep in mind is Tennessee corner Alterraun Verner. He played for Fisher, played for Williams, made the Pro Bowl last year. I believe he’s only 26. Doesn’t look like Tennessee will franchise him. Could be expensive. Verner doesn’t have grade speed, but is very instinctive and intelligent on the field. Good ball skills.
—Boudreau is just a good coach, period. With that in mind, it might be nice to see him coach a top-flight pick for a change.
—Houston at #1? I’m just hearing they’re going quarterback.
—Who at #6 after Trade Down? If Watkins and Robinson are gone, take your pick of Lewan and Matthews.
—How will it be different with Greg Williams? He’ll be much more vocal on the practice field. He will welcome players’ input during games and on the practice field. He will blitz a little more. And the team will be more aggressive on first down.
—Watkins sure looks like the real deal. He’d be hard to pass _ I think _ even at No. 2 overall.
—What Positions Will they Go for in Free Agency? I think cornerback and offensive line are the most likely. But if Saffold re-signs, that lessens the need on the o-line.
—Byrd would be expensive. My sense it the Rams are going to look for a safety in the draft.
—The problem with press coverage though is if you whiff on the jam, it could lead to a big play. Even when the Rams were running more of the Gregg Williams system _ when son Blake was the de facto coordinator in 2012 _ the Rams played a lot of off coverage because of their young corners in hopes of keeping the ball in front of them and avoiding big plays.
—Even if Dunbar stays, I think the Rams will be looking for more depth at linebacker. But yeah, I think Armstrong could be a possible replacement.
—Usually teams keep six WR’s, although Rams kept five for most of the year. As to whether the Rams go 5 or 6, we’ll see what training camp brings. I think Pettis is back unless Rams draft a WR in early rounds.
—There are a lot of ways you can go here. Watkins at No. 2 overall (or a little later in trade down), and one of the 3 top OTs if one was available at No. 13. Clowney at No. 2 overall and one of the safeties (Pryor/Clinton-Dix) at 13. I don’t really have any kind of ideal round here at this point.
—Hey, I like Saffold as a player and a person. And I think he still has upside. If Saffold leaves, it will be a blow, but it’s not like the Rams are losing Forrest Gregg here. It will make things tougher, but it’s part of the NFL. He’s one of only 3 starters scheduled for unrestricted free agency (Saffold, C. Williams, Dunbar).
—Watkins the Real Deal? Yeah, I think he’s the real deal. Right know he’s considered one of the top prospects at the position to come out since A.J. Green/Calvin Johnson. Not saying he’s that good. But he looks like a special talent.
—The worst thing you can do in a draft is reach for need. And the higher you are picking in the draft, the less you should even think about doing that. If the Rams really think Watkins or Clowney are as you say, once in a generation prospects, I agree _ they should definitely go in that direction.
—Not sure if McCarron would still be there in Round 3. But I would think he’d certainly be under consideration if that were the case. I’ve said this many times now, but I would be surprised if the Rams didn’t take a QB somewhere in the draft. Ideally, I’d like to see them keep 3 QBs this year _ draft one with starter’s potential and keep Clemons.
—I can’t see the Rams using a pick in the first or second rounds for an LB who plays only 35-40 percent of the time. That’s true even in the run-happy NFC West. In today’s NFL, the nickel back is more of the 11th starter than the strongside LB.
—Evans or Lee at WR? Hard to say. Lee did have those injury issues last season, and didn’t run overly fast. Evans ran a good 40 time for his size. If you draft him, I guess your basically giving up on Quick as that big receiver.
—Even if they take Clowney or Watkins, I’m sure the Rams see the o-line as a major area of concern. And I agree for the most part with your comment on sinking tons of money into free agent talent on the o-line. Why not try bringing in some younger talent and let Boudreau coach them up?
—Best Safety? I think it’s too close to call. But I think I give the slight edge to Pryor right now as the better safety.
—I wouldn’t be shocked to see them look for a change-of-pace RB in Rounds 5 or 6. Henry Josey, anybody? Richardson definitely will be starting for scratch after last season. And you only get so many chances in this league.
—Keep Wells and/or Dahl? Yeah, I think it’s possible. Probably more possible with Wells than Dahl.
—Competition is always good. Jenkins is very competitive. He needs to do a better job of tracking the ball. Needs to still work on his footwork and technique. But I don’t think the Rams are done on him at all. I still think the Rams need another starting caliber CB on the roster either via draft or free agency.
—How to Fix the O-Line? The easiest way: Re-sign Saffold, draft one of the top three OTs.
—Who Has Final Say? Technically, Snead as the final say on such matters. But believe me, Fisher gets what Fisher wants.
—Watkins, Austin, and Stedman Bailey in 3 WR formations? Sounds pretty good to me. But somehow you’ve got to shore up that offensive line or else it won’t matter who’s lignin up at WR.
—The Rams can cut players and renegotiate their own contracts right now. Among other things, I think the Rams wanted to eye-ball the players at the Combine before deciding on cuts. They don’t have to be under the cap until March 11 by the way. So in theory, they could sign Saffold and technically be “over” the cap right now. There’s only about 2 1/2 weeks until start of free agency, so we’re getting close to “last-minute.”
—Are you totally sold on Barksdale at RT? Are you sure Long will be ready for Day 1? That’s why you draft a tackle. And who knows, maybe Robinson, or Matthews, or Leewan start out at guard?