NFL Nation: Brad Smelley

Rams Camp Report: Day 15

August, 14, 2014
Aug 14
8:00
PM ET
EARTH CITY, Mo. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of St. Louis Rams training camp:
  • The Rams continued to turn up the dial on the physical approach to practice Thursday as coach Jeff Fisher indicated they would earlier this week. Fisher said his team needs work on the run game and they certainly got that work in this practice. That's been a familiar sight in the past two weeks as the Rams try to turn it up before the regular season arrives.
  • Some quick injury news. ... Fisher said left tackle Jake Long will not play this week against Green Bay but they are targeting next week against Cleveland to get him some game action. That falls in line with the plan for him from the beginning. ... Cornerback Janoris Jenkins got back to work Thursday and though he might not play this week, he went through team drills and is close to ready. ... Rookie center Demetrius Rhaney had the scariest moment of the day when he stayed down after his knee buckled on a field goal drill. Rhaney had to be taken off on a golf cart. Fisher said the initial indication was that Rhaney's injury wasn't as serious as first feared but he would still need an MRI. ... Fisher also said right guard Rodger Saffold is "close" to returning from a stinger injury.
  • On the field, there were some big plays and plenty of heavy collisions. Tight end Justice Cunningham continues to find himself in some of the bigger collisions in running drills. Lining up at fullback, Cunningham and end Eugene Sims had a train wreck during one drill in which the pads could be heard from about 100 yards away. Cunningham is certainly making his presence felt as a blocker. Quarterback Sam Bradford had a couple of nice hookups on deep balls, one down the sideline to receiver Brian Quick and another, better throw to tight end Lance Kendricks down the seam. Tight end Brad Smelley, who just joined the team earlier this week went up for a tough over the shoulder catch for a touchdown in the corner of the end zone.
  • Former NFL quarterback Jeff Blake, father of Rams receiver Emory Blake, attended Thursday's practice. He had to be a proud papa when he saw the younger Blake rise up for the catch of the day, snatching a touchdown out of a Cody Davis and Marcus Roberson double team. Linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong was quick to voice his displeasure with the defense's inability to stop Blake.
  • Funny moment of the day: Quick tipped a ball to himself on a pass to the corner but came down out of bounds as the defense closed in around him. Tight end Jared Cook was nearby and quickly chastised Quick for not tipping the ball back to him. He was joking, of course but the delivery was perfect deadpan. Maybe you had to be there.
  • The Rams have no practice Friday as they finished preparations for Saturday's preseason game against the Green Bay Packers.

On Spurrier's comments on Alabama, NFL

November, 2, 2012
11/02/12
3:00
PM ET
Steve Spurrier has suggested Alabama might be good enough to defeat an NFL team.

I'm not sure whether Spurrier was serious, but as Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll pointed out, the notion is ridiculous (unless, perhaps, Spurrier had the 2002-03 Washington Redskins in mind).

"Alabama's got a great team and Nick [Saban] is a fantastic coach," Carroll said, "but when you match up the interior lines against regular NFL teams on either side of the ball, it wouldn't even be close."

Athletic prodigies occasionally flourish in the professional ranks. LeBron James was 18 years old when he had 25 points, six rebounds, nine assists and four steals in his NBA debut.

In the NFL, rules prohibit players from participating until they're at least three years removed from high school. It's generally thought athletes aren't ready for the physical pounding until they're older. Rookies face adjustment periods. Even the best ones can appear lost during the first days of training camp.

The majority of players on Alabama's roster will likely never play in the NFL. It is absurd, then, to think those players would defeat a roster filled with players who are, by definition, good enough to play in the league.

For fun, I've put together a chart showing 2012 NFL draft choices from Alabama. There were eight, including four first-rounders. Injuries have sidelined three of them. Four others have played quite a bit. Another pick, fullback/tight end Brad Smelley, is on the Cleveland Browns' practice squad.

We'll have to wait and see if Alabama produces 22 rookie starters, three full-time specialists and some core special-teams players for NFL teams in 2013. Kind of thinking not.

The draft is over. Book it and now grade it. On a side note, I had Rokevious Watkins as my mock draft Mr. Irrelevant, but hey what do I know. (This is only a joke, I swear). Here's a recap of the final two rounds of the draft:

BENGALS: It was a quiet end to the draft for the Bengals, who had one pick in the final two rounds. Cincinnati used it on Ohio State RB Dan "Boom" Herron (sixth round), a physical back who lacks breakaway speed. You would expect a back to be physical with the nickname "Boom."

BROWNS: ILB Emmanuel Acho (sixth round) was Texas' leading tackler last season, but he has average range. ... Boise State DT Billy Winn (sixth round) is a flashy but inconsistent interior player. ... Arizona CB Trevin Wade (seventh round) is a finesse cover man who has good ball skills. ... Alabama FB-TE Brad Smelley (seventh round) is a hybrid player on offense but he will need to contribute on special teams to stick around.

RAVENS: WR Tommy Streeter (sixth round) is a tall (6 feet 5), raw prospect out of Miami who caught 46 passes last year after making a total of six the previous two seasons. ... Georgia DT DeAngelo Tyson (seventh round) isn't a flashy player and he projects to be a backup nose tackle.

STEELERS: WR Toney Clemons (seventh round) from Colorado is a vertical threat who needs to get stronger. ... Oregon TE David Paulson (seventh round) is an overachiever who has steady hands yet lacks speed to get separation. ... Texas A&M CB Terrence Frederick (seventh round) has good instincts and works best in zone coverage. ... SMU G Kelvin Beachum (seventh round) is an aggressive blocker but he has limitations as a pass protector.

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