The 2014 NFL draft is still four days away. Before we get there, we'll take a look at a prospect or two who could be of interest to the St. Louis Rams.
By now, we've covered most of the big names so the focus here will be on vetting potential additions beyond the top 10 of the draft.
Position: Outside linebacker
Height/Weight: 6-2 3/4, 234 pounds
Projected round: 5-6
Pros: Classic overachiever who produces by doing all of the little things right. Outstanding play recognition and diagnosis skills go with good instincts that always put him around the ball. Was extremely productive in the two full seasons he was a starter, including 10 fumble recoveries and five interceptions. Has good straight-line speed and tested well athletically at the scouting combine. Leadership, football character and work ethic all top of the line. Good range allows him to chase down ball carriers sideline to sideline.
Cons: Doesn't jump off the page in terms of size or strength. Has durability questions after a shoulder injury cost him the bulk of his 2011 season. Has a tendency to be overaggressive which leads to false steps and can put him out of position. Struggles to get off blocks because of short arms and average at best hand usage. Tackling issues stemming from tendency to overextend and lunge at ball carriers. Quicker ball carriers give him trouble in the open field.
Fit with Rams: The Rams need more depth at outside linebacker but probably won't be using an early pick to do it unless the value is too good to pass up. Tripp likely wouldn't be expected to do more than provide depth and work on special teams early in his career, but his intangibles could be useful until he gets up to speed. St. Louis doesn't need a starting linebacker, per se, so a player like Tripp could make sense as a later addition. Also, you can never count out the connection to Montana players because of the presence of assistant secondary coach Brandon Fisher, who played at Montana and was instrumental in the team's 2012 selection of cornerback Trumaine Johnson.
He said it: Tripp at the scouting combine on what he brings to the NFL -- "100 percent work ethic and I’ll be able to lead by getting people to follow what I believe in and not only that but coming in and being consistent right off the bat and bringing something to the table right away."