Good Friday afternoon everybody. Hope you're all having a good week and ready for the weekend. Sorry for the one-week hiatus but as you could probably tell, it was a busy week in Indianapolis. We're back up and running so let's get right to it...
Hey Nick, What are the odds the Rams trade/cut Bradford before the season starts. I know we all know Fisher is committed to Bradford f?or 2014 but didn't he same the same about his coaching staff (Walton)?
I just don't know what else needs to be said to make people believe that the Rams are sticking with Sam Bradford as their quarterback. He's not getting cut. He's not getting traded. He's the guy.
Do you think Justin Gilbert is a definite pick for the St. Louis Rams?
I don't think any player is a definite pick for the St. Louis Rams.
Nick! There's 60 seconds left before you have to turn the card in to Roger Goodell, trade offers didn't amount to anything and you have to choose quickly! Who's it going to be? Clowney? Robinson? Watkins?
I wrote last week that I believe it should be Watkins. I also don't believe Robinson or Clowney would be anything but a great pick. They can't really go wrong with any of them. And to be clear, just because I think they should go with Watkins doesn't mean I think they will take him. I still believe they will look to move down in a trade before making a pick.
After early hesitation, I'm on the Sammy Watkins bandwagon. Do you think that trading back to the 4-6 range would still get him? It sounds like Clowney, one of the OTs, and multiple quarterbacks could go before Watkins, and it would be great to pick up another 2nd rounder in such a deep draft.
I think he's gone by 6 and he could be by 5. If Cleveland traded up, I'm assuming it would be for a QB and I think he could still be had at 4. Any lower than that and I think there's a very real chance he's gone.
I'm hoping for a trade down for the #2 pick...what are the odds or likely hood of us obtaining another 1rd pick next year from the potential trade partner?
It's possible but I don't know if it's probable. I just don't know that any team is going to love one of those QBs enough to give up that kind of a bounty.
How are Bradford and Long progressing with their rehab?
Les Snead said at the combine that he's "not losing any sleep" over either recovery. He noted that technology is really helping both along. Clearly, Long is further away since his surgery is still recent but by all accounts Bradford is right on schedule and will be fine barring some unforeseen setback.
I have to admit, this made me chuckle.
Do you know how much money the Rams can free up for free agency?
Not sure I understand the question. Theoretically they could free up as much as they want by cutting guys. But realistically, there are three players that could save them in the $12-15 million range if they cut them outright. They could also restructure to save that money. And if they didn't want to do that, they could very easily convert some money to signing bonus on someone like LB James Laurinaitis to create more space.
Do you have any insight into what Snead and Fisher's views are about Pryor, Ha-Ha, and Jimmy Ward?
I do not expect you to print this. I just want to say I am really disappointed with your support of Clemens.I like him to. However, we either have the worst WR in the game or????
Disappointed? Because I think they should bring him back as a No. 3 QB? I'm not really sure I understand what you are disappointed about? Clemens is a positive locker room presence and played better this year than most of us expected. I haven't advocated bringing him back as the primary backup to Bradford but having him around as a tutor for a drafted No. 2 QB would make a lot of sense to me, especially with Bradford concentrating on getting healthy.
In your opinion, what has the best chance of happening in order?1-Rams staying at the "refurbished" dome.2-Rams getting a new open-air St. Loo park3-Rams going to La-La land
I've said it before and will say it again, I really don't know what's going to happen. Anyone who isn't Stan Kroenke who tells you they do know what's going to happen is probably not telling you the truth. I will say this, I see almost zero chance the Rams long term home is the Edward Jones Dome.
Is it fair judgement to call Brian Quick a bust? Appalachian State or not, how patient are they with his development?
I'm not there yet. But this is absolutely a big year for him. Three years is a fair sample size to judge any player. If he doesn't take a big step forward this year, I can understand those ready to give up and move on.
What is the earliest round you thin the Rams should (as opposed to will) look at a backup/development/insurance quarterback? Is the second round too valuable at this stage for someone like Garoppolo?
If there's a QB they think can be a good backup early and potentially push for a starting job at some point, I'd have no qualms with them taking a QB in round 2. I think round 3 is a better starting point but for the right guy, round 2 would be fine. It needs to be a priority one way or another, IMO.
What up homeslice, greatly appreciate your chats. With news that the cap likely will jump to over 140 and 150 million the following seasons after this one do you believe that will change the plans this offseason for the team or do you feel they already expected this?
I don't know that it changes the plan but it does offer the opportunity to pay a little more to keep your own guys if you want to go that way. To me, the best news for the Rams about the cap jump is it should allow them to keep some of their young talent in the coming years. I still don't expect them to spend big money in this year's free agent market.
do the rams have enough cap to go after J.Byrd ? and if so, will they make a jump at him ?
I don't expect Byrd to hit the market. If he does, I don't expect the Rams to spend that kind of money on a safety.
nick seriously can the rams really afford not to take me with this being such a huge year for the other Sammy and a true #1 being the finally piece to the receiver corp? Plus I compliment tavon, sted, quicky, givens and cooky perfectly come on snisher do the right thing
You already know how I feel about it, Sammy. I think you'd be a great fit. But to answer your question, yes, the Rams can draft elsewhere and it still be a good pick. If, for example, they went with a Robinson or a Clowney or a Matthews, I don't think it would be anything but a great addition.
Have you ever asked or heard an answer from Fisher/Snead on what made them go to a new offense last offseason, preseason and then the 1st 4 games and why did it not work and they to a more simplified game plan. I thought after all that time they gave up too early
You thought after the Dallas and San Francisco games that they gave up too early? Four games into the season, the whole year was about to go down the drain. They had a run game that was headed toward historic levels of ineptitude. And they were asking an offensive line that wasn't built to protect in a spread type of offense to protect the QB for long periods of time. It was a square peg and a round hole. Now, you can attribute it to poor scheming, poor evaluation, whatever you want but I don't think it was anything but obvious that it was time for the Rams to reconfigure what they did offensively.
Better draft combo: Sammy Watkins and Taylor Lewan vs Greg Robinson and Mike Evans
There will be a post on the Rams blog later addressing this but I keep seeing people asking this type of question as though it's some sort of certainty the Rams will have a chance to draft Lewan or Evans at No. 13. Based on what I heard in Indianapolis, I expect neither to be available by then. And it's probably best for others to expect the same so they won't be disappointed when the draft comes.
Hey Nick, huge fan from Toronto! Who would you consider the dark horse player for pick #13? It seems like everyone pegs a WR like Evans, or an OT like Lewan to the Rams at that spot.
Bingo, Robby. Depending on what happens in free agency, I think 13 might end up being the sweet spot for the Rams to add a top defensive back. I could see Darqueze Dennard or Justin Gilbert at CB being an option. Obviously, the safeties are commonly mocked to the Rams (Clinton-Dix and Pryor) and I'll throw in another name to monitor, especially if they lose Saffold, Notre Dame OL Zack Martin.
Besides the consensus early round guys, who impressed you the most at the combine.
It really seemed like one of the best groups in a long time in terms of workouts. Some really impressive stuff going on in Indy. But some lesser known names that seemed to do well would include Oregon State WR Brandin Cooks and LSU WR Odell Beckham, among others. Dri Archer, with his speed, obviously opened some eyes. At least in Oakland.
I really want the Rams to be active in Free Agency for two players only.CB Alterraun Verner, and our Rodger Saffold...What are the odds?
Do you still feel the same now as you did about the safeties pre-Combine? I personally don't see a player with the proper speed to justify a selection as a range safety in the mid-first round
Yes, my mind hasn't changed. I've watched more of them in the past week too. I just don't love either as a prospect. Both can certainly be good players in the NFL but I'm not wowed by either, honestly.
What do you think about either D'qwell Jackson at SLB or Charles Woodson at FS as veteran leadership and missing pieces on an ascending defense?
If Saffold walks in FA, do you see the Rams targeting an interior lineman in FA or do the Rams instead reconsider retaining Dahl to keep at least some stability on the line.
I could see them targeting a vet OL if they lose Saffold. They might bring back Chris Williams as it is, according to Fisher but if they lose Saffold they might have more impetus to do so. Problem is, I don't think there's going to be much on the open market in terms of good free agent OL. The ones that do shake loose will be costly.
Assuming Long recovers on schedule, do you think the best thing for the Rams would be to go with Long and Barksdale at OT, and Barnes at center? As good as the OTs in the draft look, maybe Barksdale can get it done. Then if the Rams could retain Saffold for RG (easier said than done), we'd only need to fill one starting spot on the line and open up both first round picks for a WR, Clowney, a corner, or a safety. Although hypothetical, could this be the best route?
As I've written plenty of times, much will depend on Saffold. At some point, the Rams need to start solidifying the offensive line beyond a year at a time. Getting an elite OT would be a great move this year, even if he'd have to play guard for a year. Let me also add this, the additional salary cap space expectation could allow them to keep one of their vet OLs. My suspicion is if they went that way, Wells is more likely to stick than Dahl.
I think you posited that Saffold might look at 7-8 million a year, but how is that justifiable on any level? That is top tier money for a guy who has never been associated with anything other than above average, and oft injured at that. Are we sure this isn't just agent positioning and marketing? The Rams can't be thinking those numbers, can they?
I posted what an agent was hearing in Indy for 7-8 million a year. And I think it's possible he gets that. It's a simple basic of business: supply and demand. There simply aren't going to be many top OL available, even ones with injury history. Saffold will be one of the top three or four OL to hit the open market. Someone will pay up for his potential at guard and his versatility to play OT. I'd probably draw the line at $6 million or so average annually but I don't know where the Rams cut it off. I doubt they'd go to the $7-8 million range.
nick if im still there at 2 and the falcons are willing wouldn't it make sense to take me and trade chris long for the 6th pick and take Watkins or robinson, that way we can clear up some cap space and get a beast like me? I mean come on longs 29 declining and overpaid, Quinn and I can dominate for years
Just so I'm clear: You're saying you think Chris Long is 29, declining and overpaid. But in the same paragraph, you're telling me that Atlanta would not only give up pick No. 6 for him but also take on his contract? See anything wrong with that?
I read that the Rams officially made an offer to Saffold. Have you heard anything of the details of that offer?
I don't believe any "official" offer is out there yet but discussions have been had. We'll see what happens in the next week or so.
Nick...With all the talk of the Rams potentially moving to LA do you think it will be better for the league? 1) The Rams have a fan base in LA. 2) Superbowls will be back and held in LA 3) no re-alignment! With the Rams already in the NFC West things stay pat...not like if buff Jax came to LA....thanks for your time!
I do think it would be a good thing for the league to have a franchise in LA, sure. Whether it's the Rams or someone else or an expansion franchise, having a crown jewel type stadium to add to the rotation for the Super Bowl would be great for the league and it's obviously a huge market. I completely understand why Rams fans in L.A. want their team back.But I'm not willing to say it's better for the league to have a team like the Rams (or anyone else) keep moving around.
Do you think the extra cap room increases the chances of Saffold being re-signed and does it change the Rams approach to free agency?
That's one way to look at it. But let's be clear, the added cap room is the SAME for everybody. If you're a free agent about to hit the market, what's your motivation to re-sign with your team. Yes, your team can give you more money but so can every other team. I know if I was a top free agent, I'd love to go out and see how much I can get in this market.
I love Watkins, but i think Greg Robinson would be a great pick as well. Ultimately a trade down to the 4-6 spot is ideal but which combo would you think is better Watkins/Lewan or Robinson/Evans if they stay at #2?
See earlier response on that combo question. I just don't think it's realistic. I think a trade down is still the Rams' preferred option from 2, though I think they'd be awfully tempted to pull the trigger on Clowney if he's there.
also wanted to say Nick, that I appreciate you not forgetting fanatics like me during the dead time of the year...Where all the other beat reporters go on vacation
I enjoy chatting with you all. No need for thanks.
Would the Rams consider bringing in Sanchez instead of Clemens, given his familiarity with Schottenheimer's system?
I suppose that's something that could be a consideration but I'm not sure it makes sense because I imagine Sanchez would want to be the No. 2. I believe they're going to take a young QB in this draft. If they do, Clemens would be a much better fit as a veteran mentor for that player than Sanchez.
How much of an impact do you think resigning Rodger Saffold has to do with the Rams first pick?
A pretty big one. Saffold's ability to be a top notch guard and fill in at T if Long isn't ready to go lessens the need on the OL. They still need to spend some draft capital on OL even if they bring Saffold back but he would lessen the need quite a bit in my opinion.
Do you think Aaron Donald makes sense for the Rams at 13? Or, in the event of a trade, somewhere in that general area (it seems to be the popular range for him) That speed on the inside coupled with Quinn, Long, and Brockers.. People talk about the prospect Clowney with them, but i think Donald might be a better overall fit -- thoughts?
Love Donald as a player but I just don't see the need to spend such a valuable pick on a DT. Rams could use a rotational DT later in the draft but Brockers/Langford is pretty darn good as a combo.
nick I know I haven't been talking lately just wanted to tell you what a great job you do covering my team
You could have at least let me know I've been spelling your last name wrong this whole time.
Hi Nick! You're an amazing writer. Do you think that Manziel is an option? Sincerely i don't think that Bradford is a franchise quarterback
No, I don't.
Or in another case: Do you think that the Rams can take a QB in the middle rounds which they can develop and put pressure to Bradford?
Yes, I do.
Do you see all the RBs and WRs coming back next season? Who is most likely to be cut or traded if the Rams pick up a RB/WR ?
I'd be a little surprised if both Pead and Richardson are on the roster next year. In fact, I think it'd be a bit silly to have them both back.
Hey Nick, Would you rather have Watkins at #2, or drop a bit, grab a second-round pick, and take someone like Evans or Lee?
I'd take Watkins over any WR in the draft. As I wrote the other day, it's not about just getting A receiver, it's about getting THE receiver. My conversations with scouts in Indy lead me to believe that Watkins is that type of guy. Evans apparently could be too and I think he'd be a nice addition too but Watkins is the guy they've been missing since Torry Holt.
What are your thoughts on taking Greg Robinson with the first pick and then plugging him in at LG and learn from Jake Long to improve his pass-blocking? And then take a WR maybe Evans with our 2nd pick.
As I said earlier, I expect Evans to be gone by 13. But I think Robinson on the Jonathan Ogden plan of playing OG then moving to tackle would be just fine. Robinson would be an absolute monster as a pulling guard.
If we have to or want to stay 2 I hope we take Mack. He has that rare football instinct like Faulk has. No baggage & great athlete. And with little or no moving around get the third of those Tackles. Your thoughts????
I love Mack's game but that seems awfully high for a 3rd LB who may not be on the field but half the time or so.
Sup Nick, I enjoyed your work over at the rams' official site and I'm glad to see you here on espn. My question is with the #2 overall pick, if you're not able to get a future high pick, would you just stay put and take BPA regardless of need. IMO I think our pick will come down to Watkins, Clowney, Robinson. It seems the front office has drafted for upside the past couple of years.
Said it before, will say it again, the Rams need more blue chip players. At some point, quality needs to take precedence over quantity. While this is a really deep draft in terms of good players, I don't get the impression that there's more than five or six great ones. (And yes, I know some can develop into great ones).
Hi Nick, a big Rams fan in Hong Kong. Yes, this draft is deep but unlike many others, it is also loaded at the top with premier players. I agree with you that we need more difference makers, so how about trading back from #2 a little and then using the ammunition from this trade to trade up from $13 to get two of either Clowney, Watkins, Robinson or Matthews?
I think it's an interesting idea. It's probably pie in the sky to think the Rams could maneuver enough to land something like Watkins AND Robinson. But I don't think it's out of the realm that they could so something like move down a little, grab Watkins then came back up a couple, three picks to get someone like Lewan. Or whatever combination you'd want.
If Clowney falls to the Rams don't you think they should take him.Cris Long is an average at best DE and terrible against the run.Plus his salary is too high. Time to move on. Your thoughts ?
I disagree on Long but I do think Clowney would be awfully tough to pass on if he's there at 2. And if the Rams picked him, I'd completely understand.
With all the discussions of the Rams offensive line, there seems to be very little in the way of news of C Barrett Jones. I remember the draft pundits last year thought he was a steal in the mid rounds and projected him a starter sooner than later. Does he figure to take over for Wells this year or is he still a project for the team?
The weekly Barrett Jones question... his role will be determined by how his offseason goes. if he comes back with added size and strength and proves healthy, he could compete for a starting job. But there's no way to project that right now since I have no access to what is happening in his offseason.
Nick, Atlanta seems like a good trade partner, but Rams need a few impact players to close the gap in the division and draft picks don't always translate into impact players (Pead). Atlanta was in the Conference Championship game just a year ago, are there any roster players that would make sense? How about Rams #2 for Atlanta #6 and Sean Weatherspoon? Rams would arguably have the best front 7 in football.
I know there's a perception that Atlanta is one player away and Clowney is that player. I just don't agree. They are pretty bad upfront on both sides of the ball. I can't see them giving up one of their best players and such a valuable pick to add a DE.
Read a piece out there claiming that Finnegan might have minimal trade value. I don't see it at the price tag, but what do you think? Do any of our three potential cap casualties have any value on the market?
Almost certainly not.
Good afternoon Nick! Thanks for your coverage last week, really appreciate it! Having seen the combine, what are your thoughts on this year's draft? What would you say are the deepest positions, and the weakest?
It certainly looks like a really deep draft. Best (deepest) positions: OT, WR, CB, DTWeakest positions: Interior OL, S, TE
Hello Nick,is there a difference between tackle and guard from the standpoint of injury proneness? I mean Saffold suffered all those injuries while playing tackle. During the time he played guard he didn't miss a snap as far as i know. Then last game against Seattle, he's switched to tackle, and down he goes again.If the Rams count on him as a guard, he might not be as injury prone after all. Or is it just coincidence?
I actually agree with this, Gaborini. I think it's an interesting thought. Saffold did indeed hurt himself out on the edge and I think if you put him in the phone booth, it decreases the chances of him hurting himself a bit. There's probably no statistical proof of that but let's use how he got hurt vs. Cleveland last year. He was on the edge and hurt his shoulder trying to lunge at an edge rusher. Now, there's always the chance you can get rolled up on from behind on the interior but I have at least had the thought that he'd be a little safer inside than out.
You did not tell me if Pollian was correct when talking up Watkins. If we take Watkins do we have to teach him to run routes? Does he still need to be developed? I am afraid he is a "One Trick Pony". What if he never learns to run routes? We already have "Speed" guys do we not????
I haven't heard route running as an issue for Watkins at all. In fact, scouts talk about his route running skills as a positive. Like any rookie WR, he'll need work in that regard but he's not going to be a route running neophyte like so many young WRs are when they enter the league.
Don't really think we can go wrong with the 2nd pick. I would like to see something like Watkins/Clowney then Gilbert/Lewan for our 1st round picks. I think Gilbert is a future ProBowl star. I think he compares favorably to Patrick Peterson and Terrence Newman with their athleticism, ball skills and return ability.
I think Gilbert could be a guy that is on the board and tempting for the Rams at 13. Dennard, too.
The Rams offensive line may again be all offensive tackles (except center). I always wondered why teams don't field a line of tackles, the big boys. Is it that difficult to move from tackle to guard? I like Long, Saffold, Barksdale and Robinson upfront. Scary no?
The thought of Robinson and Saffold as pulling guards has to have Paul Boudreau salivating. If the Rams pulled that off, Zac Stacy could have one heck of a year.
Robinson at 2 and Aaron Donald at 13. Cut Langford for cap space if need be. Thoughts or concerns?
I still don't understand why anyone would want to cut Langford.
Nick, which saftey at 13 do you think is a better fit Pryor or Dix? It seems we could trade down to six with ATL and get two plug and play starters in a tackle and saftey.
I'm personally not terribly high on either of them but for what the Rams need, I tend to lean toward Clinton-Dix. I know they ran the same 40 but I think running the alley and moving laterally, Dix is the better fit.
Hey Nick, in general if you were a QB, would you prefer to have an elite LT or elite WR?
I think I'd go with the elite WR. I know an elite LT keeps you from getting hit but schematically there are ways to help him out and keep you blocking. But a true No. 1 WR can go up and win jump balls and consistently create separation. It doesn't matter how long you're protected if you don't have a receiver that can win one on one outside the hashes.
Hi Nick, thanks for taking our questions today. I agreed with the poll results earlier in the week regarding Watkins being the clear choice if we stayed with our number 2 pick, but I can't help wonder if that changes if we can't resign Roger and the scary thought of wholesale along our OL comes to fruition. I get that we need a killer wide receiver, but we also need stability along the offensive line too. decisions, decisions.
You're absolutely right. It's a tough decision but a good problem for the Rams to have. Really, the Rams would have to do something really, really strange to go wrong with that early choice.
Would Z. Martin be worthy of a pick at 13 or could the 13 be a likely trade spot?
I like Martin a lot and I'd think about him at 13, especially if Saffold was off the board. You might want to try to move down a little but he might not last that long either. Really good player and can play all over the line.
what are expectations for isaiah pead? if he weren't a 2nd round pick, do you think he'd still be on the roster?
I have zero expectations for Pead at this point. That's a fair question. I don't know if he would or not but if he wasn't, I'd understand.
When can we expect to hear any news on Wells, Dahl, or Finnegan, if any news at all?
If they do anything with them, it won't be until closer to the start of free agency which is March 11.
Aaron Donald? Anyone with me? Nick?
I'm sure there are others out there that are with you. I'm not one of them. I love the kid as a player and I could see him as a fit as a pass rushing DT but the Rams have two solid starters inside and more pressing needs elsewhere for where they'd have to draft him.
What can the Rams expect in compensatory picks?
I expect them to get a pick or two in the later rounds.
I've heard Snead talk about the possibility of bringing back Chris Williams and Saffold but nothing about Shelly Smith - do you think he'll be brought back?
Do you think the Rams will spend more Picks and signings this offseason on the Defense or Offense? Both needing 2 needs in my opinion; Offense being OL and #1 WR, and Defense being OLB, and FSafety. Also, what do you think Mike Evans is missing for such a bigger want for Watkins? I feel in Physical NFCWest, Evans would give us big target with Givens, Bailey, and Austin being our speedsters.
That's a good question and one I need to look into further.
nick considering the fact that if we take an early tackle early he might get kicked in to guard for a year wouldn't it make more sense to take a robinson who has the higher ceiling and a much better road blocker than Matthews since that gives bedreau a whole year to coach up his pass protection?
Hello Nick, I have got a great idea. LA gets an expansion team or two. Kroenke gets a new stadium here and the team stays, but,.. He sells the LA owner the "Rams" team name, giving it back to LA then we re-name our St. Louis team. Sound good?
I'm sorry to cut this a little short but I've got to run to get working on another project. I'll be back and make it up to you all next week at the same time. Promise. Thanks for joining me today. Have a good weekend.