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Article on the Draft

Postby ABC » Thu Jun 30, 2005 5:19 pm

layton Pang wrote:I thought I would have a post draft report in April, but I decided to wait until the first mini-camp was completed and present the post draft report in May. As with every draft, there will be people who like the picks, hate the picks, question the picks, or those who take the wait and see approach. I tend to combine all of the aspects when reviewing Rams drafts, as the Rams seem to pick players that fit all of those categories. I do not think it is fair to grade a draft before a single game has been played, but it is human nature to pass judgment for the sake of conversation (or controversy) before all the cards are on the table (a little poker reference for my Pops). This review will comment on two aspects of each pick, how it affects the Rams and what Fantasy impact the pick has. The picks are broken down by rounds and the number in parenthesis is the overall pick of that player.

ROUND 1: Alex Barron (19) OT Florida State – The Rams get the right tackle they desperately need, but maybe not the one they were planning on. Many mock drafts had Oklahoma’s J. Brown going to the Rams; however, as the draft approached, Brown’s stock rose to the point where New Orleans traded up to the 13th spot to grab him. It is widely accepted that Barron is the most physically talented tackle in the draft, but his drive and dedication have been questioned. There are also concerns about durability, as he had a few significant injuries in college. My take on Alex is that he stayed healthy for the entire 2004 season and was a consensus All-American. He is similar to Orlando Pace in physical talent and quiet demeanor and will have the opportunity to learn from one the game’s best. He should be a major improvement at RT and will help the offense tremendously. As a lineman, Barron has no individual Fantasy value; however, he should help improve the numbers of the skill position players who will benefit from his pass protection and run blocking.

ROUND 2: Ronald Bartell (50) CB/S Howard – After playing it straight by picking Barron in the first round, the Rams revert to their gambling ways by selecting a talented but unproven “tweener” DB. Ronald has good size (6’-1”, 208 lbs) and speed (4.37, 40) but limited experience against top competition. Other proven CB’s like J. Miller (Clemson) and B. McFadden (FSU) were available when the Rams picked Bartell but I think the Rams wanted his special teams’ skills. Ronald should help the special teams immediately and if he is able to develop the physical talent into football skills, the Rams have a potential stud in the defensive backfield (CB or S). Fantasy wise, Ronald will have no IDP value until he is able to crack the starting line up.

ROUND 3: The Rams had two picks in the third round and picked for need, Oshiomogho Atogwe (66) S Stanford, and for potential, Richie Incognito (81) OL Nebraska. Atogwe was a productive player in college and should be a steady contributor for the Rams. Like Bartell, Atogwe should help the special teams right a way. Unlike Bartell, he cannot play CB and will focus on S. He has no IDP value for now. Icognito has no value, period, for the present and immediate future. After having recent knee surgery, Icognito may miss the entire season. Numerous scouts say Richie has “first round talent”; however, personal problems prevented him from fulfilling his potential in college. Let’s see, a talented but troubled player from Nebraska, I wondered what happened to Lawrence Phillips. If Richie can take the year to get healthy and his head is on straight, the Rams third round gamble could pay off down the road.

ROUND 4: Two more picks in the fourth round and yet another safety! Jerome Carter (117) S Florida State is a good football player who had a successful career at a big time program; however, the two picks before him could play the same position, and with the signing of M. Stone and moving M. Furrey to S, this was not an area of need. The fourth round is a good time to take a chance on a potential sleeper and I would have loved to see the Rams pick a spark plug like K-State’s D. Sproles. The Rams need a returner and Sproles would have been an exciting addition. Carter is a good safe pick, but with Bartell and Atogwe already selected, how much can three DB’s contribute to the defense in the first year? The second pick in the fourth round was compensatory pick Claude Terrell (134) OG New Mexico. Terrell is a stump (6’-2”, 343 lbs) with good strength and surprising athleticism. I like this pick a lot and think Claude has the potential to take over the starting RG spot. Like Barron and Icognito, no Fantasy value as a player, but potential help for others.

ROUND 5: The Rams make their first trade of the draft by moving up to select Jerome Collins (144) TE Notre Dame. The Rams gave up their own 5th and 7th picks to Tampa Bay to move up in the 5th to select Collins. The Rams like Collins’ potential as a TE and his production as a special team demon. He changed positions in college so he has a ways to go before he contributes to the offense. There must have been other teams looking at him if the Rams felt they had to trade up to get him. I think we may have to wait awhile before we confuse him with Tony G or Antonio “enemy at the” Gates

ROUND 6: Rams take Donte Ridgeway (192) WR and Reggie Hodges (210) P both from Ball State. Ridgeway was one of the most productive receivers in the nation and has a decent chance to make the team. He possesses something the current WR lack and that is size (5’-11”, 212 lbs). He also is supposed to run sharp routes and have good hands. I am curious to see him play this preseason. Hodges is a punter who is bigger (6’-0”, 226 lbs) than Ridgeway and is supposed to have a strong accurate leg. This pick emphasizes the fact that the Rams are finally taking Special Teams seriously. Ridgeway has potential, but no immediate Fantasy value.

ROUND 7: The last round of the draft brought two more offensive players for Martz to play with, Ryan Fitzpatrick (250) QB Harvard and Madison Hedgecock (251) FB North Carolina. Fitzpatrick is a heady (of course, coming from Harvard) gamer who has a chance to be the fourth QB. Ryan had a good mini camp and hopefully will improve from there. Hedgecock could be a nice sleeper at FB. He has very good size (6’-3”, 266 lbs) and the perfect “FB mentality” (hit any opponent who is in the way with as much force as possible). Solid blocking skills coupled with surprising agility (played some tailback in college) and decent hands could put him into the starting line up. A 7th round pick that starts is a great pick. Fantasy wise, Fitzpatrick and Hedgecock do not have much value; however, Hedgecock could provide valuable running lanes for Steven Jackson.

Time will tell if the Rams drafted well but my initial reaction is that they had a sound draft. Three areas of weakness (OL, S, and Special Teams) were clearly the focus of this draft and the Rams addressed each of those weaknesses with multiple picks. I think the Rams may have gone a little overboard at S, especially if Bartell is groomed to play there in addition to Atogwe and Carter; however, if Bartell shines at CB, the Rams have three potential future starters in the Secondary. As for Fantasy impact, none of the picks have much individual value. Some players (especially Barron and Hedgecock) have potential to help the over all success of the offense. My initial grade for this draft class is a B+ with optimism to move up. The final grade should not given for about three years, but who can wait that long? Aloha, Layton.

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