Monday, March 16, 2009

Holt Gone...Avery Must Carry Load

And that my friends is a load of crap! Avery is good mind you but he definitely has NOT had enough NFL experience to be the lead receiver on this team. What the heck was this organization thinking by leaving the offense without a high caliber veteran receiver?

And wow we cleared $1.75 mil in cap space by releasing Holt as well. Man, that really helps a bunch.

And leading our offense we're still stuck with the "deer in headlights" $65 mil dollar stick in the mud QB.

I think I need a padded wall because I'm really getting tired of banging my head against the wall each time the Rams make a decision. Now not only do we need to pick up a top notch OT we also now need to pick up a top notch, experienced WR to work alongside Avery.

But hey, Spags has sure gone to work on that defense.

Hmmmm, maybe they'll be able to score us some points too!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Draft Is Coming

With the draft just little over a month away I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at some of the candidates that seem to be high on the Rams list this year.

Aaron Curry OLB

Overall Football Traits

-Production- Wake Forest red-shirted Curry in 2004. He started 10 of the 11 games he appeared in during the 2005 season finishing with 45 total tackles, 28 unassisted tackles, 7.5 tackles-for-loss, one sack and five pass breakups. Curry started all 14 games of the 2006 season finishing with 83 total tackles, 52 unassisted tackles, 8.5 tackles-for-loss, three sacks, three pass breakups, one interception and one forced fumble. He started 12 of the 13 games of the 2007 season finishing with 99 total tackles, 61 unassisted tackles, 13.5 tackles-for-loss, three sacks, four pass breakups, four interceptions including three he returned for touchdowns and two forced fumbles. (1)

Curry has the blend of height, weight and speed and NFL teams covet at the outside linebacker position. (1)

-Durability- Curry is a three-year starter who has yet to miss a game with an injury. (1)

-Character- Wake Forest didn't start Curry in the 2007 Navy game because he missed a class earlier in the week. (3)

OLB Traits

-Instincts/Recognition- Locates the ball carrier quickly. Doesn't always see pulling offensive linemen when tight end blocks down and can get kicked inside. Doesn't always take sound pursuit angles. (3)

-Pursuit/Point of Attack- Aggressive and quick enough to disrupt running plays in the backfield. Plays with adequate leverage, extends arms once locked on and can set the edge though occasionally turns shoulders too quickly creating a seam for the back. Shows a strong punch and can shed blockers in time to make a play. Shows sideline-to-sideline range but effort in pursuit is a little too inconsistent. (2)

-Tackling- Squares up to the ball carrier, wraps up and drives legs once in position though can wrap up too high and struggles to stop ball carrier's forward momentum when that happens. (2)

-Pass Coverage- Reads quarterbacks' eyes and shows above-average range but doesn't always get deep enough when asked to drop into zone coverage and doesn't appear to read routes all that well either. Takes too long to open hips and is going to have some problems turning and running with some NFL tight ends. (3)

-Pass Rusher- Explosive enough to turn the corner at the NFL level and shows ideal closing speed. Shows good body control and can recover when gets knocked off balance. Active hands and relentless but may rely on quickness too much and needs to become more polished in terms of pass rush moves. (2)

Jason Smith OT

Overall Football Traits

-Production- 2004: Baylor red-shirts Smith was redshirted. 2005: Appeared in all 10 games (eight starts) at tight end, recording six catches for 70 yards and and a touchdown. 2006-07: Moved to left tackle and started in 19 games. (3)

-Height-Weight-Speed- While neither is ideal, he does possess adequate height and bulk for an OT. He also shows above average top-end speed for position. (2)

-Durability- Missed five games with an MCL injury last year. (3)

-Character- N/A

OT Traits

-Strength/Toughness- A tough, aggressive finisher. Shows good overall strength. Gives excellent effort and will play to the echo of the whistle. (2)

-Agility- Covers a lot of ground when working as a second-level blocker. At his best moving forward but lateral mobility is below average. Struggles to adjust on the move and has some problems getting into position as a result. (3)

-Awareness- Continues to improve with more experience at the OT position. However, he recognizes and reacts to pressure quickly. Shows ability to recover when caught out of position. (2)

-Pass Protection- Uses long arms and strong punch to keep rushers at bay. Gets set quickly but lacks ideal mirror-and-slide skills. Gets caught on his heels too much. Struggles to hold ground working against bull rushers. (2)

-Run Blocking- Uses long arms and strength to cut off defenders. Stands up too much and struggles to root defenders off the ball when they are able to get under his pads. (3)

Eugene Monroe OT

Overall Football Traits

-Production- Monroe appeared in every game of the 2005 season seeing time at left tackle and right guard. He started six games at left tackle and appeared in all 12 games in 2006. Monroe started 10 of the 11 games he appeared in at left tackle during the 2007 season. He also missed two games two games with an injury (see durability) that year. Monroe started all 12 games as a senior in 2008, earning second-team All-America honors from the AP. (2)

-Height-Weight-Speed- Monroe has adequate-to-good height and adequate bulk. Has the frame too add more weight if necessary and he shows above-average range for his size. (1)

-Durability- Monroe dislocated kneecap in the spring of 2006, underwent surgery to repair the injury, slowed by knee injury during the 2006 season and missed two games with a knee injury during the 2007 season. He did stay healthy as a senior in 2008, though; starting all 13 games for the Cavs. (4)

-Character- Has never had an off-the-field issue to our knowledge. Battled back from some early career injuries. One of 16 children in his family, including 11 boys. (2)

OT Traits

-Strength/Toughness- Doesn't dominate the point of attack like should. Lacks ideal base to anchor. A finesse OT that doesn't look to dominate the point of attack as much as we would like to see. He does, however, have long arms and a strong upper body. Displays a powerful punch and will control DL once he locks on. (4)

-Agility- Excellent feet. Gets set quickly, shows elite agility and plays with outstanding overall balance. One of the premier athletes at the OT position in the 2009 class. (1)

-Awareness- Has really improved when it comes to picking up stunts/blitzes. Wasn't a major issue but called for two false start penalties in four games we watched of him as a senior. (2)

-Pass Protection- Excellent in pass pro. Can mirror and slide with some of the best pass rushers CFB has to offer. Was able to keep USC's Clay Matthews and Brian Cushing in check early in 2008 season. Shows active feet and can slide with defender once he gets his hands on him. Shows a quick kick step, has a wide frame and uses long arms to ride edge rushers past the pocket. Only real concern in this facet is that powerful bull rushers will give him some minor problems at time. (1)

-Run Blocking- Not physical enough. Not going to drive defenders off the line of scrimmage. Lacks ideal mean streak for the position. Plays too high and is going to have problems driving NFL defenders off the ball until learns to play lower to the ground. However, he gets in position and does a decent job of walling off the defender as a run blocker. Doesn't always take sound angles to downfield blocks but reaches the second level quickly and can adjust to moving targets in space. (2)

Andre Smith OT

Overall Football Traits

-Production- Started every game (49) of his three-year career at Alabama (2006-'08) prior to his suspension for the 2009 Sugar Bowl. A consensus All-American and Outland Trophy winner as a junior in 2008. (1)

-Height-Weight-Speed- Adequate height for a tackle. Massive wide-body who could stand to lose a few pounds in the interest of improving his agility. (2)

-Durability- Some concern regarding potential weight issues. However, he never missed a game due to injury during three seasons as fulltime starter for the Crimson Tide. (2)

-Character- Was suspended for 2009 Sugar Bowl vs. Utah for improper dealings with an agent. Otherwise, he has had no off the field issues and coaches/teammates speak highly of him as a person. (2)

OT Traits

-Strength/Toughness- Massive OT prospect. Thickly built. Good upper-body strength and elite lower-body strength. Can create a new line of scrimmage in the run game and can anchor versus powerful bull rushers when set in pass pro. Rarely loses a battle at the point of attack. Plays with a mean streak at times but is a bit inconsistent with his motor. (2)

-Agility-Displays good initial quickness and agility for his size. Shuffles well laterally when coming out of his stance and when working in one direction (either right or left). But he struggles when asked to change directions. He will occasionally be a step late getting into position as a second-level blocker. He lunges a lot when moving forward and struggles to recover. (3)

-Awareness- Shows adequate-to-good awareness. Understands assignments and picks up the blitz consistently (from an awareness standpoint). If he misses an assignment it's almost always due to physical, not mental. He knows the angles and where he's supposed to be almost always. He will stick with a play and find someone to hit if the ball carrier changes direction back his way. (2)

-Pass Protection- Can anchor versus top bull rushers when he's set with leverage. Shows adequate quickness in his pass pro set. Usually gets in position to protect the edge initially, but doesn't show ideal mirror-and-slide skills. Struggles to adjust to quick second-move. Falls off far too many blocks. Doesn't jar DE's with his hand punch as effectively as he should. (3)

-Run Blocking- An absolute mauler. Overpowering at the point of attack. Takes solid angles and is almost always in position if the block is at the line of scrimmage. Shows good upper-body power and even stronger in the lower body. Drives defenders off the line of scrimmage. Only small concern here is that he sometimes is a bit slow getting into position as a second-level run blocker. (1)

Jeremy Maclin WR

Overall Football Traits

-Production- 2006: Maclin is expected to see substantial playing time as a true freshman but sustains a season-ending knee injury during seven-on-seven drill in July. 2007: Maclin starts 12 of the 14 game he appears in catching 80 passes for a total of 1,055 yards and nine touchdowns. He rushes for 375 yards and four touchdowns on 51 carries. Maclin throws two passes and one gets intercepted. He returns 25 punts for a total of 307 yards (12.3 yard avg.) and two touchdowns and 43 kickoffs for a total of 1,039 yards (24.2 yard avg.) and one touchdown. 2008: Maclin starts all 14 games catching 102 passes for a total of 1,260 yards and 13 touchdowns. He rushes for a total of 293 yards and two touchdowns on 40 carries. Maclin returns 23 punts for a total of 270 yards (11.7 yard avg.) and one touchdown and 42 kickoffs for a total of 1,010 yards (24 yard avg.) and one touchdown. (1)

-Height-Weight-Speed- Adequate-to-good height, adequate bulk and exceptional top-end speed. (2)

-Durability- Sustained season-ending knee injury in July 2006. Injures left ankle in fourth quarter of 2008 Illinois game and does not return. (3)

-Character- (2))

WR Traits

-Separation Skills- Quick and fast but doesn't sink hips and explode out of breaks, so is going to have a harder time separating from man coverage at the NFL level. At his best working quick-hitting routes, vertical sideline routes and dragging through zones. But lacks experience versus press technique and has lots to learn in regards to setting up defenders in man-coverage. (3)

-Ball Skills- Can catch waist-high passes without breaking stride. Does a good job of tracking the ball downfield and can haul in over-the-shoulder catches without breaking stride. Times jumps fairly well and shows above-average body control in the air but doesn't always extend arms and snatch ball out of the air when going up for jump balls. (2)

-Vertical Speed- Explodes off the line and has the second gear to run past corners when doesn't get slowed down at the line of scrimmage. (1)

-Run After Catch- Fluid turning upfield, can make the first defender miss and reaches top speed quickly. Great instincts and he can spin away from corners after catching the ball with his back to the defense. Reads blocks well and can turn a bubble screen into a long gain in a flash. Can bounce off arm tackles and flashes an effective stiff arm. Coughs the ball up a little too much. (1)

-Competitiveness and Toughness- sn't afraid to go over the middle. Isn't afraid to launch body and extend ball over pylon. Doesn't appear to take much pride in blocking and lacks a mean streak. At times runs out of bounds when could fight for a couple extra yards. (3)