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Nickís Mailbag Ė Feb. 21


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Nickís Mailbag Ė Feb. 21

INDIANAPOLIS Ė

Tristan Royer

Do you think it would make sense to trade down in the draft or pick Crabtree. If they traded down to a team like the raiders, or the 49ers, they could still get either a quality lineman in Jason Smith, Andre Smith, or Eugene Monroe; a DT to clog the wholes in Raji; a great linebacker in Curry or Ray Maualuga; or even Malcolm Jenkins. If it were up to me I would just draft Crabtree and get a tackle in the second round like the tackle from Arizona or the one from Connecticut. Maybe even the guard from Oklahoma. If we draft Monroe in the first round we might want to draft Matthews, English, or Chung with our second pick. What do you think?

NW: Once again, the idea of trading down is always appealing. The problem is that to make a trade you have to have two teams that want to make a deal. Teams arenít too interested in moving up that high in the draft these days. As you know, I like Crabtree a lot (even though he suffered the foot injury) but I also think tackle is a bigger need and should take priority if the Rams canít find one in free agency.

Bob Cuba

Nick,

So what is your take on this next year?  Is this a "rebuilding year" again?  We are in arguably the weakest division, and it shouldn't be hard to rise to the top.  But the rest of the division isn't going to sit still either.  I see SF coming back to being competitive. 

NW: How can anyone answer these questions without the frame of reference of an entire offseason? We donít even know who is going to be playing for the Rams or anyone else next year yet. I am of the belief that coach Steve Spagnuolo and general manager Billy Devaney and Co. have what it takes to get this team competitive again in a hurry but letís take a deep breath (or 20) and wait until at least May before we start trying to project what might happen next year.

Taylor B.

With so many issues with most of the top prospects whether it be measurables or character, would it not be wise to select Curry. Not that you are settling for a lesser prospect by any means as I believe he is the BPA. But if he measure out at 6'3" and 255 lbs, runs a sub 4.60 forty should he not be the obvious choice. The only knock is no one knows how well he could play MLB IF asked to. I would take him and play him as a bookend opposite of Witherspoon. Now you have two pro-bowl quality OLB's and can plug in a 2 down thumper in at MLB and let Draft come in on passing downs if needed. Your thoughts on Curry? Also, LB's are on Sunday, correct?

NW: Iím a big fan of Curry and think heís the best defensive player available in the draft. I wish we knew for a fact that he could play the middle. Itís a bit risky to take him and move him to a position you donít know he can handle for sure. I would suspect heíd be excellent at MIC but you know heíll be very good at SAM. You make a fine point about having him and ĎSpoon on the outside. Thatíd be a nice tandem even if Curry didnít play the middle. I donít think the Rams are even remotely close to making a decision on who the No. 2 pick would be and I would feel comfortable saying that Curry is still well within the conversation. For what itís worth, Curryís interview with the media was outstanding and he won a lot of fans in the media room. That doesnít mean much in the grand scheme but he made a convincing case for himself and that he can play the middle in the NFL.

Linebackers speak to the media today and will work out on Monday. Receivers, quarterbacks and running backs work out on Sunday.

Marcus Morey

Do you see a scenario where the rams trade down in the first round of the draft and get more quality picks or possibly another first round pick, while still getting one of the highly touted O-Tackles in the first round? Thanks for your time.

NW: Again, you have to have a trading partner to make a trade. As for a scenario under which that might happenÖwell, I suppose a team could fall in love with the quarterback the Lions donít choose or maybe a team will decide they have to have one of those offensive tackles and make a move. Basically, the Rams need someone to fall in love with a player that they must have for a trade down to be a possibility.

Matt Stenquist

Nick,

Hey man, I have a few questions to ask about how the team plans on going about this off-season:

1) I love Marc Bulger and think he is an amazing guy, but, I think he is declining and getting older. Now I know that free agency is pretty thin at the position, and I also know he signed a new contract last year, but what are the possibilities of (through draft or free agency) maybe releasing/restructuring his or Trent Green's contract and searching for a new starting Quarterback?

2) I know you are a large Crabtree fan, but do you think the need at WR is really large enough to take at the second pick in the draft, could we maybe wait till the second or third round?

3) If we can wait on WR, who are some of the guys that will probably still be available at those rounds that would be good picks for the Rams?

4) Do you think with the new coaching staff and schemes the TE's might be involved more in the passing game? And if so, will the Rams be looking to upgrade, or stick with the ones they have?

5) Do you think the Rams are looking to upgrade the Defensive Line, or that they will go for some larger needs and stick with the current players?

Thanks a lot man! Sorry for the long post, and keep up the great work!

NW: Bulger isnít going anywhere and got a pretty nice vote of confidence from coach Steve Spagnuolo on Friday. A beefed up offensive line and a healthy Steven Jackson would go a long way for Bulger. Still, donít be stunned if the Rams bring in another quarterback in the offseason whether itís a veteran backup or a developmental prospect through the draft.
I donít want people to think I am married to the idea of drafting Crabtree, I just think heís quite possibly the best player in the draft (and I still think thatís potentially true after the foot injury). But I definitely think the Rams need to address the offensive line before they can consider taking a receiver at No. 2.
Middle round receivers that could be available include North Carolinaís Brandon Tate, Penn Stateís Derrick Williams, Oklahomaís Juaquin Iglesias, Oregon Stateís Sammie Stroughter and a guy I really liked at the Senior Bowl, Ohio Stateís Brian Robiskie.
Hard to say how much involvement the tight ends will have yet considering that the offensive scheme hasnít really been finalized yet. I donít expect the Rams to pursue a tight end to become the top option but I wouldnít be stunned if they grabbed one at some point in the draft.
I think the defensive line is something that is being drastically overlooked by a lot of people. Spagnuolo and Billy Devaney like to build up in the trenches under the theory that dominating there makes everybody else better. I wouldnít be surprised at all if the Rams make some moves on defensive linemen maybe sooner than people expect.

Troy Utley

Hey Nick,

I am not sure what the schedule at the combine is but I was wondering if Sean Smith from Utah is on the radar of the Rams? I know he is a potential late first rounder, but the kid has size and skills, so if he were to slip to the Rams 2nd round pick what do you think the odds would be?

NW: Iím not sure how the Rams feel about him but Iím sure he will be on the radar. I didnít get a chance to watch Utah play until the Sugar Bowl against Alabama and that kid really stood out to me. Iím not sure if heís a corner or a safety at the NFL level but Iím quite certain heíll be a stud regardless. Good guy to keep an eye on and Iíll do some checking around to see what the consensus is on him among personnel types.

Don Perkins

After reading your evaluation of Andre Smith he is not a good choice for 2nd over all.  Left Tackle has a higher value that right tackle and guard even less.  Pace is not getting any younger we need a left tackle.  Bulger can not last much longer as a human piŮata.  My bet is on Jason Smith.

NW: I do think that Andre Smith has dropped a notch below Eugene Monroe and Jason Smith in the eyes of many teams but Iím not quite ready to write him off yet. Heís only 21 years old and heís an absolute monster in the running game. Again, maybe heís not the type of LT you can leave on an island in pass protection but that doesnít matter as much when heís road grading giant holes for Steven Jackson. It definitely hasnít been a good weekend for him, especially with his random disappearance. He needs to mature in more ways than one.

Jonathan Aguilera

Nick youíre the man!

Gibril Wilson just got cut by the raiders and use to play for Coach Spagnuolo. Need I say more! Tell Billy to get him in a Ram's uniform ASAP! He would be perfect for our open SS position.

NW: Thereís no question that Wilson would be worth a look. He had 129 tackles, 1.5 sacks and two interceptions for the Raiders last year. He plays a position of need, heís 27 years old and he has a relationship with Spagnuolo. The question is how much money he might demand but heís a free agent now and any team can sign him whenever it chooses. Of all the guys being released in recent days, he makes the most sense to me as a fit for the Rams. Iíll do some checking around on possible interest.

Lloyd Denny

What are the chances the rams select linebacker Curry with their first pick? It seems to me the defense is sorely missing a big hitter. Thanks..

NW: See above for more lengthy response but I have, by no means, discounted Curry from a possible guy the Rams might have interest in and I really hope he gets strong consideration if the Lions donít take him.

Noel Anderson

Nick, don't laugh, but what would you say to the Rams using Richie in situations were he would line up as a NT, or FB, or even TE on sweeps to utilize his aggression as a positive factor all around, he wants to hit someone every play and that might be a positive move and help us in every area??

NW: I didnít laugh, but only because you told me not to. I donít see that it necessarily makes sense to have him play anything but guard (or potentially center) on offense. You put him at FB or TE and you are taking away your best interior blocker. It doesnít matter if heís on the edge for a sweep if a defensive tackle blasts up the middle and blows the play up in the backfield. NT? Interesting idea but thereís a lot more technique involved with playing in the trenches than people realize.

Fred Stalls

It looks like a few decent players are getting released for salary cap purposes without even being put on the trading block. Or maybe they aren't getting any offers. Should we expect the same if the Rams decide to part ways with Holt and/or Pace? No trade, but a mere release?

NW: Like with trading back in the draft, you have to have someone willing to dance with you to make a trade.

Timothy Wright

With the free agency pickings getting more slim and the Rams already tight against the cap with an Atogwe tag and Bartell deal, maybe the Rams should just keep Pace and Holt and stay out of free agency. What do you think?

NW: Donít you think this team needs an influx of talent, including free agency and the draft? Iím all for keeping Pace and Holt but itís going to be awfully difficult considering their cap numbers.

Glory Greens

Is it just me or is having the #2 pick in the draft seem to get worse each and every day with these new revelations about these players?

NW: I donít think anybody wants to have the No. 2 pick because that means you didnít have a real good year, the season before. Iím not sure what new revelations youíre referring to? There are a lot of great players that will be available at No. 2 and the Rams will get one of them.

Jim Dylla

Thanks for the chats Nick.  Can you do some checking Ram coaches at the combine to see if they are interested in recently released SS Gibril Wilson?

NW: Iím on the case.

Heather Forster

Hi Nick! 

What is your favorite stadium in the NFL?  Also, if I am making only one road trip to see the Rams play this year, what is the best round trip to make - Arizona, San Francisco, Seattle or Jacksonville?

NW: Iím a big fan of Qwest Field in Seattle. Great atmosphere, great press box, great coffee.

I would suggest Arizona or Seattle. Arizona for weather and resort purposes and Seattle for sushi reasons.

Jack Alex

In your opinion, what the percentage you would assign to the Rams choosing one of the following positions with the #2 pick?

OT, LB, CB, QB?

I seriously think it's got to be one of those 4.

NW: OT: 70 percent. LB: 20 percent. Other: 10 percent.

Spencer Z

I have a few questions for you. Any chance the Rams draft Maclin? Will they draft

William Moore to help their secondary? Do you think they will go after Bart Scott?

NW: I think thereís a chance that Maclin is in the mix. Itís a slight chance and maybe theyíd have to move back a few slots to do it but they do like him.

Doubtful that Moore is in the mix unless he falls to the middle rounds.

Scott could be in play. They need a MLB.

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