St. Louis Rams Draft Bits: A Few Last Minute Points

Steven Gerwel@Steve_GerFeatured Columnist IVApril 28, 2011

St. Louis Rams Draft Bits: A Few Last Minute Points

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    NEW YORK - APRIL 22:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell looks on as he stands on stage during the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 22, 2010 in New York City.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
    Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

    The draft is set to begin in just under two and a half hours, so let's take a look at a few more points before we get the show started. 

    Let's look discuss

    1) How the fans will behave at the draft (considering there is a lockout).

    2) How will 'safety' play a role in the Rams' draft plan?

    3) What strategy will the Rams deploy in the later rounds?

    4) Who are some late round options? 

How Will Radio City Respond to the 'Commish'?

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    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 19: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (L) and NFL owner Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys arrive for court-ordered mediation at the U.S. Courthouse on April 19, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Mediation was ordered after a hearing on
    Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

    Being the the Commissioner of the NFL is a very prestigious gig in the world of sports; but being the face of the league in this day and age comes with a downside. As we all know, the owners and players are squabbling over how to split the billions of dollars in revenue amongst each other, and since Commissioner Roger Goodell is the face that represents the league, that means he's the guy representing the work stoppage. He's not the primary culprit, but taking heat for problems with the league is unfortunately part of his job. 

    Neither the players, owners or the executives of the NFL have been put in front of a stage of fans since the start of the lockout, so tonight's draft will give the fans their first chance to express their displeasure on a personal face-to-face level.

    The draft will take place at the Radio City Music Hall in New York, and New York is not exactly known for their mild manor fans. It is almost a guarantee that Goodell will be enthusiastically "boo'd" as he steps up the the podium to declare the draft "open", and this writer predicts that he will hear hate from the fans every single time he steps on stage, for all 32 picks in the first round.

Losing Atogwe Was a Mistake

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    ST. LOUIS, MO - DECEMBER 26: Oshiomogho Atogwe #21 of the St. Louis Rams returns an interception against Michael Crabtree #15 of the San Francisco 49ers at the Edward Jones Dome on December 26, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Rams beat the 49ers 25-17. (
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    The Rams were already entering the current off-season with plenty of needs to fulfill on both sides of the ball. So when they decided to play contract games with safety O.J. Atogwe, which led to him signing a five year contract with the Redskins, it created a major hole.

    I realize that Atogwe would've been overpaid. But who cares how much other teams are paying their safeties? The Rams should worry about their own situation. What else do they need the money for? All of those free agents available? Oh, wait...

    Now there are zero starting caliber safeties on the team. They will likely use a draft pick on one, a draft pick that could've gone towards filling another need. But hey, at least Stan Kroenke saved a buck!

    I'm predicting that the Rams will avoid investing an early pick towards a safety. Look for them to take a late round project, such as Jeron Johnson (Boise State) or Deunta Williams (North Carolina).

Doubling the Odds

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    ST. LOUIS - NOVEMBER 21: Michael Hoomanawanui #86 of the St. Louis Rams hauls in a touchdown pass against the Atlanta Falcons at the Edward Jones Dome on November 21, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Falcons beat the Rams 34-17.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwana
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Last year we witnessed the Rams perform a unique strategy. Throughout the later rounds they picked multiple players at the same position, hoping that it would increase their chances of finding a starter at the position. They executed that strategy with both tight end and defensive end.

    They drafted tight end Mike Hoomanawanui in the 5th round, as well as Fendi Onobun in the 6th round. And for defensive end, they grabbed Hall Davis in the 5th, Eugene Sims in the 6th, and George Selvie in the 7th.

    Hoomanawanui will likely be the Rams top tight end next season, assuming he can stay healthy, and Selvie will likely be a regular contributor on defense. Sims also has a shot at getting significant playing time.

    So will they deploy that same strategy this year? If so, at what positions?

    Some possible options are guard, running back, safety, as well as outside linebacker.

Late Rounds Options?

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    LINCOLN, NE - NOVEMBER 13: Roy Helu Jr. #10 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers runs for the endzone the Kansas Jayhawks during their game at Memorial Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska Defeated Kansas 20-3. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty I
    Eric Francis/Getty Images

    Roy Helu Jr. RB Nebraska: The Rams have been trying to draft a back-up running back to Steven Jackson for several years now, and every year they seem to forget about it. If they are in a situation where a running back isn't an option in the first four rounds, then they might decide to take a chance on a late round running back.

    Helu has size and speed, but does not excel at any aspect of the game, and he has struggled with fumbles his entire college career.

    Jeron Johson S Boise State: Safety is now a major need for the Rams. This year's draft is not a particularly strong year for safeties, so they might avoid picking one early on. However, they might decide to invest a late round pick on a developmental project.

    Johnson has good speed, and will be able to keep up with receivers, but he is undersized and is lacking the natural athletic ability that it takes to succeed in the NFL.

    Tim Barnes C Missouri: The Rams have very little interior offensive line depth. There is a chance that they will look for a starting guard early on (Stefen Wisniewski, John Moffitt), but even if they do take a guard early on, they still could draft another one late in the draft to develop their depth at the position.