Rams Go Long: TST Draft, Round One Review,

I have to admit, I was a little surprised at the results. I think we all see about four guys that we could argue should be the second overall pick in the draft. Only a few voted for a pick without hedging. That's understandable. The Rams essentially can have anyone they want, minus whoever Miami wants. And with so many needs and the exciting possibility to have a franchise cornerstone, it's hard to nail down just who we'd like to take, in mid-March too. Here's a link to the voting/discussion from earlier in the week.

Chris Long, DE, Virginia
Howie's son had the most votes, three. It's worth noting though, that nobody exactly gushed over Chris Long. He's a safe pick that fills a need. Option 27 summed up the case for C. Long:

I honestly feel Chris Long is one of the few immediate impact players in this draft.
Long's speed off the edge is the main knock against him, albeit a trifling one, and I think that's led some of us to wonder about his ability to be the pass rushing DE the Rams need as the defense switches to a 3-4 this season. The more I read about him, though, the more I think that may be an exaggerated concern. He's a smart player who reads plays well, and I think he can use that to get around OTs well to collapse the pocket and push for the sack. When he's tying up the o-line, speedsters Witherspoon and Little can zoom in for the sack. His NFL.com profile compares him to Green Bay DE Aaron Kampman, a similar sized and skilled player who has racked up 27.5 sacks in his last two seasons.

Vernon Gholston, DE, Ohio State
I figure I better start using Ohio State instead of OSU, so as not to confuse the Oklahoma State-inclined readers out there, and with Oklahoma State, I use the term "readers" loosely. Just kidding. It seems like the people that like Gholston REALLY like him, even though he didn't garner as many votes as Chris Long. In fact, I was really surprised at the number of Chris Long voters who mentioned trading down to the 6th or 7th picks and taking Gholston. We can certainly say that our little community is intrigued by the possibilities Gholston brings.

From jroman: "Gholston could become something special."
Rammertime focuses on the playmaking ability: "The Rams need a playmaker, not simply "a good player" that I think Chris Long will turn out to be."

Gholston, from what the pundits say, has yet to hit his ceiling. That also means he could experience some growing pains in his first year in the league. Is that really a bad thing? No question about it, he has the ability to make the pass rush something special, and after watching what the Giants did to Tom Brady and the Patriots in the Super Bowl, there's something to be said for that. Something else about VG, is his ability to drop back into coverage, making the middle of the field a dangerous place to throw a ball. Not to pour on the sticky sweet hyperbole, but this is what NFL.com says about him: "He is still a raw talent that gets by on his athletic ability, but in a few years, with patient coaching and more experience, he has the potential to change the game, much like Abraham, Dwight Freeney (Indianapolis) and Jason Taylor (Miami) have done playing in that role."

Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU
I was a little surprised to see Dorsey get two votes, but I'll let AmpLee explain why he certainly still deserves consideration:

It's amazing how blown out of proportion good (40yd times) and bad (previous injuries) factiods on a player have become when the draft rolls around.  Go back through every article and mock draft during last year's college season and tell me when Dorsey wasn't considered the most special player in the draft.  Tell me who was THE best player in THE most important game of the college season.  When he won every conceivable defensive player award last year did his fibula act up?

Tough to argue with that. I'm not keen on Dorsey because I don't think he's a good fit for NT if the Rams primarily feature a 3-4 defense. He would make for an imposing run defense and collapse the pocket well, but good DTs for that role can be had in the later rounds: see Ryan, Clifton.

Trade Down
Trading down to the 6th or 7th pick got as many votes as anybody, and there's certainly a case to be made for such a move, especially if the Rams could bring in an established player in such a trade. Right now, it just doesn't seem like that's going to happen, as far as we know. Gholston fans, I just don't know if he'll be there with the 6th or 7th pick.

I was a little shocked there weren't any takers for Jake Long, OT, Michigan. He might have to play guard his first season in STL, pending an injury to Barron or Pace, but it's not a stretch at all to see Long making the kind of impact Joe Thomas did for the Browns last season. Hell, Joe Thomas' presence has been enough for the long-suffering Cleveland franchise to scrap its future by dealing away all their first round picks and signing every free agent with two working legs.

It's a good draft for offensive tackles though, so grabbing one in the second round (or later) is a real possibility. Still, putting together a young, outstanding defensive line with the second overall pick is sure hard to pass up, and I think that would give the Rams a foundation to be competitive no matter how the offense performs...well, to an extent anyway. The second round might also be a good place to get a wide receiver, an understudy to Torry Holt, or a cornerback, or...ok, let's save the second round talk until tomorrow.

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