The Combine rolls on, and yesterday, as you can tell, was filled with headlines: Crabtree's foot, Andre Smith's AWOL, and more. Here's a round up of Saturday's happenings sure to be of interest to us long-suffering, newly hopeful Rams fans.
If Crabtree's draft status falls just a little bit because of the stress fracture in his foot (and it might not, since he's going to work out at 3/26 Texas Tech pro day), could that boost Wake Forest LB Aaron Curry's draft position? Curry is already seen as top five pick, and did nothing but ingratiate to NFL teams in his interview yesterday. The issue for the Rams is that Curry's an outside LB. However, he went out of his way to stress his versatility yesterday, telling media and team officials that he could play all three LB positions in a 4-3 defense, even though he has just a handful of practices in the middle. The Detroit media spent a lot of time discussing Curry yesterday, and one person they talked to was Lions new head coach (and masochist) Jim Schwartz, who said this about Curry's versatility:
He played (on the strong side), but it was interesting at Wake, he played an on-the-ball (strong-side) linebacker, which not many people play anymore. You have to be really strong to be able to do that...
But they put him out in space, almost like a nickel back. Those are two almost sort of mutually exclusive skill sets. The fact that they had trusted him to do both, that spoke a lot about him.
At 6'1" 254 lbs, it's not like Curry doesn't have the body-type to play middle linebacker. With a guy like combined with Chris Long, the Rams would have a great defensive foundation for years to come.
Ok, let's talk about the other big position of need for the Rams: OT. The big OT news from yesterday turned out to be Alabama's Andre Smith going AWOL, confirming that he is indeed a bonehead. Obviously, a guy's decision to leave without telling anyone doesn't mean that he can't play tackle, but it does raise red flags about his judgement. Here's what SI.com's Don Banks had to say about Andre Smith:
Sources later said Smith's interviews with teams have been going horribly. He's been inappropriately dressed and has been giving a number of conflicting statements as to why he was choosing not to workout at the combine. Several offensive line coaches have already suggested Smith be removed from their team's draft board and there's no doubt his draft stock is falling.
Jason Smith, Eugene Monroe and Michael Oher should send him a thank you card. Jason Smith did 33 reps on the bench press yesterday, and his 5.22 run on the 40 was tops among the top four OTs, same with his bench. Later round OT prospects Phil Loadholt from Oklahoma and UConn's William Beatty improved their draft stock with good performances yesterday too. Beatty is considered a rising talent even after starting 4 years, and ranks as one of the better pass blockers in the draft. The moral of the story: if the Rams draft Curry (or someone other than an OT) with the second pick, they could still get a solid OT with their second round pick...maybe.