St. Louis Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo and his staff went back to work this week getting ready for the NFL Scouting Combine which starts next Thursday, Feb. 24 in Indianapolis (TST will also be at the Combine). Scouts and front office personnel doubtlessly had an early version of the draft board prior to hiring Josh McDaniels. I suspect the new offensive coordinator is reworking it a little bit.
One other bit of outstanding business the Rams have is finding a new quarterbacks coach to replace Dick Curl, who is retiring. There's been speculation that McDaniels might hire his brother Ben or just do the job himself.
Which players the Rams will be most interested in remains to be seen. If you hew religiously to the mock drafts, then all they really need to worry about it checking out Alabama WR Julio Jones. But you and I know better than that. There are lots of possibilities for the first round, not to mention the other six rounds they'll be scrutinizing prospects for. Jones might very well be off the board when the Rams pick at #14. If that's the case, don't be surprised to see them try to land a defensive lineman in a first round rich with talented prospects, particularly at DE.
One name that's starting to get plenty of hype on the interwebs is Missouri DE Aldon Smith. TST regulars already know Smith's name since it's been dropped here and there on the site and on Turf Show Radio. Smith gets the 3k stamp of approval. He also got big love from Wes Bunting today at the National Football Post. Bunting wonders if Smith won't practice himself into the top ten picks with a solid Combine next week.
Bunting compares Smith to Justin Tuck, someone Spagnuolo should be familiar with, in this post at the NFP today. The Tuck comparison comes from Smith's impressive ability as pass rushers on the edge and his ability to burst through gaps on the inside. Spags is known for using ends and tackles interchangeably to get the right matchup and keep offensive linemen guessing.