St. Louis Rams GM Billy Devaney took some time away from the team's Combine prep to answer questions for fans at the PD. Credit Big Billy; he answered questions and didn't recite talking points, always a plus. Of course, if you're looking for any clues as to what the team is thinking with their first round pick, you're out of luck. However, Devaney did shed some light on a couple of key personnel matters.
Let's start with the safety position, a huge question on the minds of Rams fans after the team's decision to release Oshiomogho Atogwe last week. Darian Stewart hasn't been mentioned much in the wake of Atogwe's release, but Devaney gave him a pretty good endorsement today. The GM:
I thought he showed a lot of promise last year when he was on the field. He's got a lot of upside and we expect him to make a big jump this season.
Spagnuolo has done wonders with defensive backs in recent years. Craig Dahl, another undrafted free agent, may not be the answer at SS, but he's thrived to the best of his abilities under this regime. Bradley Fletcher, a third round pick, played his way into a starting job as a rookie, before injuries derailed his season. This year, he was arguably the team's best corner. It's not all success stories, but Spagnuolo, a former defensive backs coach, and his staff have done a good job coaching up players. So, is Stewart next? Maybe. After all, they were confident enough in Stewart to risk losing Atogwe.
Like Dahl and James Butler, Stewart was signed as an undrafted free agent. In fact, the Rams snapped him up the day after the draft. Stewart played both safety positions at South Carolina, and saw time at strong safety last year. Remember, the Rams under Spags prefer more interchangeable safeties. None of this means Stewart is already ticketed as Atogwe's replacement, but it is a sign that they expect him to play a larger role this season.
Speaking of safeties, Devaney said that the Rams were not bringing in former Colts safety Bob Sanders for a visit. He acknowledged discussing that option and refused to completely rule it out, though.
Sanders isn't the only safety on the free agent market right now, and he won't be the last. Safeties are potentially on the chopping block for several teams.