Yes, this is reactionary. Yes, this is full of praise for our FO. Yes, I like our draft picks. No, I'm no expert. No, I do not absolutely love these picks. No, screw the intensive draftniking research this is my opinion.
After exploring the draft results a little on TST, it seems to me that the general consensus is dissatisfaction. While I agree that the picks are utterly shocking, that doesn't have to breed hate. I think that psychologically, the main reason that we are so against the draft so far is that each of us went into the draft with an idea in our heads of exactly what we want, and then when all of our dream picks did not come true we found ourselves dissatisfied. Sorry guys, as much as I'd love it, we can't have a draft of: Jones, Quinn, Austin, Carter, Jarret, Sands, Foster, McClain, Hunter, LeShoure. Why?
- The draft boards that we make in our heads are worth nil. The Rams FO has a draft board and for the most part they are sticking to it.
- Our arm-chair analyses are mostly based on the arm-chair analyses of other people and a few Youtube clips. The FO was all over the place drilling these players and seeing what they could do in real life. Obviously they saw something that we needed.
- Other teams want the same players that we want cause they're good, duh.
- We have a system in place. We can't take our favorite college player and just insert it into the system and expect Spags to work to our whim, he and Josh McDaniels know what they're doing. Josh is running a 2 TE system that made Tom Brady an MVP last year. Spags is solidifying the pass rush and doing what he did in New York, coaching up a secondary to play our system without relying on one player.
After all has been said, I'm honestly happy that the team is starting to take some shots. I think that the push to build a formidable offense is more gutsy drafting than we've ever seen in the Rams' St. Louis tenure. Instead of calling us down and out before: free agency, 3 more draft picks, undrafted free agents, training camp; I'm going to put my faith in the dice until they prove me wrong. Now, I'm calling this a gamble now, but obviously if we draft 3 more tight ends, that's stupidity. But how I see the rest of our draft shaping up is: Safety, Running Back, Guard Now, lets take a look at how each player will help us.
1st - Robert Quinn Best pass rusher in the draft. Need I say more? Probably not, but there are those stubborn scrooges. Robert Quinn is all about speed and hand moves. 260 lbs is big but no overwhelming so there's probably little chance of him being moved inside to play tackle. (Adam Carriker...) However, don't rule out some creative line packages by Spags. We even saw the smaller George Selvie play (and I should mention succeed) on the inside of the line occasionally with Hall and Long outside still. When discussing our DE choice, Hall is usually the main topic of discussion because he is who the draft pick is most likely replacing. However, Long is really the key to why Quinn is such a good pick. More specifically, the Long-Quinn tandem. Quinn's skill set is what Long lacks, elite speed, explosiveness, nastiness. Long on the other hand, is a GREAT right end. He's got power, smarts, leg drive, motor, and balance. On the right side of the line, Long keeps contain and can maintain his position, constantly putting a pressure on the QB. Quinn, on the other side of the line, is the finisher, the man who will get the sacks. My favorite aspect of watching Quinn's highlights is his explosiveness. For most people, that word is thrown around without much translation that's easily visible. For Quinn, what I see, is engaging a block and then suddenly turning on the speed to explode around and sack the QB. Lastly, the surgically removed benign brain tumor is not going to come back with a gun and kill the man. Lets let the team doctors be doctors and the fans be fans.
2nd - Lawrence Kendricks SURPRISE! Everyone felt it, and we all probably reacted badly at first. Honestly, I was hoping for us to pick Austin so that the entire UNC line that dominated the ACC would eventually be our line. However, after a few hours of contemplation and after seeing our Pettis pick, Kendricks makes sense. McDaniels is building his offense. Bring in a new offensive coordinator, bring in new offensive players. Obviously we will be implementing a new scheme and based on New England's success, McDaniels is probably looking to add a 2TE component to his "amoeba" offense. We all saw what the Patriots did with Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski last year. With Hoomanawanui and Kendricks, we have a much more talented duo and should be able to produce, in my opinion, at least the same results. Kendricks is the fastest tight end in this draft and as good of as pass catcher as any of our WR's save Danny. Kendricks brings the speed in a TE that can break away from those sneaky intermediate passes that explode after one good block. Also, multiple tight ends keep rushing 3-4 linebackers occupied. What teams have 2 great pass coverage LB's? There's got to be a mismatch somewhere. Sorry Fendi, we need football players, not basketball players. Though it'd be fun to see Shaq play offensive tackle. Lastly, he's from WISCONSIN! His blocking can't be too bad.
3rd - Austin Pettis Honestly, Pettis was the best WR on the board still. If we are talking risk/reward, Pettis is the much safer choice over Hankerson, who plays out to be a very risky choice imo. Based on the drafting after this point, Pettis most likely would have been gone had we not taken him here too. Pettis is the hands man. While obviously they aren't the same caliber of a prospect, Pettis reminds me of Calvin Johnson the way that he jumps and uses his body/hands. He isn't nearly as fast as Johnson, speed and separation is probably Pettis' biggest weakness, but for a jump ball, he has similarities. Standing at 6'3, he's taller than most of our diminutive WR corps. He will be a major red zone threat and a reliable pass catcher. Reliable hands is something that we've cried about over and over, and this is the answer. He will be that big guy to make circus catches like Danny but not get bullied around in the traffic.
Imagine An offense with Avery developing into a successful burner. Alexander making strides towards his #1 potential. And the massive bodies of Jackson, Hoomanawanui, Pettis, and Kendricks running around in the red zone. Personally, I like it.