Lockout or not, the 2011 NFL Draft is less than three weeks away and fan interest is heating up, after an unexpected dormancy thanks to the negated free agency period. We don't usually get many direct questions here at TST, what with the architecture of the site featuring FanPosts and comments, not to mention Twitter and Facebook. St. Louis Rams fans are an itchy bunch right now, given just how close the team is to finally fielding a winning product after years in the wilderness. I've had a few hit the old e-mail inbox lately (e-mail, who uses that anymore?), so I thought I'd take a run at answering them.
Q: Any chance the Rams would be interested in Marion Barber?
Van: Pass. It seems unlikely that the Cowboys will bring back Barber in 2011, and for good reason. Barber lost the burst he once had as an interior runner. He's clearly declining after years of his bruising style of play.
Q: I've seen some mock drafts that have the Rams picking TE Kyle Rudolph. Is that possible?
Van: Anything is possible, most anything. But this isn't going to happen, even if he is available. I'd be all for grabbing a TE if he could be used to stretch the field, given this year's receiver class, but that's really not Rudolph, though he is good. For one, I don't think he offers anything vastly different from the Rams current group of TEs. Yes, he's better, but for an offensive coordinator who uses TEs as he does, what the Rams have in Hoomanawanui and Fells is sufficient.
Van: Didn't Pouncey already assure the world that he'll be playing in Dallas this year? We actually talked about this, only it was around a mock draft that had the Rams making a deal with Washington for the 10th pick. Trading into the top ten, on the surface, would be pretty expensive, but the asking prices depend more on the players being drafted than the numerical value of the pick alone. Still, it's possible that such a deal could cost the Rams their third round pick, and that would be a deal breaker in my humble opinion.
Q: Do the Rams have to draft a defensive lineman at #14 if Jones isn't there?
Van: Technically, they can draft anyone they want. However, that's where the value is in this draft...it's a little high for an interior offensive lineman, like Pouncey or Watkins...answering another question someone asked. You never know though. Last year, the 49ers took G Mike Iupati with the 17th pick. The Rams have a ton of money tied up in their OL though, so another first round pick just probably isn't in the cards.