It seems that everyone has gotten so caught up with the most popular players in the draft, the Tavon Austin's, Kenny Vaccaro's, and Eddie Lacy's of the world, that not one person has thought to mention the diamonds of the world. those guys that get overlooked during the draft and goes undrafted. Now this happens for various reasons including, injury, character, level of competition, and some guys just don't get the recognition and respect they deserve. Well I'm here to end that now. I've compiled a list of some possible free agent targets. These are players that I think fit the mode of what the rams are building. Remember just because you're a high draft pick doesn't mean you will pan out (i.e. Jason Smith, Alex Barron, Adam Carriker, etc..). The league has been dominated by undrafted guys in recent yrs having over 50 pro bowl selections the last five years. Don't forget a little guy they call Amendola was not drafted, and was probably on his last leg when we scooped him up off the street, being his 3rd team in 16 months.
Rookie Free Agent Targets
There is no way the rams enter camp with only two QBs on the roster. Jeff Fisher seems pretty sold on Austin Davis, and who could blame him after the way he performed last pre-season, so an expensive veteran is less likely. But an inexpensive, $5,000, undrafted rookie is do-able. Expect to see the rams sign two QBs for camp between now and July.
-Colby Cameron Louisiana Tech; Cameron actually reminds me a bit of Davis, with their mobility, toughness, and and size (6’2" 212lbs). But Cameron has a slightly stronger arm and better decision making skills (set a NCAA record for pass attempts without an int, 444). He could go in the 6-7 rds, but it is a pretty good chance he goes undrafted. He could ultimately become one of the NFLs better back-ups.
-Jeff Tuel Washington State; Tuel is another deceptively mobile QB, but arm strength is severely lacking. But he makes up for it with pin point accurate throws, and good football intelligence. He also has above average picket awareness.
Jeff Tuel College Career Highlights (via keokie10)
-Tino Sunseri Pittsburgh; Sunseri is not the biggest guy around but man can he sling it. He has smarts, accuracy, decent arm strength, and pretty good pocket awareness. He just doesn’t have the height or the wins to be drafted, but he could be a guy to keep an eye on. Drew Brees is a big time comparison for a guy that I am predicting to go undrafted but it’s really the best one for him.
Jeff Fisher says he wants a big back, but has Terrance Ganaway on the roster. He says he has all this faith in Isaiah Pead but starts setting up visits with all the drafts top backs. I think the only back who has earned his trust is Daryl Richardson. I am expecting Ganaway and Chase Reynolds to be gone by the time camp is over, especially since I believe the rams will draft one RB, then sign two more. If pead wasn’t such a high draft pick he might be gone as well.
-George Winn Cincinnati; wouldn’t it be something if Pead got replaced by his old understudy from Cincy. Man, that could and would probably just piss him all the way off. Well, if he doesn’t step up that could happen. Winn is a much more decisive runner, and while Pead’s indecisiveness paid divendends in college, it’s the formers style that works best in the big league.
George Winn Highlights (via Cincinnati Bearcats)
-Mike James Miami; James has all the physical tools, but not the production. I question whether this is his fault or the fact that Miami sucks, or a mixture of both, I just can’t tell. With his size and skill set, he will be one of the most sought after names after the draft.
-Michael Hill Missouri Western; Hill hails from the same stomping grounds as kicker Greg Zuerline, and former ram (current buc) Roger Allen. The division two prospect is arguably a top 5 sleeper prospect for this draft. He is being viewed as a 7-FA guy, due to late recognition from lower level play (DII), but make no mistakes about it, this kid is the real deal. He has everything you want in a back except for the 4.4 speed or better. He has elite RB strength, quickness, blocking, catching, burst, vision, patience, lateral agility (a jump cut reminiscent of SJ39 early yrs). He has a deadly stiff arm and lots of trucking power. He accelerates very fast, but has extremely average top end speed (4.59-4.62). He also led the country in yds regardless of division (DI, DII, DIII, NAIA) with 2169.
Michael Hill (RB MWSU) Highlight video (via Ryan Menley)
-Ronnie Wingo Jr. Arkansas; I have heard a few people on numerous occasions compare Le’Veon Bell to SJ39. This is crazy when you consider outside of their identical height/weight coming out of college, they have nothing in common as prospects. But Wingo (a STL native), has the measurables, and skill set. He runs in the 4.4s, can catch extremely well, powerful, agile, accelerates, he is pretty darn good. But questions remain about why his role continued to shrink every year, even though he dominated with every opportunity.
-Derrick Washington Missouri/Tuskegee; Washington was uber productive while at Missouri. Until a rape charge caused his dismissal from the team. But there is no question the talent is there. Outside of the charge, he has walked a pretty straight line, and even straighter since being dismissed. Can you think of a better coach to give him his shot? I can’t.
2012 Harlon Hill Trophy Finalist: Derrick Washington of Tuskegee University (via SIACSPORTS)
Even though we drafted two last year and will probably draft two this year, I expect about 2-3 more signings. Between RB and WR there is no position group the rams have shown more interest in, meaning they are looking to do whatever it takes to make this offense more explosive. That means, diamonds will be searched for post draft as well as mid-late rds.
-Erik Highsmith North Carolina; Highsmith has a lot to work with. This guy has some major talent. So you have to question his effort and love for the game to be coming from a top program with his talent and still go undrafted. Talent wise he is probably a late second early third. Production and effort this is a late June last min addition.
-Emory Blake Auburn; If not for poor QB play and just a bad team all around Blake would probably be a 4th rd lock. But he will make someone’s 53. You all mark my words on this. That is all I am going to say about him.
Emory Blake vs Georgia (via Aaron Aloysius)
-La’Rod King Kentucky; King is a big body possession guy. He has the potential to be a major redzone threat. But there is no question he is a chain mover, and those never hurt, because you can’t win the game without converting third down.
-Tyler Shaw Northwest Missouri; this kid is fast. I mean real fast. He is a 60 yd screen to the house kind of guy, but that’s also his biggest weakness. He can catch the easy ones like screens, but loses focus on more contested throws.
-Duron Carter Florida Atlantic; much like his father, 2013 HOF inductee Chris Carter, there isn’t a pass this kid can’t catch. His hand eye coordination is truly comparable to an all-time great that we know as Chris, and he knows as dad. He runs great routes, has good focus, agility, YAC ability, he has it all, physically. But mentally the guy is missing a few screws. For starters the fact that he entered the draft tells you that much. How do you enter the draft and have yet to play a full season of college football from continuously being removed from your team’s rosters? Coming out of high school, he was one of the most sought out players, not just WR, in the country. He signed with Ohio State but ended up in juco. Then suigned with Alabama, but ended up at FAU. He can’t seem to stay out of trouble. He might be saying, "hey, I’m a really talented guy they have to bring me in, not to mention my ‘DADS’ success". I hope the light comes on for this kid, because he could be a difference maker who won’t need daddy’s legacy after building his own. He just needs to realize before it’s too late.
Duron Carter WR (via Ronald Lyons)
A late addition here:
"Chad Bumphus Slot WR from MS. St. Very good hands and excellent YAC. Has nice knack for finding the open area and settling there, would remind you of Ryan Swope that way, but not as fast. Also a little on the small side—maybe 5’10 and 190."
Yes I know the rams just signed Jared Cook, and still have Lance Kendricks, who is coming off of his best season, and has become a devastating blocker, but would one more TE really hurt? Especially when you consider the chance risky Cook doesn’t pan out. To groom a really cheap guy who could bring depth and special teams play sounds pretty smart to me.
-Ryan Griffin Connecticut; is a very big, reliable, great effort, pass catching, TE. That pretty much sums him up. He is 6’6" 260lbs, with above average athleticism. Could be one of those diamonds I mentioned earlier.
Ryan Griffin 74 YD TD Catch (via Jared Nuss)
Luke Wilson Rice; Wilson is a dangerous athlete. At 6’6" 250lbs he will shock virtually any and everyone with his 4.46 40, 38" vert, and 10’2 broad jump. Through 4 seasons he made the most of his opportunities (78/986/9 for career) while playing second fiddle to Vance McDonald. So his numbers actually do translate to the field, just didn’t get enough balls thrown his way.
Levine Toilolo Stanford; I contemplated adding him to this list because his stock is all over the place. I’ve seen anywhere from the 4th-FA. I doubt he goes in the 4th, but the 6th is a possibility. But so is going undrafted. Toilolo is an absolute mammoth. At 6’8" 260lbs, he is an instant 53 man guy, just for his redzone presence alone. He has big strong hands, runs hard after the catch, deceptive athletic ability for his size, and a good blocker. But inconsistencies, and a poor showing at the combine for a college second string TE can and most likely will knock him out of the draft entirely.
Levine Toilolo - TE - Stanford (via XOSSports)
Paul Boudreau has proven over and over through-out his career he can work with anything on the O-line. Give him bodies and watch him work. His best work didn’t even come last year, it was when we had our last decent o-line in the 2006-2007 season. I don’t know how many of you knew this, but he was on the rams staff that year. Everywhere he goes, he finds small talent, and 2-3 years later someone is signing a big contract.
-Elvis Fisher Missouri; Fisher has insane talent at the tackle position but just doesn’t have insane good health. Having trouble with staying on the field the last 2 years have sapped his draft status. Get him back healthy and you just got a second round talent for free.
-John Sullen Auburn; another mammoth of a man (6’6" 335lbs) he is a mauling guard who needs serious help with pass protection. But man does Fisher love guards that open holes.
Graham Pocic Illinois; Pocic can be either a G/C. He played C but his size (6’6" 315lbs) and extra aggressive style of play screams G. He is one of the more underrated prospects in this draft.
Expect the rams to bring in at least one player for every position after the draft as they continue to build a more potent offense. It will not end with the draft, talent is everywhere, just have to open your eyes. Thanks again for reading everyone. Stay tuned for part two, DEFENSE. Much like my last post I broke this one up into two parts.Hope you enjoyed, looking forward to the comments and thoughts.