We got him, my friends, we got him. The man Ram's Nation coveted but had snatched away from them is now on his way to St. Louis. Any indication of what we expected the 2014 Rams to be has been irrevocably altered for the better. What exactly does Gregg Williams bring to the table? He brings an aggressive, nasty defensive scheme that preaches accountability and production. No more vanilla in the 'Lou, well on the defensive side of the ball at least (We'll see about Schotty). I've thrown out everything I thought I knew about this offseason and I'm starting from scratch.
Cortland Finnegan, Jo-Lonn Dunbar and Kendall Langford - The Williams hire buys these guys one more year. All have potential to play at a high level but underwhelmed in Tim Walton's system. Gregg Williams is a guy who knows how to get the best out of his players, he's a true motivator. He doesn't care about contracts. If you don't produce, you sit. Simple as that.
Sam Bradford, Kendall Langford and Cortland Finnegan
Market Free Agents:
N/A - With how tight the Rams are against the cap and how much money the young players will be commanding in a couple years, they don't make many big splashes in 2014. The plethora of picks we've benefitted from since 2012 will require a lot of money in a few years. I'm no financial guru, but I know you can't spend insane amounts of money and expect to never run out (Barack?).
2014 NFL Draft:
Trade #1: St. Louis trades #2 to Cleveland for #4, #35, #99
Trade #2: St. Louis trades #4 to Minnesota for #8, #40
#8.) Khalil Mack - LB - Buffalo - 6'3 248lbs
Clowney is taken #1 overall one way or the other, and it's not to us. Because of Cleveland trading up for Manziel and Minnesota trading up for Bridgewater we sit at #8. Enter Khalil Mack, the most versatile linebacker in the class. Gregg Williams runs a 4-3 that behaves like a 3-4. This means that many times a game a defensive lineman will drop back in pass coverage. Will that be Quinn? Nope. Mack can play at a very high level with his hand in the dirt, off the edge, or in coverage. Perfect Williams scheme-fit.
#13.) Ra'Shede Hageman - DT - Minnesota - 6'6 318lbs
Just because we gave Langford another chance doesn't mean we won't infuse the line with talent. We missed out on the first physical freak lineman in the class but Hageman is a nice consolation prize. An explosive, disruptive interior force, Hageman also has the versatility to play 3-4 defensive end. Barring Clowney, Hageman has the highest ceiling of anyone in this class.
#35.) Keith McGill - CB - Utah - 6'3 214lbs
McGill's stock got a huge bump at the Senior Bowl, and it'll keep rising until he's a borderline first-round pick. A JUCO transfer who switched from safety to corner this year, McGill has the elite size and athleticism reminiscent of Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner. Not a plug and play shutdown corner, but a guy who can become a Pro Bowler under Gregg Williams's tutelage.
#40.) David Yankey - OG - Stanford - 6'5 311lbs
We've got to stray from raw high-ceiling players at some point right? Yankey has the frame to be successful in the NFL but doesn't have elite athleticism. He compares to Larry Warford, the guard coveted by Jeff Fisher last year. Both have extremely high football IQ's and are very good at creating holes in the running game. Yankey is a plug-and-play left guard.
#44.) Deone Bucannon - S - Washington State - 6'1 216lbs
Bucannon was outshone at the Senior Bowl but still showcased great closing speed and a nose for the football. While he can take over center field duties, he still brings the boom in the running game. Great running mate for TJ McDonald.
#75.) Brandon Thomas - OT/OG - Clemson - 6'3 316lbs
Thomas played left tackle at Clemson but is better fit for guard at the next level. His pass protection needs some work but he is a mauler in the running game. Reminds me a lot of former Chiefs guard Brian Waters. Fun Fact: He has 34-1/4 inch arms and 10-5/8 inch hands. That's what the average 6'7 tackle prospect has, and Thomas is 6'3. Wow. Boudreau can turn him into a superstar.
#99.) Pierre Desir - CB - Lindenwood - 6'1 195lbs
A hometown guy, Desir is a better prospect than player at this point. He was a shutdown corner in college, but that was at Lindenwood. He showed flashes of ability at the Senior Bowl but he also exposed some weaknesses, mainly in his technique. Another great, high-cieling player for this draft class.
#106.) Cameron Fleming - OT - Stanford - 6'6 318lbs
A Stanford double-dip in this draft. Fleming is quickly becoming my favorite right tackle prospect, as he wields ideal build and athleticism coupled with flashes of all-pro ability. In the pros, his set needs to get deeper and his hand placement needs to be polished to better hold blocks. Call him a sleeper.
#141.) Spencer Long - OG - Nebraska - 6'4 316lbs
Long was an all-american guard in 2012, but his promising 2013 campaign was cut short by a knee injury at Purdue. That same knee injury will keep him out of the combine and workouts. The 2012 tape tells the tale of a tenacious, savvy guard and a great leader. The Ram's will be willing to take a waiver on him based on what they saw in 2012.
#172.) Timothy Flanders - RB - Sam Houston - 5'9 212lbs
Although Stacy emerged as the starter, Flanders can still step in and compete for a roster spot with Pead and Richardson. I see a lot of Stacy in Flanders, he a smaller, smart back that's a bit on the slow side. Great back-up.
#203.) L'Damian Washington - WR - Missouri - 6'3 195lbs
Washington is very raw, but has potential nonetheless. He probably will never be a starter but could contribute on special teams.
#7.00?.) Tom Savage - QB - Pittsburgh - 6'3 231lbs
Savage is a large, big armed QB that really intrigues me. He can make all the throws but has inconsitent accuracy. His decision making needs improvement but I still think he can be groomed.
QB: Bradford, Clemens, Savage
RB: Stacy, Cunningham, Flanders, Pead/Richardson
WR: Quick, Austin, Bailey, Givens, Pettis, Washington
TE: Cooks, Kendricks
OT: J. Long, Barksdale, Fleming, Saffold (Not accoutning for versatility.)
OG: Yankey, Smith, Thomas, S. Long
DE: Quinn, Long, Sims, Hayes
DT: Brockers, Hageman, Langford, Cudjo
OLB: Ogletree, Mack, Dunbar, Armstrong
MLB: Laurinaitis, Bates
CB: Jenkins, Johnson, Finnegan, McGill, Desir, McGee (In no order)
S: McDonald, Bucannon, McCleod
2014 Schedule Predictions
Arizona - Win
San Francisco - Loss
Seattle - Win
Cowboys - Loss
Vikings - Win
Giants - Win
Raiders - Win
Broncos - Loss
Eagles - Loss
Redskins - Win
Chiefs - Win
Chargers - Win
Buccaneers - Win
San Francisco - Win
Seattle - Loss
Arizona - Win
End: 11-5 (Wild Card behind San Fran or Seattle)