The St. Louis Rams lined up a number of prospect visits during their six days in Indianapolis for the annual NFL Scouting Combine. Cornerbacks, defensive linemen, offensive tackles and one name that stands out as a bit of a surprise: Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles.
Rich Cimini of ESPN New York reported during the Combine that the Rams were one of eight teams to have a formal interview with Bortles. The others included the Bucs, Jaguars, Jets, Raiders, Texans, Titans, and Vikings.
So which of those teams stands out the most? Probably the Rams. Head coach Jeff Fisher and GM Les Snead spent the week publicly endorsing incumbent quarterback Sam Bradford, who enters his fifth season in the NFL and the second-to-last year of his $76 million rookie contract.
The Titans have Jake Locker, who came into the league in 2011, one year after Bradford. Similar to the Rams, the Titans are a team with a starter surrounded by questions marks about his health and play, but who has also been publicly endorsed by the coaching staff.
Now, before you get your knickers in a knot and jump headlong into the comments, read this next sentence: A team with the second pick in the draft is going to do its due diligence on a lot of players, even players they have no intention of drafting. Smart general managers need to know about the player available at the top of the draft, in case another team wants to trade up.
Teams are allowed a limited number of formal interviews with players at the Combine, so it is a little curious that the Rams would use one of those on Bortles and not the other two quarterbacks considered top-five picks (Manziel and Bridgewater). Or, they could have met with those two players as well, and it's just not been reported.
It's spring time in the NFL, and that means smokescreens and subterfuge. Get ready for lots more of it.