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Tackles, Tackles and More Tackles

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You know you're in need of some clearly football related activities when Pacman Jones and Michael Vick's PETA membership dominate NFL headlines, and with the Cardinals doing there best Cleveland Browns impression, this weekend's rookie minicamp was just what the doctor ordered for Rams fans...all twelve of us.

The Keith Jackson Jr. pick really intrigues me. Obviously, he's got the pro pedigree and cutting your teeth as a DT in the smash mouth SEC (alert, I'm really biased toward the SEC) would sure seem to imply that the 6' 305 pounder has a future. From the puff piece in the Post-Dispatch, work ethic doesn't sound like it will be much of problem for KJJ, but what impressed me most was the fact that he was mentored to some extent by none other than the Great Reggie White.

"Uncle Reg, he always used to tell me that defensive line was my position," Jackson said. "I was real close to Reggie. He always helped me out, before he passed away. ... He helped me with the club move -- his favorite move -- and things like that."

I'm wondering - and this could be nothing more than unknowing idealism - if the KJJ and Clifton Ryan picks won't wind up giving the Rams some solid depth at the DT position, ready to step in the season after with Kennedy having moved on down the line. Actually, in reading the draft profiles for each DT again and again since the draft, I'm kind of struck by how similar they are. Both the former Razorback and the Michigan State product are explosive off the snap, both have good motors and an unquestioned work ethic, and according to Sports Illustrated both linemen offer "possibilities" and "can be used as a three-technique lineman." The biggest question mark for both linemen is their size and the possibility to be controlled by a single blocker at the NFL level.

The two second day D-line picks echo the Rams' theme of safe picks throughout the draft. The Rams avoided the "high risk/high reward" types in favor of guys who look like they can be solid, if slightly unspectacular quality players. If things Ryan and KJJ stick, this draft may be best remembered as the one that gave the Rams depth over anything else, and that may be just as good as signing or trading for a marquee level talent, a la Jenkins. It also bodes well for the future.