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Is the Rams draft preference getting clearer?

So the Phins are talking contract with Jake Long and Vernon Gholston too it turns out, both prospects of high interest to the Rams with their second overall pick in the draft.

According to this morning's Post-Dispatch, the Dolphins talking to Jake Long is of some concern to the Rams as there is "increasing speculation" that the Rams have Jake Long atop their draft board.

Essentially, the Dolphins are taking advantage of their situation atop the draft and exploring the potential deals that it would take to sign their top pick (lest they repeat the ugly JaMarcus Russell saga in Oakland last summer) and have him in uniform at the start of training camp. It's not an unconventional move, and this story in the Palm Beach Post cites a recent example:

But Houston also held contract talks with running back Reggie Bush, who ended up going to the New Orleans Saints with the No. 2 pick. Bush, who would have demanded more guaranteed money than Williams, missed three days of training camp during a holdout that included a threat to sit out the season.

The Dolphins are being smart and covering their bases. There is, however, sound speculation that Parcells and Co could well draft Jake Long. Their new head coach, Tony Sparano, is after all a former o-line coach. Also factoring into this speculation is the fact that the Dolphins have a talented running back in Ronnie Brown, who, had he been healthy, would surely have helped them net another win or two. Adding an NFL-ready tackle would instantly make them a better team, duh.

Of course, don't discount the possibility of Parcells using these negotiations as a psyche out tool too.

So, if the Rams really do have their eyes fixed on Jake Long as their first overall pick, that might offer us some insight into their draft plans. The Rams like Gholston, but won't take him with the second overall pick, if the obfuscation of predraft talk is to be believed. They could still get a speedy pass rusher, "endbacker" type player in the second round with Auburn's Quentin Groves, a sort of Gholston consolation prize that would be an obvious boost to the Rams d-line.

There's no bloody way to know if that's the plan. There's so much speculation and so little information this time of year, that the average high school girl's guess is as apt to be spot on as Mel Kipper's. The "Long in round one, Groves in round two" plan would certainly fit the Rams stated desires for the draft to address essential needs on both the offensive and defensive lines. Round three would then likely be a wide receiver.

Again, take it all with a grain of salt. The second overall pick is a little easier to guess at, all things being relative, but it's a free for all as they move through the draft.  

Stay tuned for more draft talk today.