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Rams at odds on draft consensus

One thing holding the Rams back from starting negotiations with their second overall pick (now that Miami has wrapped it up at #1) is that the front office and coaching staff is divided on who to draft, according to this report at Pro Football Weekly.

Here's how the Rams insiders' draft talk breaks down:

The way we hear it, newly appointed executive V.P. of player personnel Billy Devaney, in his first decision-making role, is leaning toward the safest selection, Chris Long.

However, the coaching staff, especially on defense, is not on board with the selection, according to multiple team sources. The way we hear it, the coaches think Dorsey is the best defensive player in the draft and have made their feelings well known in the draft room. In recent meetings, discussions have become so heated that a prominent member of the coaching staff was asked to leave the room after piping in with his opinion of the less desirable (in his opinion) Long.

Taking a parallel with our discussion of Dorsey versus Long (or Gholston) here at TST, the reporter, Nolan Nawrocki, says that the debate centers on what exactly the defense needs, an end or a tackle. Looming over the discussion is the decision on how to utilize Carriker if the Rams take their second first round DT in as many drafts as well as the ghost of past first round draft picks like Jimmy Kennedy, once believed to be a can't miss kid himself. Without a doubt Carriker's a versatile defender, but I've never felt - and granted I ain't no expert - that he's best suited to be a full time DE. The PFW piece cites an "evaluator" sharing a similar opinion of Carriker:

"The best spot to play Carriker is over the guard. He can move outside on third downs, but he is best at the three-technique position. I don't know how anyone could justify spending the second overall pick on another defensive tackle. If they do, the building is doomed. They will be known for all the defensive tackles they messed up in the 2000s. They should be trying to trade down."

Now, Dorsey's no Jimmy Kennedy; I think that much is relatively clear. But drafting him leaves us with a glaring need at DE that Carriker just doesn't fill, as has been said here before and is a subject of debate among the Rams decision makers as well.

When it comes to reporting, so much depends on your source. The PFW spin is that this is a hotly contested topic, with the potential to drive a wedge between members of the decision making team. Compare that with this post from the PD's Bernie Miklasz:

Devaney is in control... but he's sincerely interested in what the others desire. He isn't running a dictatorship. But coaches won't call the shots on this one if push comes to shove (which it won't; they'll be unified)

That's a far more harmonious picture, and I suspect the differing views have something to do with the sources for each writer. Obviously, Miklasz likely has more regular contact with the Rams. But there's nothing to say that we shouldn't take either report at face value.

The PFW piece also mentions the possibility of a trade, with little new info other than the Saints made a "lowball" offer and they're potentially trying to acquire TE Jeremy Shockey. However, at the end the PFW story brings up the Jackson trade rumor which I have to say is pretty dubious based on reports in the local media and the fact that they cited health concerns and attitude. Yes, there was that little bit of tension between he and Linehan last season, but Jackson's a gamer and young enough that he figures to be the centerpiece of the Rams Al Saunders-led offense for years to come.

Expect more intrigue over the coming days.