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Rams and Cowboys looking to swap disappointing first round picks

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[Note by VanRam, 05/06/10 9:26 PM EDT ] It's now officially official, set to happen on Monday. Barron has to sign his RFA offer and I suspect physicals still have to be completed.

The St. Louis Rams made it known at the beginning of the free agent season that OT Alex Barron was available for trade. There were no takers, even during a draft that featured trade after trade. That might be changing now as word is that the Rams will send Barron to the Cowboys in exchange for LB Bobby Carpenter, a disappointing first round pick himself.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, it's all but a done deal. He said today:

Trade in works filed to ESPN: Cowboys preparing to trade LB Bobby Carpenter to Rams for OT Alex Barron. Not official yet but going that way.

The 'Boys would be looking to Barron as a replacement for Flozell Adams. Carpenter, 26, could be a nice fit for a Rams defense that could use a capable pass defender among their outside linebackers. Of course, which one is the bigger bust for which team?

Barron, for all the disappointment he's brought, has been reliable, even league average, except for those bloody penalties. Carpenter has been marginalized to a situational role in pass defense. He's partly an odd man out in the Cowboys 3-4 defense too.

To some, it looks like Dallas is getting the better deal, but the Rams coaching staff has a solid track record of maximizing the full potential of their linebackers (and other defensive players as well). Exhibit A: David Vobora. They've also seen Carpenter given their experience in the NFC East.

Fans of analogy ought to like this trade. Not only is a swap of two first round disappointments, Carpenter is now seen as unnecessary thanks to the Cowboys selection of LB Sean Lee in the second round of this year's draft. Barron is seen as expendable after the Rams drafted Roger Saffold in the second round this year. Far out.

Here's more from Dallas Morning News about Carpenter:

He was credited by the coaches with 48 tackles, two sacks, one tackle for loss, four quarterback pressures and a pass deflection last season. He did solidly against tight ends last season in pass defense, but many believe he will be a better fit as an outside linebacker in a 4-3 scheme, which the Rams run.

On the surface, it seems like a wise move for the Rams. They deal from a position of strength, OT, and get a former first round pick whose still young enough to develop into a useful role. Worst case scenario: the Rams get a situational nickel linebacker to help them with tight ends.

Here's a scouting report from Dave at Blogging the Boys, SBN's Cowboys site:

Drafted in the first round, Bobby Carpenter has never found his niche with Dallas. From the start, he was shuttled between OLB and ILB in the Cowboys 3-4 defense, and neither position truly worked for him. He's not strong enough to battle with linemen, and doesn't have the athletic ability to shed a block and still get to the hole. His best use is out in space, and there was a moment for a few games when he flashed some playmaking ability, but he could never sustain it.

His best contributions have been on special teams, and last season he was acting as the nickel ILB that we used for pass coverage. He was more miss than hit in coverage, TEs were able to take advantage. Plainly spoken, the guy's been a bust with us. What has been said about Carpenter is that a 3-4 defense doesn't suit his skills at all. Maybe as an OLB in a 4-3 he could contribute.