So today, I dropped my newest edition of the Prospect Playbook, looking at the 2009 Meineke Car Care Bowl played between UNC and Pittsburgh. There's a ton of NFL talent on display in that game, and it's worth looking at some of the more notable prospects and how they could fit on the Rams.
I'm just going to roll through the list alphabetically and drop my own personal notes. Y'all can take the conversation from there, and hopefully we'll get something out of it besides "You're dumb," or "You and Matt Millen are in tied for first in everything wrong and bad."
Names and games after the jump.
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First Last, position (MTD report if available, my projection of round drafted)
Marvin Austin, DT (report, 1st-2nd)
Character issues aplenty, but that never stops teams after the first ten picks. You don't find his athleticism combined with his bulk often. I don't see him in play for the Rams in the first round, but if he falls to us at 47, it's all about les quatre piliers. If the FO is willing to take a guy with first-round talent coupled with fifth-round character, he's a legitimate option on day 2.
Ed Barham, TE (7th-UD)
A decent athlete who's very small for the posiiton, Barham has an outside shot of making camp for some NFL team. I guess he could find his way with us, but he'd have to fight just to make the practice squad, and that would like only be for special teams value.
Kendric Burney, CB (report, 4th-6th)
Tiny and quick, Burney could develop into a useful nickel corner in the NFL. His issues, though, are obvious. He'll lose many jump balls, and his top end speed is well below average for the position. He's the kind of defender teams need to cover WRs like Danny Amendola. But how much draft capital will teams spend on such a limited talent?
With Jerome Murphy, Kevin Dockery and Justin King (with Marquis Johnson a long shot) all with a hand on the spot going into next season, it'd be hard to see Burney landing with the Rams. But if Murphy moves to FS, as some are hoping, Dockery is no longer a Ram, as many are hoping, and King and Johnson lack the confidence of the coaching staff, this becomes a day 3 possibility.
Bruce Carter, LB (report, 2nd)
Carter doesn't offer the pass rush abilities of other OLBs that might end up in 3-4 defenses, so I'd be surprised if he goes in the first; at the same time, I think he's too polished to slip into round 3. The Rams certainly have other needs, but can people honestly not see this as a possibility? I sure can.
Shaun Draughn, RB (7th-UD)
Draughn was dually supplanted by Ryan Houston and then Johnny White as the primary back for the Heels. He could contribute on special teams and add some depth, but beyond that, I doubt many teams would invest in him. So yes, the Rams could call his name at the end of day 3.
Mike Ingersoll, OT/OL (7th-UD)
Not athletic enough to play the left side, and too light to play on the right, I'm not sure how Ingersoll makes the draft. It'd be a waste of a pick for the Rams who have youth at both starting positions, and can add depth to better effect in other ways.
Greg Little, WR (2nd-4th)
Like some of his teammates, the toughest aspect of preparing to take Little is his absence from the field in the last calendar year. How much has he progressed since his junior season? Is his body ready for the rigors of the NFL? Is he mentally and emotionally prepared for the demands placed upon productive WRs at the next level? Those are the questions NFL teams are asking him; his answers will determine if he finds his home early on day 2 or even on day 3 with 2nd-round talents. Depending on how his answers mesh with the philosophies of the FO and coaching staff, he could be in the mix for the Rams.
Alan Pelc, G (6th-UD)
Not the most powerful lower body for a guard, Pelc stays too tight up top far too often to be consistently effective as an interior lineman in the NFL. He could add depth and versatility to just about any depth chart. With two 7th round picks, he's technically an option, though I expect the Rams to add someone more dependable before they get to this point on day 3.
Zack Pianalto, TE (5th-7th)
A jack of all trades (and the last part is important here) but a master of none, Pianalto is an all-around average TE. Size, speed, run blocking - he isn't special at any of them. He does have solid hands, but they come with a notable injury red flag. I don't see how he makes sense with the Rams, but then again I don't see Kyle Rudolph making sense and McShay's scouting friends called that one, so I guess don't mark him off.
Robert Quinn, DE (report, 1st)
Maybe the highest ceiling of any DE in the draft, Quinn's pretty much a first round lock. Is he in play for the Rams? Anyone who says no would have a lot of 'splaining to do.
Da'Norris Searcy, SS (4th-5th)
Searcy is a thick, stout pass defender, but he doesn't lay the wood like the power strong safeties in the league do. He can big effective in the right system, but it would include masking his lack of speed or tenacity. He'd be an interesting pick for the Rams. I'd feel a lot better about a potential Searcy pick if we had a starting free safety.
Quan Sturdivant, MLB (2nd-3rd)
Sturdivant is the most NFL-ready 4-3 MLB in the draft, though I do like Nate Irving. With James Laurinaitis, this isn't happening. Even in the most ass backwards bizzaro world, this isn't happening. In fact, if the Rams actually draft Sturdivant, the world will collapse on itself, and everything will look like the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey. So yeah.
Johnny White, RB (3rd-5th)
An athlete without a home, White played WR, CB and RB during his four years at UNC. He's quick, agile and runs hard. I personally don't see him dropping past the 4th round largely because of his special teams value. Without more tape at RB, I'd be surprised if someone calls his name in the first two rounds. Starting in round 3, though, he's in play for the majority of teams including the Rams.
Deunta Williams, FS (4th-6th)
Because he's so thin, he's a bit light in his hips. He gets in trouble when he has to turn and react, as opposed to hunting for the ball or taking direct lines to break up the pass. He reminds me a bit of O.J. Atogwe without the fumble skills. Depending on what team takes him, he'll either start or work in a rotation, but I'd be shocked if he doesn't see significant field time in his rookie season. Another obvious candidate for the Rams on day 3.
T.J. Yates, QB (report, 6th-UD)
One of the most underrated QBs in the draft, IMO. Yates' play in his final year showed ridiculous improvement. If the upward trend in football IQ continues, he could provide great value as a backup. No team would feel comfortable handing him the ball in his rookie season, but for a team that's looking for a Jim Sorgi type to hold down the backup spot for a franchise QB (and that has to include the Rams), he's in play at the back end of the draft.
Jon Baldwin, WR (report, 2nd)
Uh, yes. Moving on.
Dom DeCicco, SS (7th-UD)
He might be converted to a linebacker, but in all reality Dom's destined for special teams work. That puts him in play for every team.
Henry Hynoski, FB (6th-7th)
Nosk has the skills to be an effective blocker, but as we saw with Mike Karney, quality fullbacks aren't a key for the Rams. The same could be said for the majority of NFL teams. He'll land somewhere, but outside of special teams, I doubt he'll make much noise in the NFL. I doubt the Rams look to bolster the special teams depth chart with a fullback.
Dion Lewis, RB (3rd-4th)
How small is too small? MJD and Darren Sproles have both found healthy careers in the NFL despite their, hehe, shortcomings. Man, that was bad. The wave of smaller backs is coming from the college game and is going to hit the league hard. This year alone, you have three quality RB prospects shorter than 5'8": Lewis, Kendall Hunter and Jacquizz Rodgers. The key is to incorporate them into a system where you protect their lack of size. Whether it's to move them into more of a dual threat role like Dexter McCluster or not, these players are too dangerous with the ball not to find a way to get them on the field. If the FO and coaching staff philosophically accepts the prototype, then certainly Lewis is an option.
Jason Pinkston, OT (report, 3rd-5th)
Poor bend, below average athleticism and short armed, Pinkston isn't the immediate starter teams with a need for tackle are looking for. He might fit best as a right tackle, but even there I have my doubts. I don't see him fitting the Rams' need for line depth, but I can't rule him out. I'd like to, though.
Greg Romeus, DE (3rd-4th)
Pass rush threat? Check. Four pillars? Check. Versatility? Yup, check. He's in play. Obvious concerns with durability and secondary moves, but could be a diamond in the rough if he stays healthy and is coached up early in his career. Depending on how things shake out in the first two rounds, he could be in play.
Jabaal Sheard, DE (report, 2nd-3rd)
Moves aplenty without Romeus' initial burst, I'm not incredibly high on Sheard. He plays violently though, and could be picked up by a team looking to move him to a 3-4 OLB. Hard to rule him out for the Rams, but I would be very disappointed in this pick.