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NFL Weekend: Hard Knocks, And Draft Day Rocks...

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Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles will get up close and personal - as will the rest of the NFL world - with the Rams, as HBO's Hard Knocks features the team in 2016. All the drama - and behind the scenes machinations of an NFL team in the middle of relocating from St. Louis to Los Angeles - will be laid bare for everyone to see...

Did I say: "drama?" I'm not sure a Jeff Fisher led team will have many characters who'll stand out when HBO's cameras start to roll, but here's a few possible story lines to keep an eye on:

Tavon Austin: This may be the only player who gets the show's attention. His personality is just bubbly enough to get cameras swinging his way. Rams fans will miss how Chris Long - now with New England - used to banter with the tiny wide receiver. I have little doubt that Austin will mug for camera moments...

Possibly Awkward Moment: When training camp gets into full swing, the Case Keenum/Nick Foles quarterback will more than likely fall short of a "controversy". In fact, the shots to watch for may very well be the coaches on the sidelines, as they try to hide their inner misgivings about an offense which appears destined to feature running back Todd Gurley, and little else...

The guy to watch - and listen for - is defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. After losing key players on defense to free agency - Chris Long, Janoris Jenkins, Rodney Mcleod and James Laurinaitis - he'll be shuffling his line up faster, and more often, than a Las Vegas card dealer. He, and defensive end William Hayes, seem to bake their mental cookies in the same kind of oven. "Out there" can be kind of an understatement when either of these two start to swing off on a tangent....

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Every year, I try to pick the guy who'll be the NFL Draft Day wallflower. You know who I mean: The guy whose been highly touted throughout the pre-draft process, only to sit languishing in the "Green Room" for what seems like an eternity before hearing his name finally called. Past winners like DaQuan Bowers, Brady Quinn and Matt Barkley would probably tell you what they went through on NFL Draft Day was more than likely the most embarrassing time in their lives'...

This year, my candidate to fall hard is someone I previously ranked as a first round draft pick. His fall - due to off field drug issues - is still in progress. Eastern Kentucky's Noah Spence is on the verge of being radioactive, but some team will roll the dice on him by early in the second round. Yet, there's a very real chance he finds himself languishing until Day 3 of the NFL Draft. An "Ecstasy" addiction - which Spence openly admits to having had in college, and has sought treatment for - isn't just a red flag for NFL teams. It's a "the British are coming", fog horn, fireworks display explosion kind of thing.

I asked a friend in the drug treatment biz about it, and was told this kind of addiction is more troubling due to the base human interactive activity most often tied to the drug. Adding in the borderline hallucinogenic nature of the drug itself, and I'm told treatment can be dicey at best, and CAN more complicated than it is for drugs like heroin, cocaine, ect... Spence should be thankful any team will be willing to risk a roster spot on him at this point, not just a draft pick. He's a special talent, whose on yet another razor's edge of blowing his life long dream of playing in the NFL due to poor decisions made in college. It's a story we see every year, with only the names changing...

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When the NFL announced its newest slew of rule changing tweaks, the one I though most odd was the "touch back" rule. Designed to make returning a kick off return less appealing, I'm having trouble seeing the logic? When all is said and done, it will be about the depth of the kick, and the amount of adrenaline pumping thru the returner's brain as he makes a decision in a flash after he catches the ball. It seems more likely the kicking team will have their kicker place the ball closer to the goal line, but higher than normal during its flight. So the returner will more than likely catch the ball going forward, building up more speed while doing so? If anything, the chance of higher impact collision went up, not down...

I've heard this move was in the interests of players safety, or that it's to counter the 35 yard line kick off line placement made a number of years ago. Your guess is as good as mine on this one...

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Robert Griffin III found a new home in Cleveland, and I'm more than a bit shocked he chose the place where quarterbacks seem to go; only to see their careers' disappear. I count this one as a quick pay day for RGIII before he decided to get out of the game for good. Don't kid yourself, this a smart young man. If he and new head coach Hue Jackson click, he'll be set for a decent pay day two years from now. If not, the spot light on him - being so very dim in Cleveland anyway - will set the bar lower for his success or failure. Plus, he can blame it on Cleveland if he fails, right?

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Enjoy your weekend! Follow me on Twitter: @thenovelroad