Saturday, April 2, 2011

NFL Path to Draft put the Rams on the clock Thursday


Unless you’re some kind of deranged lunatic or something, I know you DVR every episode of Path to the Draft, and review carefully. To do otherwise would be immoral, unethical, and beyond the pale of any acceptable human conduct. This is just one of those thing you have to do in life, or you really won’t know what’s going on.

Last Thursday

Naturally, our Rams are not getting as much press this year as last. We draft #14, not #1. We aren’t in the leadoff spot, and we aren’t going to set the table for everybody else. Still, we have gotten some attention, and that reached a pre-draft apex on Thursday.

D'Marco Farr, Munchkin pass rusher extraordinaire on our 1999 Super Bowl team, was the guest analyst. As we all know, he is the color guy on Ram broadcasts these days. It was interesting to see that, once again, and I are agreeing on most points. You see, all of us runt defensive tackles think alike. We could have been the Mercury twins on the D-Line. He’s a Gemini and I am a Virgo.

What are those points of agreement?

  1. 1. If Julio Jones is there at #14, it is the biggest no-brainer of all time. I said just about the same thing a month ago.
  2. 2.
  3. We are in danger of not getting a receiver if we stay put. We will be fortune if he falls to us.
  4. 3. If we can’t the receiver, Missouri DE/LB tweener Aldon Smith would be a very good choice.
  5. 4. Mark Ingram is an option also, because we have no competent back up for Steve Jackson.

There was one point of disagreement though. D'Marco Farr doesn’t think that a move up the board is either likely or reasonable given the number of needs we have on this team. D'Marco may just be echoing information he has been given by insiders, such as Devaney himself. I may not be disagreeing with D'Marco on this point.

Also, there was no mention of Mike Pouncey from D’Marco. This surprised me. Our need(s) at guard are nearly as great as our need at the WR position. Mike Lombardi mentioned this immediately when they went to him.

Aldon Smith?

I have praised tweeners several times in the last few months, and particularly DE/LB tweens, describing them as the most destructive and disruptive players on the defense. I have also praised their bargain basement prices. Because these guys are usually projections, you can get them cheap, in the later rounds. The #14 pick the 1st round wasn’t exactly what I meant when I said that. With that said…

Aldus Smith is one hell of a pass-rusher who reminds me of two men: Charles Haley and our own Leonard Little. He is one of those super-lean, greyhound defensive ends who just sprint around tackles and make free-runs on their way to sacking the QB. Even if he doesn’t get home, he forces the QB to change his underwear at half-time. All else being equal, I would love to draft this kid. Unfortunately, all else is not equal

It is difficult for me to see Aldus Smith getting a lot of snaps at DE for the Rams, unless it is the result of an injury. Chris Long and James Hall have proven their worth as our starters. We nailed 43 sacks last season as a result of their strong play. Fred Robbins has to be given considerable credit for getting home also. Because Gary Gibson is the other DT, and Fred Robbins has 11 years in the league, I think DT is the much greater priority.

Now on the other hand, if we were going to use Aldus Smith as the Will Linebacker, I would consider him a very exciting pick. As Steve Wyche correctly pointed out, Spags believes our biggest weakness is our outside linebackers. Teams love pitchouts and quick hitting stretch plays that go wide. They think they can hit our OLBs hard and fast, and we haven’t given them a reason to think otherwise. We were hurt much worse by the outside breakaway that the run up the middle last season. We have a great need at OLB.

Now for the rub: Would Spags want to use Aldon Smith in this capacity? If he does, we also need to grapple with the fact that we are drafting a projection player at #14, which is not usually considered a good value or risk. If Spags would use him like this, I would draft him. I think Aldon is a special player, and I would love to have that kind of defensive force at the WLB. In this case, I would gamble.

Mark Ingram

Although I have seldom mentioned this fact, Mark Ingram is one of my favorite guys in this draft. How can you not love this kid? If you loved Emmitt Smith, you have to love this kid. I remember the day, some 3 years ago, when a dude at work first told me Alabama had an Emmitt Smith clone, and he’s the son of Giant receiver Mark Ingram. I scoffed, and declared that this is just because he wore #22. Since that day, Mark Ingram has given me about 1,000 reasons to eat my words. I enjoyed the piece Marshall Faulk did regarding Mark Ingram, as he also prosecuted the case for baby Emmitt.

The case for and against Mark Ingram with the Rams is very, very complicated. There are a pros and cons to it that are tough to sort out. I’ll try to do it quickly in two lists of bullet points.


  • Steven Jackson has had a preposterous workload over the past three years. None of us like to think of the day when Steve Jackson wears down or retires, but that day is coming.
  • The Rams have no competent back up for Steve. When he gets hurt, the running game dies, and we become mono-dimensional.
  • All recent Super Bowl champions have had running back committees. No recent champion has had a single sledgehammer back.
  • Mark is one hell of a good kid. You gotta love this kid.
  • Others (not me) have frequently compared Sam Bradford to Troy Aikman. Everybody (and I mean everybody) compares Mark Ingram to Emmit Smith. You draft Ingram and we are 66.66667% of the way to putting the triplets back in business again.


  • There is a theory that Jerry Jones never drafts offensive linemen in the first round. Rather, he always takes a flashy and exciting play-maker.
  • You know Jerry loves Emmitt to death, and misses him terribly. There is a theory that Jerry is laying out there in the weeds, getting ready to pounce on Mark Ingram at #9. You know this would be a very popular pick in Dallas. The fans will forgive him immediately.
  • Believe it or not, we might not get a shot at him.
  • Josh McDaniels is now our OC. We are going to the Spread.
  • In the Spread, balance means throwing 2 or 3 times for every run.
  • In the Spread, balance is more about ensuring that everyone touches the ball than a 50/50 run pass ratio.
  • In the Spread, the most lethal sort of back is a Marshall Faulk, Therman Thomas, C.J. Spiller, Jhavid Best type of guy. The Spread requires a back who is a deadly and elusive receiver circling out of the backfield.
  • You can make a very good case that acquiring Reggie Bush on the cheap would do more to enhance Josh McDaniels’ offensive agenda than anything else.
  • How will Josh McDaniels make use of two sledgehammer backs in his Spread offense?

My two cents

The notion of assembling a new set of Triplets on our roster is a very, very exciting idea. You have to be galvanized by the notion of putting Sam Bradford together with Mark Ingram.

However, let’s remember that Michael Irvin was the first of the three Triplets in Dallas. Right now, we have nothing like him. A.J. Smith and Julio Jones look a hell of a lot like him, if you ask me. I still believe the Receiver is our first and greatest need.

Wouldn’t be just fucking incredible if we could get both Ingram and Green somehow? Oh well, we can always dream.