The St. Louis Rams held their pre-draft press event yesterday, with head coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead fielding a few questions from attending reporters. Naturally, no Draft Day strategies were revealed, but reading between the lines may provide an insight or two into the team’s thinking. Some takeaways follow.
• Regarding the offensive line, Fisher presented a calm front: “I feel good about the direction we’re headed,” he said, “And I’ll feel much better when the weekend’s over. But I feel good about it. We have options. And there’s still (free-agent) options out there.” Further, “We’ve got some good young players on our roster, that you’ve not seen play or haven’t played very much. But we’re developing players currently on our roster. So we feel good about it.”
Extrapolating from this quote, Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reckons that still-unsigned free agents Joe Barksdale (sigh) and Justin Blalock (formerly of the Atlanta Falcons) might be on the Rams’ radar after this weekend.
• The team’s seriousness about drafting a quarterback in the early rounds was in evidence again. The Rams looked at essentially the top six candidates (Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Brett Hundley, Bryce Petty, Garrett Grayson and Sean Mannion). Said Fisher, “The perception is, you fly into town, you work the player out and you leave, and that’s not necessarily the case. We spend quality time with the player in the classroom. ... We actually spend at least the same amount of time in the classroom as we do on the field. It’s extremely valuable.”
• Exciting Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes was not specifically mentioned, but the cool logic of ESPN’s St. Louis Rams beat reporter Nick Wagoner yesterday reckoned that “In terms of the top corners, the only real known interest has been in Waynes. That doesn't mean the Rams don't have their eyes on other corners but it stands to reason that if they're going to address the position, they'd want to do it with someone who is the best corner in the draft. Still, the 10th pick might be a little too rich for Waynes, though it can't entirely be ruled out that the Rams would go in that direction. If they traded down a bit first, perhaps Waynes would be more of a consideration or maybe they slightly surprise and do it at 10.”
• LARams.net doesn’t believe the Rams are interested in, or will get a chance at, drafting Missouri’s Shane Ray; after getting busted with just about trace amounts of marijuana earlier this week, however, he’s firmly on the minds of media members. When asked about the DE, Snead stated that “You don’t move him on the board, [but] you may put a cautionary sticker on him,” before putting a spinning on the sportsworld’s most mundane cliché: “He is where he is.”
Oh, okay. All right, then.