Monday, April 28, 2008

Thomas/Iyer Analyze Rams Draft

War Room scouts, correspondent Jim Thomas and SN's Vinnie Iyer analyze the Rams' 2008 draft class:

2 (2) Chris Long, DE, Virginia (6-4, 266)

War Room scouts: The Rams made a tough choice between DT Glenn Dorsey and Long. Long was the right call because the team basically had nobody at the position except for Leonard Little, who turns 34 in October. Long can line up at all four positions along the line and will start immediately for the Rams.

Thomas: Long will be the Rams' instant starter at right end. Although not a natural pass rusher, to typecast Long as merely a high-motor "effort" guy would be inaccurate. Long is more athletic than given credit for, and despite his average size for the position, he holds up very well against the run.

Iyer: St. Louis got the best player in this draft. The Rams finally hit on a defensive lineman in getting Adam Carriker last year, and Long is another smashing selection. The Rams now have their answer to another explosive former Virginia end, Patrick Kerney of the division rival Seahawks.

2 (33) Donnie Avery, WR, Houston (5-11, 182)

War Room scouts: Rams officials say Avery is similar to ex-Rams great Isaac Bruce. Avery will bring the explosiveness and game-changing speed St. Louis needs to open up its offense.

Thomas: Avery being the first wide receiver drafted might have been a surprise, given the wideouts available from BCS schools, but Avery is a good fit for St. Louis. He has great speed with great change-of-direction skills. He also can return kicks and could open the season as the team's No. 3 receiver.

Iyer: Avery is a bit of a surprise, but he's been a big mover at the position because of his speed. I like him in St. Louis' mix with Torry Holt, Drew Bennett and Reche Caldwell, and I think he can make a few big plays for Marc Bulger right away.

2 (65) John Greco, T/G, Toledo (6-5, 303)

War Room scouts: The Rams were lucky that Greco dropped into the third round, and the team wasted only seconds drafting him. Greco is a virtual photocopy of the Patriots' Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins and will help their offensive line move in the correct direction.

Thomas: Greco is a tough, durable blocker who started 49 consecutive games in college. Greco started his final three seasons at left tackle but will be moved to the right side of the line. In theory, he will be the team's third offensive tackle and could eventually be a replacement for Alex Barron. Greco has good bulk, but his arms are shorter than ideal.

Iyer: A solid pick for St. Louis. It desperately needed some youthful help along its interior offensive line. Greco is one of the draft's top guards, and the Rams got a player who should have been drafted in Round 2.

2 (101) Justin King, CB, Penn State (5-11, 189)

Thomas: One of the fastest corners in the draft, King has some coverage skills but was burned in matchups against the Big Ten's top wide receivers. He needs to be more physical.

29 (128) Keenan Burton, WR, Kentucky (6-1, 203)

Thomas: Burton was very productive in college, with good change of direction skills. He showed toughness playing hurt in '07. He has added value as a punt and kickoff returner.

22 (157) Roy Schuening, G, Oregon State (6-3, 313)

Thomas: A hard-nosed, durable drive blocker, Schuening was a real value in the fifth round. He struggled some with quicker defenders, but he adds depth at right guard.

21 (228) Chris Chamberlain, LB, Tulsa (6-2, 226)

Thomas: He's a very productive tackler, but undersized. Chamberlain will provide depth at weakside linebacker and have a chance to be core special teams player.

45 (252) David Vobora, LB, Idaho (6-1, 234)

Thomas: Another depth pick who was a very productive tackler in college. Vobora has good range and will compete to be a backup at middle and strongside linebacker.

Iyer: Vobora is what you look for in a seventh-rounder: a high-character, highly intelligent and hardworking defensive player. Expect him to make the team and shine on special teams as a rookie.

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