What did we learn from the NFL Combine? Lots of things, some more useful than others.
Devaney and the Rams have narrowed (or widened?) the field of potential top picks to four players: DEs Ndamukong Suh, Gerald McCoy, and QBs Sam Bradford and Jimmy Clausen. While it’s in keeping with his tendency to not tip his hand, I think it actually hurts the Rams’ ability to trade down by not declaring a favorite among this group. As long as there is a strong alternative for the one guy that the Rams take, there isn’t going to be that much demand to trade up to get that one guy. There appear to be two potential trade partners, though: the Bucs (to get Ndamukong Suh), or the Redskins (to get Sam Bradford). The more noise there is around the Rams and Bradford, the jumpier they get in Washington.
Ndamukong Suh is more intense, but Gerald McCoy is a funny dude. In his interview with Nick Wagoner at StLouisRams.com, Suh pointed out how important it is to him to be picked #1. “I’m a competitor. I want to be No. 1. So that’s what I’m going to strive for.” He talks like a man who still has something to prove. McCoy, on the other hand, seems more comfortable in his skin. This always-smiling, always positive attitude can be a blessing, but it can also be easily misinterpreted by fans, especially fans suffering through years of misery. If the team is losing and McCoy’s demeanor doesn’t seem particularly affected by it, that can drive a wedge between player and fans.
Sam Bradford put on 12 pounds of muscle, and that by itself might be enough. Bradford’s measurables came in very nicely: 6’4″, 236. Because a mob of people can be somewhat excitable, this measurement was the buzz of the second day. Adam Schefter, for one, pronounced it an all-but-done-deal that the Rams take Bradford first overall. But then again, looking good in one’s underwear doesn’t necessarily mean squat once you get on the football field.
Meanwhile, Jimmy Clausen wants to be seen as a leader. And he wants to become a “gym rat.”
Jimmy Clausen: “You know, to be honest, some of the people that say those things just don’t know me as a person. A lot of people don’t really know me as a person. That’s why I was so excited to come here, talk to all the coaches and the GM and owners – so they get a feel for me as a person. Being at Notre Dame, the quarterback and the head coach get all the credit when things go right and get a lot of blame when things go wrong. It’s a tough situation being in a fishbowl at Notre Dame. Like I said, I was so excited to come out here and just to meet a bunch of the guys, I know a lot of the guys that are out here working out, just to meet those coaches and for them to get a feel for me as a person.”
Wagoner: Do you feel capable of being the No. 1 overall pick and is that a goal?
Clausen: “If that’s the team that wants to pick me. I just want to go somewhere where they want me as a person and a player, to go to that organization and help them win games. That’s all I’m about. I’m about going there and trying to make my team better.
He also knows how to sell himself.
Clausen: I would say some of my strengths are taking care of the football, my accuracy, playing under center in a pro style offense under coach Weis for the past three years, my durability, playing when I’m hurt and bringing my team back in the fourth quarter. I think those are some of the things that are my biggest things.
Wagoner: What about your weaknesses?
Clausen: “The biggest thing I want to do is become more of a gym rat in the film room. Being in college you only have a certain amount of hours to watch tape and go in there with your team and watch tape with them. You always hear guys like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees are always in the film room watching tape. That’s what I want to do. It’s my profession now and that’s what I want to be. I want to be a gym rat in the film room and do everything I can to help the team win.”
What about pick #33? The Rams seem to have tight ends in mind. And the tight ends that they’ve been talking about don’t include RamsHerd favorite Aaron Hernandez. Rather, it’s Jermaine Gresham (no surprise) and Rob Gronkowski.
Gronkowski has the size that Hernandez lacks, and Spagnuolo in interview (again with the omnipresent and possibly omniscient Nick Wagoner) didn’t mind giving us his preferences: “Both of those guys (Gresham and Gronkowski) can catch the football, block. You look for a tight end that can do all of the components so I think both of those guys bring that one way or the other, at least in our opinion.”
Although, if the Rams were to look in another direction for that second-round offensive playmaker, I’m leaning toward WR Brandon LaFell myself…