Know Your Rams: Twitter-stalking the 2013 Draft Class


We've spent months reading scouting reports, scouring film cutups (most of them by the indispensible Draft Breakdown crew), and debating with each other the games and playing styles of these prospects. But how well do we actually know the newest members of the St Louis Rams? 

("Well," says the twice-divorced itinerant philosopher in the room, "how well do we truly KNOW anyone?" That guy can shut up. We're trying to write an article here.) 

How can we get to know these future millionaires? The easiest channel is their Twitter profile. I'm actually of the belief that a person's social media profile says a lot about them. Not everything, to be sure, but it shows us how they present themselves, and how much they know about how to present themselves. Plus, it's easy stalkings and even easier pickings for someone like you or me that isn't about to be on first-name basis with them otherwise. 

For informed insight, I enlisted the help of Brent Lancaster (@lannyosu), a Rams fan who engages with players on a regular basis and is finely attuned to discrete shades of online personality.  

We looked at players' twitter feeds in the period just before the draft, when online psyches are straining under the stresses of the biggest and longest job interview of their lives. On one hand, they ahve no doubt been implored by their agents to be on their best behavior, as a clumsy offhand remark might get blown out of proportion when every aspect of their lives is under the microscope. On the other hand, the amount of pressure placed on these players during this time begs for a release. 

Ready? Science. Go! 







Tavon Austin, WR (West Virginia)

As one of the college ranks' most-sought-after players, Austin’s Twitter in the run-up to the draft is filled with hopeful tweets and a Rand McNally of pre-draft visits. He specializes in short, heavily-punctuated tweets that reflect his status as the center of attention.  

If you go back further in time, to less-stressful times before he became widely touted as a top-15 pick, his tweets have a more relaxed, bantering tone with the constant undercurrent of ambition.

HammyDr. Lanny's review:

"From an initial analysis, the subject appears to be an outgoing and easily excitable young man, and exudes positive energy to his surroundings. The use of exclamation points in everyday conversation aligns symmetrically with his superior change of direction skills and frenetic pace.

Comparative analysis results: Hammy from ‘Over the Hedge’."

Alec Ogletree, LB (Georgia)

This is one of the more mercurial players online, with a follower-to-tweet ratio of more than 10:1. It is perhaps understandable, given his well-publicized character concerns, that he might be cautious in expressing himself. Curiously, however, Ogletree seems little changed from his draft experience.

From a month before the draft:

From the weekend immediately after the draft:

The brevity of these tweets is characteristic of his online persona. Ogletree writes in a terse manner that Ernest Hemingway would applaud, offering pithy, lightly punctuated thoughts presented as statements of fact.

The River WhyDr. Lanny's review:

"The subject presents a strong pescatarian tendency, and a desire to quiet his life and avoid unnecessary complications. It is also worth noting that he wore the number 9 at the University of Georgia, which in Japanese culture is associated with ‘pain’. As Ogletree likes to inflict pain, the association is thus well developed.

Comparative analysis results: Gus (Zach Gilford of Friday Night Lights) from The River Why.

TJ McDonald, Safety (Southern Cal)

As the son of an NFL cornerback and a defensive starter at a very high-profile college program, McDonald has been raised in a stable and omnipresent football environment. His twitter stream is a well-rounded blend of musical references, apocryphal one-liners, and tweet after tweet of him hanging out with fellow USC alum Robert Woods.

instagram-tj mcdonald

McDonald is also openly invested in paying attention to his fortunes in the pre-draft evaluation process, and isn’t too busy to take time to correct misguided draft pundits.

His twitter feed was not especially active in the run up to the draft, but just before Roger Goodell takes the stage, McDonald sums up a whirlwind of emotion in four simple words.

SimbaDr. Lanny's review:

"I feared that this subject might suffer from the dreaded 'silver spoon syndrome', common for the children of high-profile parents. After all, his father's shoes were quite enormous! You must imagine my delight when I discovered, for all of the hints of bravado and 'devil may care' playfulness found on his timeline, he presented a simple plea to his flock: 'I just (want to) play.' How wonderfully candid and poignant! He therefore presents a desire to contribute in any way possible, and is comfortable with his forthcoming role."

Comparative analysis results: Young Simba from The Lion King.

Stedman Bailey, WR (West Virginia)

Bailey has more than 30,000 followers and cultivates that follower count with a steady stream of positive, inspirational messages. Unlike many of his peers with a five-digit follower count, he tweets dozens of times per day, amassing more than 20,000 tweets at the time of this article. This flood of tweets ranges from daily affirmations to philosophical digressions and back again.

He also is not afraid to open a little window into his personal life, tweeting out pictures of his son.

Stedman Bailey instagram

But the magnitude of having such a steady stream of interactions becomes manifest when even an innocuous tweet like this generates a half-dozen replies. 

Ace VenturaDr. Lanny's review:

Upon my first assessment, this subject appears to be highly interactive with his environment, works very well with others, and it is clear that he is motivated to succeed, even in the darkest of days. A bit of an idealist, he believes that one should not be focused on the material, but on the immaterial (faith, family, friends, pets, etc.). Keen to improve his craft and wisdom, he solicits the advice of one Torry ‘Big Game’ Holt, who is capable of providing the mentorship necessary to allow the patient to bloom and reach enlightenment.

Comparative analysis results: Ace Ventura from 'Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls.' "

Barrett Jones, C/G (Alabama)

The Rams’ newest addition to the offensive line has been praised for his versatility, effort, and intelligence. In the realm of social media, this latter is reflected in a well-honed and self-deprecating sense of humor.

If humor is a weapon, Jones’s playful barbs are about as threatening as a Nerf bat. What he lacks in intimidation, he makes up for in volume, as he is not afraid to wield it on anyone around him.

However, a mark of maturity is knowing when to put the funny away and respond to the seriousness of the moment.

GladiatorDr. Lanny's review:

"The patient outwardly projects himself as a fiercely loyal, warm and thoughtful young man with genuine intentions, and I find no reason to dispute. Never one to shy away from a quarrel, yet sound of mind and light of heart, the patient has the intrinsic makeup and fortitude of a fine field general. This doctor’s assertion rings even more true as one revisits the high praises sung by his mentors, a man with whom they would gladly go into battle."

Comparative analysis results: Maximus Decimus Meridius (Russell Crowe) from 'Gladiator.' 

Brandon McGee, CB (Miami)

McGee is one of the very few athletes I’ve come across with more tweets than followers, a sign that his outflow is nearly irrepressible. Much are of the general “#RiseAndGrind” temper, but some display a personal identification with the struggle.

With this volume of tweets, we get to see a wider range of thoughts & of-the-moment observations. Ironically, on the eve of the biggest weekend of his life and the culmination of years spent “on the grind,” McGee’s mind is elsewhere.

Dr. Lanny's review:

"An overwhelming desire to share one's musings and ruminations, coupled with a yearning for dancing to musical numbers, has me concluding that this subject has a form of 'old soul' complex. In addition, the subject appears to be highly fond of dairy products, and will incessantly persist until he achieves his goal. With haste, I must add.

Comparative analysis results: Speedy Gonzalez from 'Looney Tunes.'

Zac Stacy, RB (Vanderbilt)

Stacy also has more tweets than followers, but a vast majority are engaged in conversation with others. He also loves the retweet button, with this one a remarkable mirror of himself in action.

On those rare occasions when he isn't in direct conversation, his tweets open windows of reflection, and outlets for his id. Consider these consecutive posts:

Obama enjoys icy treatsDr. Lanny's review:

As the last, but certainly not the least, of the drafted players, this subject appears to be quite the 'social butterfly' by all accounts (*chuckles* do you see what a wonderful entendre I have concocted?! How humorous I must have sounded!). He implies to enjoy thusly the thoughts and opinions of his fellow Tweetfolk, and does not mind sharing or even promoting thoughts which are not originally his own. In fact, as a natural consensus-builder, he is known to seek the guidance of his flock in situations of conflict. The subject also enjoys icy treats, almost as much as our previous subject enjoys dairy products.

Comparative analysis results: President Barack Obama.