Tag:St. Louis Rams
Posted on: November 2, 2010 2:12 pm
 

Blount, Suh winners in competitive Week for Rooks

Just as this past weekend proved to be a very difficult one in determing the senior Prospect of the Week, Sunday's slate of NFL games featured several noteworthy performances from rookies.

No. 1 overall pick Sam Bradford played very well in leading the Rams to their fourth win of the season and sole possession of second place in the very winnable NFC West division. Bradford completed a career high 78.1% of his passes for 191 and two touchdowns (against zero interceptions) to beat Carolina.

Kansas City safety Eric Berry, my reigning Defensive Rookie of the Week, was even more impressive Sunday against the Bills than he was against the Jaguars on October 24. Berry posted a career-high 10 tackles and his 4th quarter interception ended a potentially game-winning drive by the Bills in the 4th quarter. The Chiefs, 5-2 and atop the AFC West, won in overtime.

Tampa wideout Mike Williams caught four passes for 105 yards, including an impressive 47-yard touchdown in an exciting 38-35 come from behind win over the Arizona Cardinals.

In the end, however, the continued dominance of Detroit's Ndamukong Suh and resurgence of former Oregon standout LaGarrette Blount stole the show.

Suh, who earned Prospect of the Week honors earlier in the year, may have enjoyed his greatest NFL game so far Sunday in Detroit's win over the Washington Redskins. Suh recorded five tackles, including two tackles for loss, two sacks and returned a fumble 17 yards for his first NFL touchdown. Suh now has 6.5 sacks through seven games. His mark ties him for 8th in the NFL and leads all defensive tackles. 

Blount rushed for 120 yards and two scores -- including the game-winner -- against the Cardinals. The bruising runner showcased the power and surprisingly nimble feet that had earned him high grades from NFL scouts prior to the infamous meltdown in which he punched a Boise State player and was suspended from the Oregon football team.
Posted on: October 10, 2010 10:39 pm
 

Dazzling/dreary weekend for young pass-catchers

Many of the most interesting NFL and NCAA games over the weekend featured spectacular individual efforts from some of today's best and most athletic pass-catchers.

Unfortunately, there were also some tough injuries to good young pass-catchers that ultimately could take some of the polish from their position-mates' great performances.

In the NFL, standout games from the Giants' Hakeem Nicks (12 receptions for 130 yards and two touchdowns against the Texans), the Chargers' Malcolm Floyd (eight catches for 213 yards and a score against the Raiders), the Cowboys' Miles Austin (nine receptions for 169 yards and a touchdown against the Titans) and the Broncos' Brandon Lloyd (five catches for 135 yards and two scores against Baltimore) put an exclamation point to a Saturday full of big plays by some of the nation's best young receiver prospects.

Among the highligths, was South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery catching seven passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns to help the Gamecocks upset Alabama. LSU's Terrance Toliver -- who needed a strong game to save his falling stock -- responded with a six-catch, 111 yard, two touchdown (including the game-winner with six seconds left) to beat the Gators. Eighteen year-old true freshman Robert Woods was even more productive in USC's loss to Stanford, hauling in 12 passes for 224 yards and three scores.

That was the good news. The bad -- and we won't know just how bad we're talking until Monday's MRIs -- could prove just as newsworthy.

For all of the spectacular plays made by pass-catchers over the weekend, there were troubling injuries to some of the NFL's most intriguing breakout stars and college football's best senior prospects.

St. Louis' Mark Bradley, who had developed a quick rapport with rookie Sam Bradley, was carted off the field in Detroit after sustaining a knee injury that is expected to knock him out for the season. Green Bay tight end Jermichael Finley, an emerging superstar, went down with what the Packers' official site is characterizing as a "hamstring ligament" injury, but certainly looked bad.  Denver first round pick Demaryius Thomas was sidelined with head and neck injuries after a big hit against Baltimore. Peyton Mannings' newest toy, undrafted free agent Blair White, also suffered neck injuries in the Colts' win over the Chiefs. In each case, the young breakout players never returned to the game after sustaining their injury.

The injury front could prove equally bad if the early reports across the college landscape are correct. Oregon State's James Rodgers and Cecil Shorts III of Mount Union each went down Saturday with injuries. Rodgers, rated by NFLDraftScout.com as a potential 3rd round pick prior to injury, suffered an ugly injury to his left knee as he scored a touchdown against Arizona. Even worse for Beaver fans, Rodgers' score was called back due to a penalty.

Few fans have heard of Shorts III, but scouts certainly know of him. He was viewed by some as the elite "small school" prospect entering the year and caught 100 passes for 1,736 yards and 19 touchdowns last year. Shorts III was held out of the second half of undefeated OAC power Mount Union's 28-14 victory over Marietta after sustaining an injury on  punt return in the second quarter.



 
Posted on: October 5, 2010 1:29 pm
 

QB Bradford, S Mays earn Rookie of the Week

I was among the biggest critics of the St. Louis Rams' decision to draft quarterback Sam Bradford over the player I believed was the best and surest thing in the 2010 draft -- defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.

My argument was simple. Suh was the better player and didn't have Bradford's durability questions. The counter to my argument, of course, was that Bradford played the game's most important position -- and when healthy -- he showed the accuracy of an All-Pro. I didn't disagree with this argument, only that I questioned if Bradford was and could remain healthy.

The question of Bradford's durability will remain, but there is no denying his talent -- which he put on display Sunday in the Rams' second consecutive win. With the win over division rival Seattle, the Bradford-led Rams are now tied atop the NFC West division at 2-2.

Bradford's numbers against the Seahawks (23 of 41 for 289 yards, two touchdowns and one interception) were impressive. However, they don't do him justice. Competing against a former Pro Bowl quarterback in Matt Hasselbeck who guided te Seahawks to the Super Bowl in 2005, Bradford was the more poised and accurate passer. He faced pressure, but calmly stepped up in the pocket and consistently placed the ball where only his receivers could catch it. Bradford exhibited the type of accuracy and ability to step up his play in a critical situation that so impressed me when I scouted his Pro Day workout in person.

There were several impressive performances by rookies on the offensive side of the ball last week, but none came close to that of Bradford, in my opinion.

The decision was a little tougher on the defensive side of the ball -- though one sparkling special teams' play tipped the balance in favor of San Francisco safety Taylor Mays .

Tennessee rookie cornerback Alterraun Verner enjoyed a solid game (11 tackles, three PBUs) against the Broncos and Philadelphia free safety Nate Allen recorded his fourth interception of the year in the Eagles' close loss to Donovan McNabb and the Redskins. 

Like Verner, Mays recorded 11 tackles Sunday. His performance was even more impressive considering that Sunday's game against the Falcons was his first career start. Mays gave the 49ers a different degree of physicality in the backhalf of their defense, pairing with another big hitter (Dashon Goldson) to limit the explosive Falcons offense to only 16 points at home. The Falcons had scored 41 points in their last home game against the Cardinals.

You've probably seen the special teams play that turned into the deciding factor in Mays' earning Defensive Rookie of the Week honors. The 49ers' Delanie Walker and Dominique Zeigler broke through the Atlanta line to block a Michael Koenen punt. Mays, showing better ball skills than he's generally been credited with, leapt high into the air, tracked the ball over his shoulder, caught it securely and pointed his toes to get both feet in bounds for the dazzling touchdown "catch."
 


Posted on: July 15, 2010 11:27 am
Edited on: July 15, 2010 12:28 pm
 

Supplemental "mock" draft -- my final predictions

Predicting the April draft is difficult enough, but I thought it would be fun to try an educated guess as to which NFL teams will take which of the four eligible players in today's Supplemental draft.

Today's draft, which begins at 1 pm EST, is expected to take 60-75 minutes, as each round is supposed to take 10 minutes. Unlike the April draft which features all of the hype, hoopla and grandiose parading on stage, this draft is done strictly via email between the league, itself, and each of the 32 teams.

The inherent risk in projecting which club will take which player is that I (or others) may be completely right in predicting Team X will take Player Y, but if another team with a higher selection takes the player, we'll never know. The NFL has never released the actual "results" of the supplemental draft in years past. Of course, they announce the "winners," but we'll never know, for example, if there were other teams that also wanted former Kentucky DE Jeremy Jarmon last year in the 3rd-7th rounds. Washington offered the highest pick -- a third rounder -- last July and, as such, was awarded Jarmon.

Here is what I've learned over the past 24 hours...

Two of the teams I'd previously heard were interested in BYU RB Harvey Unga are clearly not -- the St. Louis Rams and Seattle Seahawks did not bring in Unga for a physical, I'm told, and let's face it, with Unga's history of injuries, no team is going to draft him that hasn't had their doctors check him over.

There does appear to be legitimate interest by the Eagles, Bucs, Steelers, Dolphins and Chiefs for Unga.

Detroit, New Orleans and Green Bay appear to be the most interested in defensive tackle Joshua Price-Brent.

My final predictions?

Both players go in the 6th round. Unga is taken by the Bucs or Chiefs; Price-Brent is taken by the Lions.

Care to try and beat me? I'd be interested to read your takes. You have two hours (or so) to weigh-in.





Posted on: April 27, 2010 1:01 pm
 

My all undrafted lineup -- defense

Each year there are players who slip through the cracks into undrafted free agency that, quite frankly, I'm stunned aren't drafted.

Here is my list of players who were undrafted but I feel could find a roster spot in the NFL.

Today I'm highlighting the defensive players (as well as their NFL franchise). Yesterday I listed the offensive players.

DE: Brandon Lang, Troy (signed by San Diego)
DT: Nate Collins, Virginia (signed by New York Giants)
DT: Jay Ross, East Carolina (signed by New Orleans)
DE: Mitch Unrein, Wyoming (signed by Tennessee)
OLB: Reggie Carter, UCLA (signed by Seattle)
ILB: Micah Johnson, Kentucky (signed by New York Giants)
OLB: Simoni Lawrence, Minnesota (signed by St. Louis)
CB: Patrick Stoudamire, Jr, Western Illinois (signed by San Francisco)
SS: Barry Church, Toledo (signed by Dallas)
FS: Jon Amaya, Nevada (signed by Miami)
CB: Devin Ros, Arizona (signed by Philadelphia)
Posted on: April 23, 2010 6:47 pm
 

Rams, Bucs, Browns confused by team needs?

Some teams subscribe to the "best player available" theory, with the Rams, Bucs and Browns clearly being among them.

Consider that the Rams, who invested the No. 2 overall pick in Jason Smith last year and only a few years back invested a first round pick in another offensive tackle, Alex Barron, made Rodger Saffold, a career tackle, the first pick of the second round. Saffold will most likely be moved inside to guard.

As talented as Saffold is, he doesn't fill the need for a defensive tackle the Rams now have considering they traded away former starter Adam Carriker.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, the Tampa Bay Bucs, who had a need at offensive tackle, instead elected to again fortify their defensive line, taking Brian Price from UCLA. His burst inside made him a natural candidate as a 3-technique, the same position the Bucs had filled previously with first round pick, Gerald McCoy.

The Browns made a similar move, electing to look past concerns at pass rusher and quarterback to take another defensive back -- the 10th among the first 38 selections. Pairing the big-hitting TJ Ward with first round pick Joe Haden and recently acquired DB Sheldon Brown gives the Browns an impressive new secondary to compete with the underrated passing attacks of the AFC North.  


Posted on: April 23, 2010 3:25 pm
 

NFC West First Round Comments

Following the conclusion of the draft, I'll be providing grades for all 32 teams. I've begun the process of writing these grades up based on what transpired in the first round yesterday. I'll be posting comments for each team, by their division, in the blog over the next few hours.

Here is how I saw the action from the NFC West perspective:

Arizona Cardinals: With concerns about the development of recent picks Gabe Watson and Alan Branch, the Cardinals had to be pleased to see Tennessee’s Dan Williams still on the board at No. 26. Williams was the most dominant defensive tackle in the SEC this past season, but some teams were nervous that he only elevated his game to this level as a senior. If the Cardinals can keep him motivated, they will have found a true steal in Williams.

St. Louis Rams: The Rams were on the phones talking trade up until they made the pick, but in the end they filled the need for a franchise quarterback in Sam Bradford. The club has to be concerned with Bradford’s inability to stay healthy in 2009, but there is no denying his talent. When protected, he’s shown the accuracy of an All-Pro.

San Francisco 49ers: With an established star in Frank Gore many casual fans might have thought the 49ers were among the best running teams in the league, but an inability to gain an inch on short yardage plays made addressing the offensive line a huge concern for Mike Singletary. Trading up to No. 11 to get Anthony Davis might have been an unnecessary move, as he likely would have been available to the 49ers at their original No. 13 selection. He provides the 49ers with a quality athlete in tandem with current left tackle Joe Staley. Having athletic tackles will help in Mike Iupati’s adjustment to the NFL’s speedier pass rushers. Few, if any presented Iupati’s power as a drive blocker.

Seattle Seahawks: Along with the 49ers, the Seahawks were the only team to enter the draft with two first round picks and successfully filled their two largest holes when talented players fell right into their lap. Seattle’s biggest concern was at left tackle considering the expected retirement of future Hall of Famer Walter Jones. Russell Okung was graded by many as the top offensive tackle in the draft and was a surprise to still be on the board at six. Similarly, with Seattle releasing free safety and team captain Deon Grant a month before the draft, the team was fortunate to have Texas’ Earl Thomas slip to them at No. 14. A classic ballhawk, he, like Okung, will start immediately.

Posted on: April 22, 2010 7:39 pm
 

Some talk Rams could trade Bradford post-pick

I've been told that the St. Louis Rams have been on the phone discussing trades for much of the day.

I'm being told that despite taking Sam Bradford, as expected, with the first overall pick, the Rams will continue to hold negotiations with teams following the pick.

This was last done in 2004 when the San Diego Chargers made Eli Manning the first overall pick but traded him moments later to the New York Giants for Philip Rivers.

The Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins, according to sources, remain interested.

Watch closely to see who these clubs take with the fourth and seventh overall selections, respectively. Should they do something odd, a trade for Bradford might still be in the works.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com