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my time has come
Back and forth the Rams supposedly went as the day of the draft approached. Glenn Dorsey or Chris Long?

Two days before the draft, coach Scott Linehan and player personnel chief Billy Devaney said the pair were rated so close together, either was a possibility. It later was reported that Dorsey was No. 1 on the team's board and Long slightly behind.

When push came to shove, and trade options for the second pick in the draft diminished, the Rams pulled the trigger on Long to upgrade an aging defensive end position and add potential leadership to the locker room.

It was said that defensive coordinator Jim Haslett favored Dorsey, and he didn't deny that. However, Haslett said he loves Dorsey but a great DE prospect is hard to come by and he respects the desicion and that both would have been good picks.

While Linehan anointed Long the team's starter at right end, Long knows he has a lot of work to do.

One constant theme throughout the draft was the Rams eyeing players with character and a love for the game. Early in the second round, the Rams selected the first receiver taken in the draft and opened some eyes with the choice of Houston's Donnie Avery. In addition to outstanding speed and big-play ability, he ALSO has great character and shows it on and off the field constantly.

Best Pick:   DE Chris Long. The second overall pick in the draft better be the team's best pick. He is expected to step right in and start on the right side, but coaches love his versatility, and he could be used at several positions, if necessary. While his 40 speed wasn't great, his 10-yard splits were in line with the some of the faster pass rushers in the draft.

Could Surprise:   WR Keenan Burton (Kentucky). The Rams traded up to get Burton, who has excellent hands, runs good routes and has smarts the Rams like. The key will be staying healthy, which was a problem during his college career. He will also be considered as the kickoff returner.


A closer look at the Rams' picks:

Round 1/2-Chris Long, DE, 6-3, 279, Virginia

On a team that totaled 5.5 sacks from its defensive ends last season, Long is expected to jump right in and start at right end. He hates the term high motor, but Long is just that: A relentless competitor in the mod of his Pro Football Hall of Fame father, Howie Long.

Round 2/33-Donnie Avery, WR, 5-11, 192, Houston

The Rams love his speed, an attribute lacking in their receiver corps. Avery has the ability to separate from defenders and just has to become more consistent catching the ball. But he should be able to provide the defense-stretching speed the Rams lost when Kevin Curtis left as a free agent last year.

Round 3/65-John Greco, T, 6-5, 326, Toledo

Some view him as a guard because of lack of athleticism and short arms, but the Rams love his toughness and believe he can compete immediately at right tackle. He is versatile enough to play guard, if he struggles too much at tackle.

Round 4/101-Justin King, CB, 5-11, 192, Penn State

Didn't become a cornerback on a full-time basis until 2006 after starting his career as a wide receiver. The Rams love his speed and believe coaching will help him develop into a good cover guy. Many projections had him as a second-round pick.

Round 4/128-Keenan Burton, WR, 6-0, 202, Kentucky

Has outstanding speed and scored 25 career touchdowns. Injuries have held him back, playing his senior season on a bad ankle and then undergoing knee surgery after the season that kept him out of the Senior Bowl. Could be a fourth-round steal if he can stay healthy.

Round 5/157-Roy Schuening, OG, 6-4, 308, Oregon State

Another player the Rams like for his toughness and love for the game. Started 50 consecutive games in college, and should provide depth on a line riddled with injury last season.

Round 7/228-Chris Chamberlain, WLB, 6-2, 226, Tulsa

Very productive in college with 165 tackles as a senior, but could be undersized at linebacker. Some projections had him as a strong safety at the next level, but for now the Rams will put him on the weak side.

Round 7/252-David Vobora, SLB, 6-1, 236, Idaho

A four-year starter, Vobora was very productive and manages to often be around the ball. He should be able to contribute on special teams, and is ticketed for competition on the strong side.


• DE Chris Long, the Rams' first-round pick, was asked if he has a preference of what number he will wear with the team. Long wore No. 91 in college, but that belongs to Rams DE Leonard Little. However, Long said there's no way it will be No. 75, the number worn by his father Howie in the NFL. Asked if that would be a distraction, Long said, "Yeah it would. I think that I am cool with the pressure, but there is no need to shovel it on myself."

• Steve Ortmayer was the general manager of the Rams from 1995-96 when Rich Brooks was the head coach and before the hiring of Dick Vermeil.

When Brooks became coach at the University of Kentucky, he hired Ortmayer as special teams coach. Ironically, Ortmayer was partially responsible for the Rams' selection of WR Keenan Burton in the fourth round of the draft.

• The Rams hope third-round pick John Greco will be able to come in and compete with Alex Barron at right tackle. Barron has been durable and solid, but at times his passion for the game has been questioned. Coaches love Greco's toughness, despite not having the physical tools of Barron.

• For the second consecutive year, the Rams drafted a cornerback on the second day of the draft that began his career as a receiver. In 2007, it was third-round pick Jonathan Wade. This year's it fourth-round pick Justin King.

Linehan also noted that King has graduated from school and was on the Dean's list. Again, Linehan is picking good football players but at the same time, great people. We may not win 12 games this year but we sure as hell aint gonna be the Cincinnati Bengels.


- Jay (StLDieHard)
** aka Skip Schumaker **


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