Mardy Gilyard

2010 Draft Grades: Rams

I wholeheartedly agree with the Rams decision to draft Sam Bradford. While I had Ndamukong Suh at No. 1 on my draft board, I believe Bradford was the right fit for the Rams. He’s a legitimate franchise quarterback and you simply don’t pass up on guys like that when A.J. Feeley is the top quarterback on your roster.

What I love most about Bradford is his attitude and work ethic. Look around the league at the top quarterbacks – Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning – all of them out-work their teammates on a daily basis. Talented quarterbacks come along all the time, but if you don’t have the right attitude you won’t make it in this league. Just ask Ryan Leaf, Matt Leinart, JaMarcus Russell, J.P. Losman, etc. Bradford has the physical tools and the right mindset to be a great one.

I like the Rams selection of Rodger Saffold, but how much I like it will depend on where they play him. I really think he’s best suited to play guard in the NFL. He could be an adequate right tackle, but I just don’t think he has the quickness to live up to his draft status if that’s where they end up playing him.

Jerome Murphy is a great fit for the Rams. Aside from O.J. Atogwe there isn’t much worth keeping in their secondary. He definitely has a chance to beat out either Ronald Bartell or Eric King for a starting job.

The Rams needed to land a receiver who can play immediately and Mardy Gilyard definitely can. However, he just isn’t the type of receiver they needed. They already have a number of undersized receivers (Donnie Avery, Keenan Burton, Danny Amendola, Brandon Gibson) and they really could have used a bigger target for Bradford. Marcus Easley, who went 107th overall to the Bills, would have been a better selection there.

Mike Hoomanawanui [nicknamed uh-oh] is a blocking tight end. He isn’t a future fantasy football star, but he can certainly be a nice piece of the puzzle in St. Louis.

Hall Davis is a developmental prospect. He’ll likely be brought along slowly, seeing minimal playing time early in his career. He’s a similar type of player to Chris Long, and could end up being a valuable backup for that reason.

Fendi Onobun is about as raw as they come, but he has the talent to be a great receiver. He’s a former basketball player at Arizona, and the Rams are hoping they can develop him into the next Antonio Gates.

I’m not a fan of the selection of Eugene Sims. He just isn’t ready for the NFL. He currently doesn’t have the size or strength to play defensive end, but he’s too tall to play linebacker in the Rams 4-3 defense. I’ll be somewhat surprised if the makes the roster.

Marquis Johnson is a great 7th round pick. He has limited upside, but can add depth to their secondary which is what they needed most at this point in the draft.

George Selvie was worth the risk in the 7th round, but I don’t know if the Rams should expect much from him. After dominating the Big East as a sophomore, he just hasn’t been the same player. He just doesn’t have the athleticism or strength to be an impact player in the NFL.

Josh Hull has the potential to be a solid contributor on special teams. The Rams are fairly thin at linebacker which could allow him to earn a spot as James Laurinaitis’ backup.

This was a great draft for the Rams to get them pointed in the right direction. They had so many holes to fill, and they really needed to come out of this draft with a number of players who can step right into a starting role. If everything goes their way they could end up with as many as four immediate starters and certainly will have no fewer than two (Bradford and Saffold). They only thing holding them back from a solid A is the fact that they reached for a few guys to fill specific holes. A team with so little talent really shouldn’t limit themselves to addressing a specific position at any point in the draft.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Draft Grades - 2010, Rams Comments Off

Senior Bowl Practice Notes: Tuesday

It was an eventful day at the Senior Bowl. A number of players made statements – both good and bad – about their draft stock.

What stood out most to me were the struggles of two small school offensive linemen. Both Mike Iupati and Vladimir Ducasse struggled throughout the day.

Iupati look fairly good when lined up at guard, dominating Purdue DT Mike Neal and Louisiana Tech DT D’Anthony Smith in one-on-one drills. But when he moved out to tackle he really struggled. At one point Cal DT Tyson Alualu bull rushed Iupati and knocked him on his back. Then later in the day in a battle of small-school prospects Arkansas State DE Alex Carrington tossed Iupati to the ground effortlessly. Iupati remains the top guard on my draft board, but he no longer looks like a 1st-round pick in my mind.

Ducasse also struggled and did far more damage to his stock than Iupati. Ducasse didn’t enter with the same hype, but there were those that felt he had a chance to sneak into the 1st round with a strong performance. He certainly has the size for the position, but he’s got a lot of work to do to catch up to the guys who have been playing in the FBS. Ducasse lined up at both guard and tackle and struggled in both positions. His footwork was poor at both positions and he played too upright. Michigan DE Brandon Graham took advantage and breezed past him with minimal effort. After today’s performance he’ll have to work hard to earn even an early 3rd-round grade.

Speaking of Brandon Graham… wow. He looked very impressive today. I don’t think I saw a single lineman get the better of him. There were times when they fought to a stalemate, but Graham was never the loser. He looked great against Ducasse but really stood out against Utah OT Zane Beadles. On consecutive reps he used a simple speed rush and then a spin move to easily get past Beadles. He made a strong case to receive a 1st-round grade.

Another note on Graham, according to Will Spencer of DraftBreakdown.com he was particularly excited to speak to the Ravens. Here are two of Will’s tweets on it… 1st tweet, 2nd tweet.

Alex Carrington was another lineman that looked very good. I already mentioned that he dominated Mike Iupati, but he looked good throughout the day. He’s tall and very athletic and appears to have excellent upper body strength. Its still early – we’ve really only seen him excel in pass rush drills – but he could earn a 2nd-round grade.

A few other quick notes:
- Rutgers CB Devin McCourty struggled when in press coverage today. He just doesn’t seem to have the quick feet or the strength to play near the line of scrimmage. Though he does have the speed to make up mistakes. He also got his hands on a number of passes, showing good leaping ability.

- Cincinnati WR Mardy Gilyard looked very good. In possibly the best matchup of North squad receivers and corners he burned Cal CB Syd’Quan Thompson.

- Speaking of Thompson, he looked good throughout the day. I am very impressed with his physical play. His physical nature will help ease team’s concerns about his lack of size.

- I was impressed with Clemson WR Jacoby Ford throughout the season, but he didn’t stand out at all today. I really expected him to burn some of these cornerbacks with his sprinter’s speed but it just didn’t happen. Although I will say he has very good hands and adjusts to the ball well. He made a great catch on a pass that was tipped by Devin McCourty.

- Ohio State S Kurt Coleman struggled in pass coverage. His stock definitely has taken a blow this week.

- Virginia S/CB Chris Cook has great size and plays very physical when lined up at cornerback, but I was concerned he wouldn’t have the speed for the position. So far, however, it hasn’t been an issue.

- Notre Dame C Eric Olsen had a terrible day. I felt bad for him watching him get pushed around time after time. He simply couldn’t stop anyone’s bull rush. He weighed in at 310 pounds, so he isn’t undersized. He just doesn’t have the strength to compete.

- Fresno State RB Lonyae Miller looked very poor in blocking drills. He’s a big, physical running back and someone with his size needs to be able to block to earn a roster spot at the next level.

- Oregon RB LeGarrett Blount also had issues blocking. Although from watching his feeble attempts it looked as though he hadn’t even been taught how before. When someone looks that bad, sometimes its not such a bad thing cause it gives you hope that it can easily be fixed with some simple coaching.

- Unfortunately I didn’t catch the South squad practice so no Tebow updates today. I’ll have full reports on both squads tomorrow.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2010 NFL Draft Comments Off