The dust from the NFL draft has finally settled and we’ve had a chance to let things sink in. Â We’ve all read the various “draft grades” handed out by various experts. Â The Rams brought home grades anywhere from A’s to C’s.
Lots of fans came out of the draft scratching our heads and left wondering what in the world???
Billy Devaney was on The Bernie Show yesterday and tried to explain himself and clear the air. Â I don’t think reading his responses tell the whole story. Â If you listened to the interview yesterday, it wasn’t so much what he said but more HOW he said it. Â He let out sighs, and sometimes, big sighs. Â Sighs of regret and frustration. Â At least that’s how it sounded to me. Â Maybe he was just tired to answering the same questions, I don’t know. Â There was a sense that he was trying not only to convince the fans and Bernie about how well the draft went but he was trying to convince himself.
Q: Overall how do you think the draft went?
It went as well as we could have expected.
Could we realistically have expected him to say anything else? Â He’s not going to say it went horribly, right?
Q: When asked about why a TE in the 2nd round:
Well as far as the TE, he’s (Lance Kendrick’s) a hybrid kind of guy that we think with his athletic ability and his speed he can cause a mismatches for the defenses. That’s what you’re always looking for.Â He’s an incredible blocker. This is an oversized receiver lined up there.Â He can block some, he’s not going to knock somebody doors down as a blocker but he’s a functional block and the defenses will have to decide how they cover him.Â Whether it’s with a linebacker or a DB in the game.Â He gives us a lot of flexibility in the game.Â He can score.Â He’s a big play guy.Â We’ve been talking about adding juice and big players to our offense.Â We happen to think that the TE will be able to do that.
Q: Why did they take Greg Salas in the 4th round right after taking Austin Pettis in the 3rd? Â They are basically the same type of receiver. Â Redundant?
As far as the receivers, yeah, they are much alike and that’s a good thing. Had them graded really really close as good football players.Â We really like Pettis obviously and when it was time for us to make our selection in the fourth round the value of Salas was too high to pass up.Â He’s another guy that’s going to create problems.Â He’s a tough inside receiver, he can play the outside as Pettis does so, I think it gives Josh a lot of flexibility as far as, coupled with the players that we have, Amendola and the rest of the receivers. Hopefully it causes problems for the defenses.
Q: How much of an influence did McDaniels have on 3-4 round selections?
Not so much with the receivers but I will say this the way he plans to utilize the TE’s. Â It certainly was an influence.Â There were other positions that we could have gone players that were graded close to Kendricks that may have been more situational type players.Â As much as we plan on having Kendricks on the field, that made it an easy choice to go in that direction.
Q: And my biggest question for Devaney: Did they try to get a back up running back?
As far as targeting or coming close yeah there was a guy specifically I had in mind.Â we got close, we got real close but we lost him.Â Believe me it wasn’t for lack of trying.Â It will be addressed, I promise.
Q: How hard were they trying to trade up? Â He really sounded defeated here.
We were trying.Â We were trying.Â We were working the phones extensively and couldn’t make it happen.
Q: Was not coming away with a RB your biggest disappointment in the 3 day draft?
I would have liked to have come away with one.Â Yeah, I would say that’s probably true.
Q: On why they didn’t take a RB in the 2nd round:
Here’s the only thing, and you’re right. Â We’re on the same page. Â Obviously we love the RB from Illinois, LeShoure. Â It was a good group, it was a deep group.Â If we had taken LeShoure in the 2nd round we were thinking, ok, if he’s here, no matter what people think Jackson is playing at a real high level, as good as ever.
So you have LeShoure here. You know how Jackson is, he doesn’t want to leave the field. Â So LeShoure carries the ball six times, seven times a game. 8 times if Jackson is healthy and really doesn’t give anything on special team. Â Or do you go another direction? Â Or are you going to play a guy that plays 50% of the snaps and contribute on the special teams. Â That’s what it always comes down to. Â You’ve got a weigh all those things.
Looks like many of us jumped the gun in terms of giving Devaney a difficult time with this. Â It was reassuring to hear that they tried and tried hard.
Q: So they chose players that will have an immediate impact?
That’s better way putting it – playing a lot right away. Â All those guys, yeah. Â I think I think they do have that potential to play and contribute immediately. Â That was part of our focus as with most teams. Â As long as this Â lockout is in affect we know how the an adverse effect on a lot of guys, the young guy’s ability to contribute right away. So we wanted to find guys that physically had the skills set certainly but also mentally they can learn a playbook in short order if it came down to that.
Q: Can Jermale Hines from OSU move up into the box and play more of a WLB?
Exactly. To be honest that is his forte. The closer to ball, closer to the line of scrimage. Â It’s best for for Hines.Â Â He’s a big physical run down strong safety type. Â We’ve had Craig Dahl played that position in and some packages with Spags. Â Stewart play some in that so this is a bigger body in there that can bang a lot better.
Q: What about Jonathan Nelson?
Nelson is a kind of the opposite. Â He’s your roaming center field kind of safety, more athletic kind of guy. Â So they’re both (special) teams guys. Â They’re not on the field right away. Â We plan on having them play on special teams while they’re learning the defense.
I’m glad Devaney was up front and honest (as he could be) about what was going on in the war room. Â Next year I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt before bashing them.
And all this draft grading that’s been going on non-stop since Saturday night. Â Enough! Â We won’t be able to definitively see anything until these guys have been in the league for a few years. Â Let’s revisit this breakdown in three years. Â Then and only then will we have concrete numbers and tape to determine how well the drafts really went.