Free agency is well into it’s process. The Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns have been digging deep into their pockets to collect the players they think will make them a better team. The Rams signed former Tennessee Titan tight end Jared Cook, to a five year 35 million dollar deal. ‘Experts’ have had mixed reviews about this pick up. Some suggest that it’s a great fit and that he will help benefit Sam Bradford’s young career, while others suggest that 35 million dollars is too much to throw at a player whose never caught more than 50 balls. For some reason, football fans are obsessed with new free agent signings within their football team, while many forget to care about re-signing important players that are currently on their team’s roster. The most successful teams over the years i.e. Ravens, Packers, Steelers, Giants and Patriots, have made very little splashes annually in the free agency pool. This goes to show that re-signing current players and drafting well is how teams win the Lombardi Trophy. This is why the Rams’ re-signing of defensive linemen Jermelle Cudjo and William Hayes has been the best news of this offseason thus far, while the departures of Danny Amendola and Steven Jackson has been the worst. While it is very hard not to get excited when Rams sign new players (Jake Long, anybody?), it’s the draft which is where the Superbowl is made.
Two players will be analyzed weekly (one from defense and one from offense) based on their current form.
This isn’t a mock draft. This is simply an analysis of high valued players that will enter the 2013 NFL draft, so that readers are more knowledgeable of each high draft prospect come draft time.
Kyle Long (6 foot 6, 315 pounds)
Offensive Tackle/Guard (Oregon)
Jake Long has been the talk of the town for Ram fans over the past five days. Recently it has been reported that Long has left St.Louis without a deal and many suggest that this means that the Rams are no longer on his radar. Interested teams won’t be willing to give him his 11 million dollar deal that he thinks he’s worth, due to the constant injuries he has suffered over the years. Long wouldn’t have left St.Louis without a deal to ponder about. Rams would’ve offered him a deal lower than the 11 million that he believes he’s worth and while he meets and greets other teams, he will jump on board with the team who offers him the most. Will the Rams still take on an early draft pick to fix up the offensive line if Jake Long decides to be a Ram?
Kyle Long would be a fantastic addition to the Rams team. Not only is he the brother of St.Louis Ram defensive end Chris Long, but Kyle Long brings a fierce competitive streak and is very versatile on the line. If Jake Long were to be the Rams left tackle, this would move current left tackle Roger Saffold to the right side and Kyle Long to the guard position. It has been mentioned before that if Jake Long were to be signed, Roger Saffold will either ask to be traded, or will want to test the following free agent market in 2014. Either way, this means that the Rams must find an answer at the right tackle position. Kyle Long possesses the size and strength to move defensive ends off their feet. Long has amazing flexibility for his size, which allows him to get low, twist his hips and use his long arms to pursue defenders during the play. Although Kyle Long is a physical freak, the one downfall he does have is that he lacks getting downfield to lay a solid block on linebackers.
Draft range – second/third round
Jonathan Cyprien (6 foot 0, 217 pounds)
Strong Safety (Florida International)
It will be interesting to see how the Rams solve their safety woes this offseason. The Rams held a meeting with current Detroit Lion safety Louis Delmas and was reported that he was only offered a one year deal, due to his knee issues from the past. Unless Jeff Fisher believes that either Rodney McLeod or Matt Daniels can step in and be a starter for the Rams, expect a free agency pick up. Experience is necessary for the safety positions, because if they don’t pick up a safety in the free agency, the Rams will be going into the 2013 season with either Rodney McLeod or Matt Daniels and a player from the 2013 draft, or both from the 2013 draft. None of which will have an NFL start.
When you first look at Cyprien, you instantly notice a certain thickness in his build. He looks like a weak-side linebacker, who can cover like a free safety. Cyprien can lay a massive hit on the ball carrier and can cover the slot receiver and tight end exceptionally well. He is a really intense player. He was the vocal leader of the defense and he brings an exciting and noticable passion to the field. When he lays hits, he lets you know about it. He’s the sort of guy who will get under the under offense’s skin, without drawing a penalty. The biggest concern about his game is whether or not he’ll be able to keep up with the NFL pace. Florida International to the NFL is a much bigger jump than most projected first rounders have to make. So it will be interesting to see if Cyprien can hold his own and keep up with the fast paced NFL.
Draft range – late first/mid second round
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Follow the links to previous Ramblin Fan Draft Previews:
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