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Jrry32 First Mock of February (02/09/2020)

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Well, it is officially the off-season. The Chiefs are Super Bowl champions. It's time to get the Rams back on that track!

Cut

OLB Clay Matthews

HB Malcolm Brown

With Brown, we expect Henderson to take a leap in Year 2, so we can let Brown walk. We let Matthews go to get younger at EDGE.

Restructure

QB Jared Goff ($10 million from roster bonus converted into a signing bonus)

DT Aaron Donald ($4 million from base salary converted into a signing bonus)

Re-sign

K Greg Zuerlein - 4 years $12 million

OT Andrew Whitworth - 1 year $10 million

OLB Dante Fowler Jr. (Franchise Tag)

QB Blake Bortles - 2 years $5 million

All Practice Squad Players

All ERFAs

Yes, we're letting Littleton walk. I don't take pleasure in that, but we have to make hard decisions. Littleton's price tag is too high for me. He's a good but not elite ILB. Whitworth has announced that he wants to return. It makes logical sense to bring him back. It'll give Noteboom additional time to recover from his injury. We franchise Fowler with the plan to extend him.

Trades

Rams trade WR Robert Woods

Jets trade Round 3 Pick #4 and 2021 5th round pick

The Jets badly need a WR and have three third round picks. I know some will disagree with the trade, but I think this is the time to make it. With Kupp, Cooks, Higbee, Everett, Reynolds, Gurley, and a rookie WR, we have plenty of options in the passing game.

Rams trade CB Nickell Robey-Coleman

Bengals trade C/OG Billy Price

The Bengals' slot CB, Darqueze Dennard, is a FA. NRC is still a quality slot CB who fits Cincy's scheme. With Ramsey, Hill, Long, and Darious Williams, we have enough depth and talent at CB to trade NRC and save a few bucks on his salary. Price has been a failure for the Bengals, and they have replaced him with Trey Hopkins at Center. We take a shot on him as a reclamation project.

Raiders trade Round 3 Pick #16, Round 3 Pick #17, and Round 4 Pick #15

Rams trade Round 3 Pick #4 and Round 3 Pick #20

Raiders trade up in the third round.

Free Agency

AP_19231081765603.jpg?w=525

Stephen Weatherly OLB - 2 years $10 million

Weatherly has been stuck behind Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter in Minnesota, but I think he's an underrated player. At 6'5" 265, he seems big for a 3-4 OLB at first glance, but he's an athletic big man who played 3-4 OLB in college. Personally, I think he's an underrated player who could break out if given a larger role. He's a really good run defender on the edge who has the athleticism to drop into coverage when needed. His pass rush potential isn't entirely clear at this stage, but he has shown flashes when given PT in Minnesota. I think he has the potential to be a real bargain for us.

NFL Draft

Round 2 Pick #20 - Tyler Biadasz C/OG Wisconsin

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqP4rxCTQmc

Analysis: I continue to see him falling to this part of the second in mock after mock. If he does, we should sprint to the podium. Biadasz is exactly what we need on the interior. He's a country strong technician who just consistently executes and wins. The closest things to weaknesses he has are average length and athleticism.

Round 3 Pick #16 - Tyler Johnson WR Minnesota

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJQGkCL8wjc

Analysis: I think Tyler Johnson could be the Cooper Kupp of this class. He's not going to blow the doors off in the 40, but he's a polished technician with a high football IQ, great quickness, and strong hands. He understands the nuances of route running and how to create throwing windows for his QB. I think he's a guy who can produce from Day 1.

Round 3 Pick #17 - David Woodward ILB Utah State

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TP0VczsfUeg

Analysis: I've watched a lot of LBs in this class, and I think Zack Baun is the only LB projected outside of the first round who offers the three-down skill-set that Woodward does. Woodward has some areas of the game to polish up, but his ability to cover, run sideline to sideline, and play through blockers in the running game make him a rare commodity. I'm shocked by the lack of hype around him.

Round 4 Pick #15 - Antonio Gibson OW/KR Memphis

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKm9IkvBopI

Analysis: Gibson is the first big risk I'm taking in this draft. The plan would be for him to play HB. He split his time between WR and HB at Memphis. He's an explosive player who is very dangerous with the ball in his hands. I think he has the potential to be a David Johnson (before the injuries) type talent if he develops at HB. But he'll need some time. Until that point, he's a gadget player and a KR.

Round 4 Pick #20 - Devin Asiasi TE UCLA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xgn1JYgWcRQ

Analysis: Asiasi is really flying under the radar right now. In his only year in college as a starter (as a junior), he posted 44 catches for 641 yards and 4 TDs. Listed at 6'3" 260, Asiasi moves like a guy 20 pounds lighter. He runs crisp routes and shows no fear in traffic. As a blocker, the potential and attributes are there, but his motor ran hot and cold in college.

Round 4 Pick #34 - Evan Weaver ILB California

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d13Z-MaE6a8

Analysis: Weaver is expected to fall down the board on draft day because of his physical limitations. He posted 181 tackles as a senior at Cal after starting his career playing DE. At 6'2" 235, Weaver has the size and strength to bang between the tackles. He possesses outstanding instincts and is a reliable tackler. He's also an alert zone defender. What he lacks is sideline to sideline speed and the athleticism to hold up against HBs in man coverage.

Round 6 Pick #20 - Josiah Coatney DL Ole Miss

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgxYXZY7lgI

Analysis: Coatney has a lot of intriguing tools and could play all over our front (from 0-Tech to 5-Tech). He is quite strong and heavy-handed. He shows a more diverse set of pass rush moves than you expect, and his push-pull move can be quite devastating due to how jarring his punch is. He needs to play with more consistent leverage and work not to get washed out in the flow on zone-stretch plays, but the kid has a lot of potential and versatility.

Round 7 Pick #20 - Bravvion Roy NT Baylor

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXUf1qUmvYQ

Analysis: Roy is an intriguing player at 6'1" 332. He posted 61 tackles, 13 TFLs, and 5.5 sacks as a 3-4 NT for Baylor. Roy has the quickness and motor to move horizontally and disrupt zone stretch plays. He's strong, heavy-handed, and has surprising first step acceleration off the LOS. The problems I saw in his film were his lack of consistency with his pad level, tiring late in games, short arms, and struggles finding the ball at times. I think he's a worthwhile developmental NT.

Projected Starters

QB: Jared Goff

HB: Todd Gurley

WR: Brandin Cooks

WR: Cooper Kupp

WR: Josh Reynolds

TE: Tyler Higbee

LT: Andrew Whitworth

LG: Tyler Biadasz v. Austin Corbett v. Bobby Evans v. Billy Price

C: Tyler Biadasz v. Austin Corbett v. Billy Price v. Brian Allen

RG: David Edwards

RT: Rob Havenstein

SDE: Sebastian Joseph-Day

NT: Greg Gaines

UT: Aaron Donald

OLB: Dante Fowler Jr.

ILB: David Woodward v. Evan Weaver v. Micah Kiser v. Kenny Young v. Troy Reeder v. Travin Howard

ILB: David Woodward v. Evan Weaver v. Micah Kiser v. Kenny Young v. Troy Reeder v. Travin Howard

OLB: Stephen Weatherly

LCB: Jalen Ramsey

RCB: Troy Hill

SLCB: David Long Jr.

FS: John Johnson III

SS: Taylor Rapp

K: Greg Zuerlein

P: Johnny Hekker

LS: Jake McQuaide

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Grabbing Johnson would take some of the sting about losing Woods. Those first 3 picks seem to be classic McVay/Snead guys. I definitely don't want to commit to Fowler for a LT deal but could stomach keeping him on the tag. 

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I'm cautiously reserved about tagging Fowler, if only because even after last offseason's HOU/SF/KC business I hesitate to believe that tag-and-trades are going to be a huge thing.  And I'll be honest, I'm not sure I expect Fowler to be worth it to us, given the role I expect the OLB's to be asked to play in the new scheme, for the price he's likely to command - and that his agent will be confident he could get elsewhere.  For me it's almost all on a cost vs ROI matter, which we have to be mindful of with the kind of contracts we'll be carrying on the books for the foreseeable future.

You know I'm a fan of Woodward, and I think he shows enough on tape to make up for (in what has typically been the preference of coordinators running Fangio's scheme) what may be average-to-above-average athleticism - when the preference is typically put on plus-athleticism at ILB.  The weaknesses to his game you listed are two of the main things this scheme asks of its ILB's.  Justin Strnad, for instance, I think is likely half-a-season to a year away in his development from being starter-capable, but he's got the makings of being a really good fit as the kind of ILB Fangio has favored (fantastic gap-shooter, rangy, very good COD, high football IQ).

Kupp was also my working comp for some time for Johnson in this class.

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2 hours ago, The LBC said:

I'm cautiously reserved about tagging Fowler, if only because even after last offseason's HOU/SF/KC business I hesitate to believe that tag-and-trades are going to be a huge thing.  And I'll be honest, I'm not sure I expect Fowler to be worth it to us, given the role I expect the OLB's to be asked to play in the new scheme, for the price he's likely to command - and that his agent will be confident he could get elsewhere.  For me it's almost all on a cost vs ROI matter, which we have to be mindful of with the kind of contracts we'll be carrying on the books for the foreseeable future.

You know I'm a fan of Woodward, and I think he shows enough on tape to make up for (in what has typically been the preference of coordinators running Fangio's scheme) what may be average-to-above-average athleticism - when the preference is typically put on plus-athleticism at ILB.  The weaknesses to his game you listed are two of the main things this scheme asks of its ILB's.  Justin Strnad, for instance, I think is likely half-a-season to a year away in his development from being starter-capable, but he's got the makings of being a really good fit as the kind of ILB Fangio has favored (fantastic gap-shooter, rangy, very good COD, high football IQ).

Kupp was also my working comp for some time for Johnson in this class.

He's an awful run defender. I tried with Strnad. I couldn't get past his inability to take on blocks and tendency to completely misread plays and fill the wrong gap. He's a great athlete, but you need more than that. I also think Woodward is a better athlete than you're crediting him for being.

As for Fowler, I'm not tagging and trading him in this mock. I'm keeping him for at least a year. I think he's earned it.

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1 hour ago, jrry32 said:

He's an awful run defender. I tried with Strnad. I couldn't get past his inability to take on blocks and tendency to completely misread plays and fill the wrong gap. He's a great athlete, but you need more than that. I also think Woodward is a better athlete than you're crediting him for being.

As for Fowler, I'm not tagging and trading him in this mock. I'm keeping him for at least a year. I think he's earned it.

Strnad can improve against the run.  He already showed marked improvement from 2018 to 2019 in terms of decision-making.  He needs to learn to use his hands better, primarily to stack and shed, but really just in terms of how to take on guys, rather than trying to avoid them like a RB would.  That's very teachable.  Like I said, he's 6 months to a year away in terms of development before he'd be ready - I was proposing him as an alternate to Weaver, who (thanks laptop touchpad random-selecting) was the guy I'd initially written the "weaknesses in his game" bit, and that somehow got remove.  I'm in favor of Woodward, but if we're doubling up on ILB's, I'm going for the guy with the ceiling - because of the athleticism - of Strnad over a floor guy like Weaver.

And with Fowler, again, I'm not debating that he's earned the money... in most other schemes, I just don't think that the scheme we suspect we're going to see next season places such a demand on someone with Fowler's strengths (compared to the next guy up) as to merit the kind of APY Fowler's going to seek long-term or earn on the franchise tag.  I'd be on board with tagging him with the aim of trading him somewhere (Atlanta, perhaps, since they have two 2nd's and if not willing to part with one of those, they might be more willing to part with their natural 3rd); I just saw last year's tag-and-trades as exceptions rather than the new rule.

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7 minutes ago, The LBC said:

Strnad can improve against the run.  He already showed marked improvement from 2018 to 2019 in terms of decision-making.  He needs to learn to use his hands better, primarily to stack and shed, but really just in terms of how to take on guys, rather than trying to avoid them like a RB would.  That's very teachable.  Like I said, he's 6 months to a year away in terms of development before he'd be ready - I was proposing him as an alternate to Weaver, who (thanks laptop touchpad random-selecting) was the guy I'd initially written the "weaknesses in his game" bit, and that somehow got remove.  I'm in favor of Woodward, but if we're doubling up on ILB's, I'm going for the guy with the ceiling - because of the athleticism - of Strnad over a floor guy like Weaver.

And with Fowler, again, I'm not debating that he's earned the money... in most other schemes, I just don't think that the scheme we suspect we're going to see next season places such a demand on someone with Fowler's strengths (compared to the next guy up) as to merit the kind of APY Fowler's going to seek long-term or earn on the franchise tag.  I'd be on board with tagging him with the aim of trading him somewhere (Atlanta, perhaps, since they have two 2nd's and if not willing to part with one of those, they might be more willing to part with their natural 3rd); I just saw last year's tag-and-trades as exceptions rather than the new rule.

I can't agree. When Fangio was in SF, he had Aldon Smith when his defense was at its best. In Chicago, they traded for Khalil Mack. He then went to Denver and inherited Von and Chubb. If Staley is like Fangio, he's certainly capable of manufacturing sacks without a top edge rusher, but Fangio always did well at helping his top edge rushers overperform too. I think Fowler could be a terror in that scheme. Remember the Aldon Smith/Justin Smith stunt? Imagine that with Donald's explosion and power and Fowler's speed. 

As for Strnad, replacing Weaver makes more sense. I did consider him there. I ultimately chose Weaver because I was concerned about Strnad's instincts. Plus, I think we need all the help we can get at ILB, and Weaver offers the potential to contribute immediately. 

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I like it alot. I'd like to see safety depth addressed behind Johnson and Rapp though given injury history. Only criticism. 

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Love the draft, hate the trades.

Love Biadasz and Evan Weaver 

The value Woods provides for us is more than the trades he will bring in 

I think we should also keep NRC. 

We should only tag Fowler if we are for sure going to trade him 

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On 2/11/2020 at 7:38 AM, BStanRamFan said:

I like it alot. I'd like to see safety depth addressed behind Johnson and Rapp though given injury history. Only criticism. 

Yeah, I was hoping to address the DL depth sooner and grab a safety. Just never found the right spot to do it. 

23 hours ago, rocky_rams said:

Love the draft, hate the trades.

Love Biadasz and Evan Weaver 

The value Woods provides for us is more than the trades he will bring in 

I think we should also keep NRC. 

We should only tag Fowler if we are for sure going to trade him 

With Ramsey, Hill, Long, Williams, and NRC, we have a log jam at CB and could use the money and PT trading him opens up.

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