Who the St. Louis Rams select with the No. 1 overall pick will have ramifications in the NFC West race as this team continues to rebuild and work its way out of the cellar of the division.
Rams general manager Billy Devaney got a big laugh from reporters after his response when asked about a prediction from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who guaranteed the Rams will select Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford with the No. 1 overall pick.
“We feel really good about the health status of Sam Bradford now with Dr. Schefter giving him a clean bill of health and guaranteeing our pick,” quipped Devaney. “So we’re on to the second round right now.”
Kidding aside, Devaney understands that the Rams have to get this one right, and with the team’s uncertainty at quarterback most experts believe they will ultimately settle on Bradford or perhaps Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen at the top spot.
Devaney acknowledged that those two, along with defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh out of Nebraska and Oklahoma’s Gerald McCoy were the team’s top considerations at this point.
Making things more complicated for the Rams, St. Louis has recently drafted two defensive linemen in the first round, drafting defensive lineman Ada Carriker 13th overall in 2007 and Chris Long second overall in 2008.
However, Devaney said his team wants to make sure they go through the entire evaluation process and get the best valued player with the pick, and don’t force a quarterback because they need one.
“If it gets down to it, and we think these two defensive tackles are far and away the highest rated players in the draft, you can’t force it and say, ‘Hey, we’ve got to get a quarterback,’ and drop way down in your value. And that’s what we’re trying to figure out right now.”
The Rams still have quarterback Marc Bulger under contract, but they likely will not pay him the $8.5 million he’s due to make in 2010, so Bulger would likely have to restructure his contract to stay in St. Louis. Bulger reportedly cleaned out his locker at the end of the season.
Philadelphia quarterback Michael Vick also has been speculated as a possibility in St. Louis, but Devaney said he has had no conversations with the Eagles about Vick, and alluded to the league’s tampering rules in specifically talking about players under contract with another team.
Devaney also addressed the speculation that they have been talking about trading the pick and moving down, saying that it’s too early for that kind of talk with the beginning of free agency still a week away.
“There hasn’t been any phone calls to any team whatsoever,” Devaney said. “I would think eventually that will happen, but it’s too early.”
Asked about the possibility of moving running back Steven Jackson, Devaney scoffed at the idea.
“We need more players like Steven Jackson,” he said. “We can’t be poop-canning him out of the building. We gotta more guys like that in. No, there is no talk about trading Steven Jackson and there won’t be.”
As far as measurables on the top quarterbacks, Bradford came in at 6-foot-4 ½, 236 pounds, which is up from 222 pounds during the season. Clausen was 6-2 ½, 222 pounds and Texas quarterback Colt McCoy was shorter than expected, at 6-1 1/8, 216 pounds.