Thursday night, Rams coach Jeff Fisher gave defensive line coach Mike Waufle an early Christmas present, gifting him with an exceptional package of size and strength in Michael Brockers. Friday night, Santa was even more generous, doling out gifts for WR coach Ray Sherman, defensive backs coach Chuck Cecil, and RB coach Ben Sirmans.
Each one gets to unwrap an enticing package of skills, but each gift comes with it a challenge as well - assembly is required.
The four players selected by the Rams in the second and third rounds - WR Brian Quick of Appalachian State, CB Janorris Jenkins of Florida (by way of Northern Alabama), RB Isaiah Pead of Cincinnati, and CB Trumaine Johnson of Montana - each represents something of a project for the Rams' coaching staff. But each one has skills to make an immediate impact on the team's fortunes for 2012.
When Fisher assembled his veteran staff of position coaches, it was reasonable to expect that he would bet heavily on them as his new team's greatest asset. So far in the draft, that's exactly what we're seeing. And with a full offseason to work with, expect significant returns from this group, as well as last year's crop of underdeveloped rookies.
Let's break down the picks:
Pick 33: WR Brian Quick, Appalachian State
Firstly, let's get over ourselves. Most of us who developed pre-draft crushes on various receivers (hello, Michael Floyd and Marvin Jones) are a far cry from NFL-level talent evaluators. And wide receiver is the single-most difficult position to evaluate in the NFL Draft. By far.
While you can generally feel pretty safe drafting a player from a power conference (Big Ten linemen, SEC defensive players, USC running backs, etc.), wide receivers simply do not obey those rules. Just look at the points of origin of the top ten WRs to ever play the game. Only two came from so-called "power" programs.
Jerry Rice - Mississippi Valley State
Terrell Owens - UT Chattanooga
Isaac Bruce - Memphis
Tim Brown - Notre Dame
Randy Moss - Marshall
Marvin Harrison - Syracuse
James Lofton - Stanford
Cris Carter - Ohio State
Henry Ellard - Fresno State
Torry Holt - NC State
Two of those top tens, the twin towers of the Greatest Show era Rams, were on stage to read Brian Quick's name. Talk about having big shoes to fill. But Ray Sherman goes one further, anointing Quick as "the next Terrell Owens," writes Yahoo's Mike Silver from his vantage point inside the Rams' war room.
"I see a lot of similarities to Terrell Owens," Sherman said Thursday evening. "The way the kid goes and gets the ball, the physicality, the desire … he has a chance to be special, no doubt."
For what it's worth, noted NFL Films tape-grinder Greg Cosell loves Quick as well. But this pick doesn't go from projection to reality without Sherman's steady hand. Time for him to make his lofty words come true.
One way we should be able to immediately judge Quick's progress - the number of targets Sam Bradford feeds him. Sam is a talent bellwether - he consistently overtargets whoever he thinks is the most talented player on the roster. First, it was Mark Clayton. Then, it was Danny Amendola. And last year, Brandon Lloyd earned buckets of balls while the supporting cast languished. If Quick earns early targets, it should only quicken (see what I did there) his development.
Pick 39: CB Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama
We can bury the four pillars with this pick, but we apparently can't bury discussion of the four pillars. It is the de rigueur line of commentary on this pick - talented, but dangerous. If everything goes right with this draft, the Rams will have added both talent and danger up and down the board. In that sense, this may be forever remembered as "the Janoris Jenkins draft."
Obvious comparisons will be made to Pacman Jones, another former Jeff Fisher draft pick. But a more intriguing connection might be his new partner in the backfield, Cortland Finnegan. Finnegan is a role model hooligan, if you can wrap your head around that contradiction, an utterly fearless player who apologizes to no one for anything, but one who believes absolutely in his coaching staff.
Rams GM Les Snead admits to the need to commit a little extra attention when it comes to Jenkins, saying "We'll spend more energy trying to make Janoris successful then we might do another player" (via @RamsRadio).
That can work as long as the player is receptive, and as long as you don't create a locker room that has one standard for most guys, but a different standard for your "wayward boys." Lawrence Phillips is an example of the philosophy gone wrong, but Fisher has a track record of getting productive time out of less-than-model citizens. And if he can tap into Jenkins' abundent talent, the Rams essentially have a fourth first-rounder from their bounty of picks from the Redskins.
In the above video isolating Jenkins against Alabama, he completely shuts down Julio Jones in press coverage, chops his way through screening receivers to shorten plays, and even bear-wrestles Trent Richardson down on an inside run. This is a fearless player that makes the Rams' secondary better and meaner in a fell swoop.
This was a gut pick, but one that places inherent trust in veteran coach Chuck Cecil, and in Fisher's ability to steward a wide-ranging flock that includes more than its share of so-called black sheep.
Pick 50 (via trade with Chicago): RB Isaiah Pead, Cincinnati
Pead is a player that RamsHerd readers should already be pretty familiar with: we wrote Pead up extensively after picking him early in the third round of the NFL Draft Wizard "experts mock." Here's what I wrote at the time:
Though he doesn't have Steven Jackson's monster truck size, Pead's contact-friendly style of running and open field instincts make him an almost perfect understudy to the Rams running back.
More notably, the Pead pick signals yet another sea change in draft-day attitude from previous regimes. Already the Rams have moved picks whose cumulative value far outweigh the combined total of draft-value of any pick traded during the Devaney and Shaw/Zygmunt years. And the Rams have spent significant capital on a running back for the first time since Steven Jackson was drafted eight long years ago.
While I might feel more comfortable if the Rams had kept Sylvester Croom (who I loved) as running backs coach, Fisher is doubling down on run-friendly Rutgers assistants. One is Sam Bradford's new quarterbacks coach, Frank Cignetti Jr. The other, Ben Sirmans, now gets to integrate Isaiah Pead and Steven Jackson into Brian Schottenheimer's offense.
Mike Mayock throws light on this approach in his commentary on this pick: "Remember, they're trying to protect Sam Bradford, and you do that in a number of ways." One way that the Jets used extensively under Schottenheimer is to force teams to always acknowledge the runner, even on passing downs.
Pick 65: CB Trumaine Johnson - Montana
@ChrisSteuber: #Rams upgraded their secondary significantly with Janoris Jenkins & Trumaine Johnson. Jenkins smaller playmaker, Johnson physical ballhawk.
One notable component of many of Jeff Fisher's drafts - he doesn't care about trying to fill every need, plugging players in like filling a grocery cart, one from each aisle. Conversely, he'll pick an area of his team and LOAD UP. Clearly, that area this offseason is cornerback. And just as clearly, after the Rams' plague of cart-offs in the secondary, you can never have too many.
Like another young player already on the Rams' roster in Jerome Murphy, Johnson is a big physical player with ball skills, but may be over-exposed if called upon to be a true cover man in space. We may hear rumblings of converting him to safety, but he isn't the hitter that Murphy is. Then again, his cover skills are significantly better than Murphy in my opinion. This could make for a very interesting camp battle.
More importantly, the biggest day two in recent Rams draft history winds up with a flurry of players who should immediately and positively impact the Rams' fortunes. Do they make the Rams instant contenders? No. But instantly more physical, more talented, more dangerous? Yes.
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The St. Louis Rams have drafted cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who finished his college career at North Alabama after getting dismissed from Florida.
The 5-9, 190-pound Jenkins was a three-year starter at Florida who transferred after multiple run-ins with the law related to marijuana. Some mock drafts had Jenkins possibly going in the first round, but he dropped...
With the first round in the books, CFN 's Pete Fiutak gives you the best players still remaining for the weekend.
1. CB Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama, 5-10, 193 CFN overall ranking: 12
Take away the character issues and Jenkins would be a sure-thing top 20 pick. While he's not huge, he's big enough to get by and doesn't have a problem against the bigger receivers...
The St. Louis Rams have drafted cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who finished his college career at North Alabama after getting dismissed from Florida.
The 5-9, 190-pound Jenkins was a three-year starter at Florida who transferred after multiple run-ins with the law related to marijuana. Some mock drafts had Jenkins possibly going in the first round, but he dropped to the second day...
Three arrests, positive drug tests and four children with three different women, have caused Janoris Jenkins' draft status to fall faster than a barrel over Niagara Falls.
Jenkins, a cornerback, who started his career at Florida, but transferred to North Alabama after being dismissed from Florida after his arrest for marijuana charges, has been a focus on the draft, trying to...
Will The Reward Be Worth The Risk?
The St. Louis Rams simply could not pass on troubled cornerback Janoris Jenkins today at the 39th pick in the second round of the 2012 NFL draft today.
Jenkins was once seen as a top ten pick before running into off field issues at Florida. Jenkins was an All-American cornerback, while at Florida he had 8 interceptions and had 106 tackles...
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The St. Louis Rams drafted a potential backup running back behind two-time Pro Bowler Steven Jackson, taking Isaiah Pead of Cincinnati with the third of their second-round picks Friday night.
The 5-11, 200-pound Pead ran for 1,259 yards with a 5.3-yard average and 12 touchdowns last year with five 100-yard games. He added 39 receptions with an 8.2-yard average...
The St. Louis Rams drafted a potential backup running back behind two-time Pro Bowler Steven Jackson, taking Isaiah Pead of Cincinnati with the third of their second-round picks Friday night.
The 5-11, 200-pound Pead ran for 1,259 yards with a 5.3-yard average and 12 touchdowns last year with five 100-yard games. He added 39 receptions with an 8.2-yard average and three TDs. Pead...
Janoris Jenkins is the top player left on the FantasyPPR.com Draft Board.
The second round of the 2012 NFL Draft is about to get underway and surprisingly there are still a number of very talented prospects available that we at Fantasyppr.com believe could make a big impact on the upcoming season.
Here is a list of the top 30 players available in the NFL Draft according...
Derek Wolfe didn't have to wait long Friday night.
His University of Cincinnati teammate Isaiah Pead really didn't, either.
The Denver Broncos selected Wolfe with the 36th pick in the NFL Draft, the fourth pick of the second round. Pead went 14 picks later to the St. Louis Rams.
A three-year starter at defensive tackle at Cincinnati, Wolfe was the 2011 Big East co-Defensive...
113 picks went by in the 2012 NFL Draft before the Seattle Seahawks selected defensive lineman Jaye Howard with the 114th pick. Howard was the first Florida Gators player taken (if you don’t count Janoris Jenkins). With Chris Rainey being the only other Gator expected to be drafted, it could remain quiet for Florida fans.
A defensive tackle that also played some defensive end,...
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="576" caption="Janoris Jenkins is the top player left on the FantasyPPR.com Draft Board."][/caption]
The second round of the 2012 NFL Draft is about to get underway and surprisingly there are still a number of very talented prospects available that we at Fantasyppr.com believe could make a big impact...
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