Rams draft disclaimer: 'Everything we say ... is not totally accurate'

News-DemocratApril 23, 2013 

General manager Les Snead started the St. Louis Rams' pre-draft press conference with a disclaimer.

"A couple weeks ago I was on a radio show or maybe it was a podcast where they said it was campaign season," Snead said. "Don't be offended if everything we say up here is not totally accurate."

Though their draft board has been stacked, Snead and Rams coach Jeff Fisher spoke in mostly vague or general terms on Monday, three days prior to the start of the 2013 NFL Draft, which runs Thursday through Saturday.

"A lot of hard work goes into this, and this week is all about dotting some 'i's' and cross some t's," Snead said. "We're still talking about scenarios."

The Rams have eight picks in the 2013 NFL Draft, one in every round except the first, where they have the 16th and 22nd overall picks.

The Rams' middle-of-the-pack draft position in the first round makes predicting what will happen ahead of them much tougher than some recent years where their options were limited to a few players at the top of the draft.

"I don't know if it's harder, but there may be more scenarios because you have two picks and you can go frontwards, backwards, sideways a couple of different times," Snead said. "Picking later, you have things happen in front of you that you have to respond to. Not necessarily harder, maybe a little more complicated."

The extra pick (22nd) was gained in the trade down last year with the Washington Redskins that netted the Rams an extra first-rounder in both the 2013 and 2014 NFL Drafts.

The Redskins took quarterback Robert Griffin III, while the Rams traded down again and ended up with LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers.

The Rams also would trade down with one of their picks in the second round, ending up with 10 picks in their first draft under Fisher and Snead.

"It's not a matter of taking chances," Fisher said of showing no fear about making trades last year. "It's a matter of identifying players who can help you and how you position yourself to get them."

Snead said the phone lines again are open for trade offers.

"How many phones do we have?" Snead said. "I think we just set up three, four, five. We'll definitely take calls."

Since the Rams are more than one player away from making the Super Bowl, would they be less inclined to trade up?

"You could trade one up and trade the other back," Fisher said.

The Rams have several obvious needs -- wide receiver, safety, running back, guard, outside linebacker and cornerback.

Tennessee's Cordarrelle Patterson and Justin Hunter, Southern Cal's Robert Woods, California's Keenan Allen, Clemson's DeAndre Hopkins, Baylor's Terrance Williams, Louisiana Tech's Quinton Patton and West Virginia's Stedman Bailey are among the wide receivers who been on the Rams' radar either through a pre-draft visit or a personal workout.

There's also Tavon Austin, Bailey's teammate at West Virgina, who has big-play potential despite being undersized at 5-foot-8, 174 pounds.

Austin could be gone by the time the Rams go on the clock with the 16th overall pick.

Quarterback is one position that the Rams won't be seeking in the early rounds of the draft, so they'd like to see several taken ahead of them in the first round.

That would push players at other positions down to them.

"I'll take that," Snead said. "That helps us. I haven't looked at any quarterbacks this year."

"I have, because they throw to receivers," Fisher interjected.

The Rams were willing to draft a couple of players with character concerns last year, including North Alabama cornerback Janois Jenkins in the second round.

Jenkins scored a NFL-leading four defensive touchdowns last season, earning the Carroll Rosenbloom Memorial Award as the Rams' Rookie of the Year.

"It's a case by case situation," Snead said. "These are young kids. What they've done in their past despite necessarily determine their future as well have learned. If they are 20, they have a lot of years left on this planet to produce."

That doesn't mean the Rams are willing to draft anybody regardless of what's in their background.

"Last year, there were guys who were not on the Rams' draft board, and that will be the case as well this year," Fisher said. "There are guys who will not be drafted by the St. Louis Rams this year."

Contact reporter Steve Korte at skorte@bnd.com or 239-2522.

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