<
>

Rams sign veterans they know, trust

With apologies to new Rams backup center Hank Fraley, here's the Scouts Inc. book on him:

Fraley is a bad-bodied pure center who is very intelligent and crafty in his trade. But Fraley isn't particularly quick, athletic or powerful. Massive nose tackle types are often more than he can handle, as are ultra-quick upfield penetrators. Ideally, Fraley is an outstanding backup, but he can be serviceable in a starting capacity.

Fraley canceled a trip to the Chiefs so he could sign with the Rams, according to his agent, Ralph Cindrich. The signing is consistent with the intentions coach Steve Spagnuolo revealed at the combine when I asked him whether the Rams would seek veteran seasoning after going young last season.

"I think you really have to have a little bit of that mixture," Spagnuolo said. "Now, in my opinion, you can't just go out plucking guys out of the sky. You almost have to know that person and how they study film. I think that is huge."

How huge? Take a look at the players the Rams have signed in free agency. Fraley and quarterback A.J. Feeley were with Spagnuolo and Rams offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur in Philadelphia. Defensive tackle Fred Robbins was with Spagnuolo on the Giants. All are in their 30s. All are very familiar to the Rams.