Chat with Nick Wagoner
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPN NFL Nation St. Louis Rams reporter Nick Wagoner drops by to chat and answer all of your Rams questions.
A member of the Pro Football Writers of America, Wagoner joined ESPN in 2013 after nine years of covering the Rams for StLouisRams.com. He also previously covered University of Missouri football.
Send your questions now and join Wagoner Friday at 1 p.m. ET!
Nick Wagoner (1:01 PM)
Hello everyone. Thanks for joining me. Great to be back with you and looking forward to chatting with you as the offseason rolls along. Let's get down to business.
Rodger (St. Louis)
What does it say that folks are excited about the news that OC Schottenheimer could be leaving for Vanderbilt? What do you think the chances are he does leave (for Vandy or elsewhere), and is there any reason to believe his exit would lead to a new quarterback in St. Louis next year?
Nick Wagoner (1:02 PM)
Well, it looks like Schottenheimer isn't going to leave so it doesn't really matter much. But what it says to me is the usual: when something doesn't work on an offense, the blame generally goes to some combination of the quarterback and the offensive coordinator. Don't get me wrong, Schottenheimer has his faults but for the type of offense Fisher wants to run, I don't see him as a bad fit.
Tom (Wisconsin Rapids, WI)
Hi Nick, so glad you started your chats again. Now my favorite day of the week will be Friday instead of Tuesday. My question is 'How far down can the Rams drop by trading the #2 pick and still get OT Greg Robinson?
Nick Wagoner (1:03 PM)
It's a little early to say but I have a feeling Robinson is going to be one of the top five or six players in the draft by the time we get to May. So you'd have to think Rams would need to stay in top 5 to ensure they could land him if that's how they chose to go.
bfulton (Washington DC)
Perhaps the Rams' biggest obstacle to the playoffs is the tough defenses in its division. Will free agency water those defenses down, this off season or can the 49erz, Cardinals and Seahawks keep their defensive units together?
Nick Wagoner (1:05 PM)
Arizona will have some decisions to make and so will Seattle but their core guys are mainly in place for next year. The bigger issue for them will be when the quarterbacks come due for a payday. That's when you'll start seeing some free agents depart much like you saw in Baltimore last year when the Ravens paid Joe Flacco.
Kellen Clemens being a free agent and Austin Davis not developing, do you think the Rams need a high caliber backup QB via free agency or should they use a high draft pick to get one?
Nick Wagoner (1:06 PM)
I've advocated keeping Clemens as a backup but adding a quarterback at some point in the draft. I don't expect that QB to be a first round pick or maybe not even a 2nd rounder but sometime in those middle rounds, they'll get one. Then you have Clemens who can help the new guy with the offense and be the No. 2 until whoever the rookie is is ready to handle the primary backup job. I believe that's what we'll see, too.
Do you believe Snead when he says they don't need a number 1.
Nick Wagoner (1:08 PM)
I take everything said by every GM and coach at this time of year with a grain of salt. Saying you don't need something and saying you don't want something are two different things. I was part of a long conversation with him in which he said that last week and to listen to him, he's not really interested in any position. That's just what a lot of GMs (not all) do at this time of year. I understand that. I'm also not sold that they're completely out of the market for a WR, especially if they can get their hands on a guy they deem elite.
Nick T. (Los Angeles)
If Bridgewater is there at no.2, in percentage how much would Rams be tempted to take him?
Nick Wagoner (1:09 PM)
I just don't see it happening.
Were Cook and Tavon Austin acquired as parts of an offense geared to more open, spread formations? If the Rams really are going back to ground and pound, doesn't it make the promise of those two acquisitions unrealized? Going by snap counts after Week 4, it seems neither would be a full time player. Doesn't that have to be, at some level, another organizational failure in evaluating, developing and deploying offensive talent?
Nick Wagoner (1:14 PM)
I suppose the first part of your question is something of a chicken or the egg thing. I don't necessarily buy into the idea that there was a grand plan to open it up and spread things out and they added Cook and Austin to fit that. I had a good conversation with Schottenheimer before the season where he was pretty clear that the plan was to be game plan specific and they'd pick their spots in spreading it out and going uptempo. I think they clearly needed more weapons offensively and they went out and got them. Both players can still be effective and there were signs of life with Austin before his injury. If there's an organizational failure to point to, it's the first four games of the year when the offense struggled mightily because it had no semblance of running game. Along with that, it is clear that there was a miscalculation in terms of what the personnel could do offensively in the first quarter of the season. That falls on the coaching staff.
Kareif Shabazz (New York City)
Is Calvin Pryor a starting Saftey In The NFL
Nick Wagoner (1:14 PM)
I haven't seen a ton of him but from what I have seen, absolutely. The draftniks are falling in love with him, it seems.
Luke (West Coast Rams Fan)
Nick, I miss you at the Rams website but it feels like you give so much more here at ESPN. Keep it going. If Clowney is there at #2 and the Rams do not get any RG3 type trade offers then I feel they Must take him. Is there any other player that you feel could come close to being chosen over Jadeveon?
Nick Wagoner (1:17 PM)
Do you mean is there a player that is good enough to be taken over him or one the Rams would take over him? I think when all is said and done Clowney is going to be the best player on the board. If he's there at two and the Rams see him as clearly the best player then I have no problem with them drafting him and finding ways to use him. You don't draft for next year, you draft for the next five years. Then again, I think the Rams will get some attractive trade offers even if they're not RG3 jackpot type offers.
Nathan (Gibson City, Il)
What are the top five biggest needs for the Rams going into 2014?
Nick Wagoner (1:18 PM)
Hard to say until we see what happens with free agency but I'd put it something like this right now: 1. A top tier WR2. OL3. OL4. A ball hawking safety 5. A cornerIf they re-sign Saffold, it loosens things up quite a bit on the OL need though they would still need to add another piece.
Rodney (Atlanta, GA)
Given the normal trend of our new regime, if we trade that #2 pick, d o you think Fisher will finally break his streak and draft Jake Matthews? (given the connection to his father and what not?
Nick Wagoner (1:21 PM)
I think there's a bit too much made of the Fisher won't draft OL in the first round stuff. You have to keep in mind who he had at OT in his time in Tennessee. He was generally pretty well set at the position and when he was there, it's not like teams would regularly spend first rounders on interior OL. I don't know if Matthews is their top guy or if he will be and I don't think the fact that he's the son of Bruce is going to be a determining factor. Maybe a tiebreaker, at best, but the other top tackle is an Auburn guy and as we know, Fisher and Snead have plenty of ties there, too.
Chris H. (Palmdale, CA)
If the Rams pick up a WR somewhere in the first, which WR already on the roster do you think will be the odd man out?
Nick Wagoner (1:22 PM)
Theoretically, none of them have to be the odd man out. It's not unusual for a team to carry six receivers. Based on playing time before Austin missed the final three games, though, Pettis would either be out or the one to sit on game day should they keep six.
Roger Schutt (Grass Valley, CA)
Nick, I've been following the Rams from Los Angeles to St. Louis, and cannot remember them ever having a really good pass-catching tight end. What's your recollection?
Nick Wagoner (1:24 PM)
Good to see you made it over here, Roger. Put it this way: Jared Cook had 51 catches for 671 yards this year and set franchise records for a tight end.
Illinois Ram (Glen Carbon)
Nick, hearing anything on the stadium situation? Do you expect Kroenke to start getting involved soon? Seems both sides are waiting for the other to make a first move.
Nick Wagoner (1:26 PM)
All is quiet and I expect it to stay quiet for awhile. As with most things, you don't see much movement until deadlines near. I don't expect any serious movement on this front until after next season. I also don't think the Rams have a problem going year to year on the lease at the Edward Jones Dome.
Hi Nick, in your work you had a close up look of both NFC Conference Championship game participants. Which QB is likely to perform better and do you see any of these teams coming with an unconventional approach (by air rather than ground) to try and catch the other a little off-guard
Nick Wagoner (1:28 PM)
Great question, PJ. Based on the past six weeks or so, I've been surprised at how much Wilson has struggled. Kaepernick has played much better with Crabtree back. On the other hand, Kaepernick has struggled mightily in the past against Seattle's defense (who hasn't?). Something has to give. This will sound like a copout answer but I expect Kaepernick to play better in looking at the whole picture but I also expect Wilson to come through when the Seahawks need him most.
Kent (Albuquerque, New Mexico 87123)
Hey Nick, glad to see the chat make a comeback. If you were the Rams G.M., what would you do with the first round picks? Seems that O line, safety, and wide reciever are priorities. Also, what do you think about A.J. McCarron as a quarterback and possibility of him being a mid round pick for the Rams?
Nick Wagoner (1:30 PM)
I'd put my focus on improving the offense. To me, that means offensive line and wide receiver. The Rams can be a very good defense with what they have and they also can find help for the secondary in rounds two and three (especially if they can trade down and get more picks in those rounds). But they have to do everything possible to keep building the offense, in my opinion. I thought McCarron was a pretty good college QB and I could see him being a guy the Rams look at but I'm not sure of his upside. I'd personally like to see them take a guy with a bit more upside.
Nathan (Gibson City, Il)
Nick, so glad we get to ask you questions again. I was wondering if you have had the chance to watch Eastern Illinois's QB? I think Jimmy would be great addition to the Rams in a backup role for 2-3 years learning the system and watching Bradford. I like Sam and even have his jersey on my wall, but if a young QB could be snatched up in the 4th or 5th with a quick release, strong arm, scramble ability why not pull the trigger. Even though Clemens is limited in throwing the ball, it sure was fun to watch him use his feet to extend plays. Excitement is something lacking on the Rams offense.
Nick Wagoner (1:32 PM)
A guy like this, for example. For those that don't know, Nathan is referring to Eastern Illinois QB Jimmy Garoppolo. He's a bit of a project and will take some time to reach his potential but I get the impression he has impressive tools and makeup. I don't know if he's the right guy for the Rams or not but I think this type of guy would make a lot of sense.
James (Downey, CA)
I?ve read after paying our 2014 rookies we would only be $3M under the cap. And that?s if we cut Cortland, Wells and Dahl. How do we possibly re-sign Saffold, Williams and Shelley. And with Jake out probably till November. I know Snead said OL can be developed. But you?d think you should hang on to some of the ones you developed. Our division kicked our butt at the OL. That?s where we lost our division games. Can we really coach up an entire line of rookies and compete?
Nick Wagoner (1:34 PM)
The Rams will add a body or two on the OL at some point, I feel confident in saying that. Saffold's status will go a long way in determining how many. The Rams aren't going to be flush with cap space but they will likely end up with enough to make a mid-level signing or two. You're absolutely right, too. I think Paul Boudreau is as good a line coach as you'll find in the league but you can only do so much with lower level talent that you coach up against elite fronts like the NFC West boasts. And imagine what he could do with some top tier talents?
kevin (o'fallon mo)
what happened to barrett jones this yr? didn't heal or can't play pro ball?
Nick Wagoner (1:36 PM)
This was basically a redshirt year for jones. First, he had to heal from surgery but the Rams wanted him to reshape his body and get stronger. This is a big offseason for him. He needs to live in the weight room. I have no doubt he'll put the work in, he's that type of kid, but it will be interesting to see where he is when camp rolls around. Could be a big opportunity for him.
Our HC and DC both have ties to Schwartz and there has been some uncertainty (maybe just among fans?) about who calls what on the Rams D. Has there been any whispers or thoughts about bringing Schwartz to the Rams as an assistant head coach? What about revisiting Gregg Williams (without the son)?
Nick Wagoner (1:36 PM)
Barring a big change, the Rams look content to stand pat with the current staff.
Ron Baker (Los Angeles)
Hi Nick. Since you can't get everything in the draft, should the Rams bolster their offensive line at the expense of getting playmakers (offensive & defensive ones), or should they focus on playmakers at the expense of their offensive line?Meaning: It seems likely the Rams will lose several O-linemen as salary cap casualties. Do you they replace them with high draft picks, low draft picks, or cheap free agents? (Note: Please don't say a combination of all three... :-)
Nick Wagoner (1:38 PM)
I won't say all three but I will say you don't have to pigeonhole yourself into "we're only taking play makers" or "we're only taking linemen." That's not how it works. I think the Rams will spend some draft capital on the offensive line but again, much of that approach to the OL will hinge on what happens with Saffold.
Would the Rams really consider taking Clowney at #2? Seems like that's picking a luxury item when there are clearly multiple other needs.
Nick Wagoner (1:41 PM)
If he's far and away the best player, a franchise changing player, then I think they would. If it's close between him and a player at a more pressing position, maybe not. Either way, I still think they look to move the pick first and foremost. But remember, the ideal situation for a team is for needs to meet value of the player. You can't draft simply based off need.
I personally love the style of play en vouge in the nfcw these days. What do you think best serves the rams in competing in this division, ramping up the offense, or continuing to build up the d? (Understanding that improving both is best case).
Nick Wagoner (1:42 PM)
I believe the Rams have the pieces in place defensively to compete in the NFC West right now. Yes, they could use some secondary help but they have to score more points against the division. Jeff Fisher said it himself. To me, that means adding on offense. It means muscling up the O-line and adding a play making receiver who can beat press coverage outside the hashed on a consistent basis.
Steve (Stewartville, MN)
Hi Nick, glad to have your chat back! I know your probably tired, like the Rams are, of Bradford questions. So forgive me while I ask a slightly different one. I'd like to ask you about his career trajectory/arc. When we first took him, the sky was the limit, elite QB potential. Where do you feel he's at, and do you still see that draft status as his potential, or do you feel it's different now?
Nick Wagoner (1:46 PM)
Bradford can still be a good quarterback in the NFL. He's not going to be Brady or Manning or Brees or one of those guys but I think he can be a guy you win with in the right situation. But I will say this: his health issues are a red flag that need to be monitored. It's a shame he got hurt last year because I think we'd have a better idea of who he is as a quarterback. I also think the Rams need to add a young QB in the draft who can come in and push Bradford, even if it's not right away.
What do you think of the Rams getting rid of some high cap hits like Finnegan, Wells, Dahl; and find some players in free agency like J. Byrd and resign Saffold?
Nick Wagoner (1:49 PM)
I'm consistently amused by the push of people to cut guys who the Rams signed in free agency so they can then go sign more free agents that may or may not work out. Let's face it, a lot of big ticket free agent signings don't work out and the Rams haven't been hitting home runs in that area, either. I do believe they should re-sign Saffold and then look at some possible mid-level additions who can improve depth and possibly start. But this team needs to reach a point soon where its money is spent retaining its own players rather than constantly looking for big ticket help outside the building.
Hey...love all the great content you provideI don expect this to happen, but was interested in your thoughts on it anyway. How crazy wold it be for the rams to take the 2 best olineman on their board with #2 and 13? This would(hopefully) sure up the line for the foreseeable future, make resigning injury prone saffold unnecessary, and allow the rams to (maybe)look at a moserately priced free agent safety/cb/wr. Then use the second fond pick on th best player available. I know there's a reason I'm not a gm, just interested in playing one for a moment--And hearing your thoughts on it. Thanks
Nick Wagoner (1:51 PM)
Well, theoretically the top two offensive linemen would both be tackles and though you could play them at guard, that doesn't seem like a good recipe for success. However, if they used a first rounder on an OT and a second rounder on an OG, that would be fine.
Jose Gonzalez (Fresno Ca )
As much as I love the job that Coach Fisher has done with the team. If the Rams do not the make playoffs next year do you do you think his job would be in jeopardy?
Nick Wagoner (1:53 PM)
Barring a huge catastrophe of a season, I don't think so but I do think the heat would be turned up. To me, there are no excuses next year. It's the third year of the program and the roster is Fisher/Snead's. The division is tough, yes, but this is the year the Rams have built toward. They need tangible progress, a winning record would be a good start but they need to be right in the playoff mix.
Ed (Queens Village)
What must Rams do to end longest playoff drought in NFC this season?
Nick Wagoner (1:55 PM)
First and foremost, the many young players they rely on have to come into their own. They have to eliminate the stupid penalties. They have to be more consistent defensively and just plain better offensively. A little luck, especially when it comes to their health would go a long way too.
Alex M (Vancouver)
Any word on possible compensatory pick for the Rams? Long and Cook added but SJ, Amendola, Fletcher, Gibson, Turner seem to more then cancel out those additions...possibly a 7th coming their way. Also have you heard when the Gordy deal will be finalized with the pick from Inday...whether it is a 7th or a 6th?
Nick Wagoner (1:57 PM)
Snead has said the pick from Indy for Gordy is a 7th rounder. I think they'll probably get a compensatory pick but my guess is it will also be a 7. Remember, compensatory picks aren't based just on the numbers of losses/additions but on the performance of those losses/additions. The combination of Long/Cook outperformed that group listed in my eyes.
shrek_13 (New Jersey)
Hey Nick, The RGIII trade was great but at some point shouldn't staying put and picking BPA be considered? I'd find it hard to pass on Clowney if available. Love Johnny Football too.
Nick Wagoner (1:58 PM)
I wrote about this last week but I agree to an extent. The Rams lack elite, top of their position players. That's as much a need as any one position. Quinn is the only one on the offense or defense. If they think Clowney is one then they should consider him, so what if it means you have two of the elite at their position. The question then becomes whether the Rams view him as that type of player?
Nick - With the #2 pick the draft is the big draw, but free agency comes first. With the Rams not having any big players to re-sign do you see any potential free agent additions that make sense? Especially ones at DB or LB that might alter our draft strategy?
Nick Wagoner (2:00 PM)
I'd be surprised if the Rams dived into free agency again with a big money type guy. There could be some mid level types who might be of interest but I'm not sure how much cap space they'll have to make moves and what they'll do with their own guys. Plus, many of the names that look like they'll be free agents may never see the light of day on the market.
Alex M (Vancouver)
I get the feeling that most of the Rams needs and possible targets along with value they place on positions would seem to be in the mid to late first. Safety Calvin Pryor, CB Gilbert etc.... Do you see a possibility of a double trade down. This is a deep draft and get the feeling they want to accumulate picks.
Nick Wagoner (2:00 PM)
I wouldn't be surprised if the Rams made more than one move in the first round.
Provided Bradford wasn't hurt this year, would 10 wins have been a possibility? Clearly the offense has a whole struggled in the first month, but once they solved their identity crisis they actually looks respectable with Bradford at the helm.
Nick Wagoner (2:02 PM)
I'm not a big fan of playing the guessing game but I do firmly believe the Rams beat Seattle in the first meeting with a healthy Bradford and they'd have had a good shot against Tennessee as well. That would have put them at nine. The road divisional games they looked overmatched, to be honest.
You think they might pull the trigger Sammy Watkins, if he has the right mental makeup, could make a big impact
Nick Wagoner (2:15 PM)
I'm a Watkins fan, love watching him play and I think he has No. 1 WR qualities. I don't know how the Rams see it yet but he's a guy I'll definitely be asking around about in the next few months.
Jeff Sawyer (Vancouver, WA)
Should the Rams look to target Hakeem Nicks in free agency this offseason instead of drafting another WR? He's still young, coming off a down year but could benefit from new scenery and playing on turf. I also think he could be a great mentor to the Rams up incoming WR's like Austin, Givens, Quick, Pettis and Bailey
Nick Wagoner (2:18 PM)
His injury history and cost alone will likely keep the Rams from being interested. Also, the history of free agent WRs with big price tags is not good. I don't see it as a fit.
Craig (Springfield, IL)
Being in the Cardinals city and knowing how much Cardinals fans hate them, how lame to you is the Cubs mascot?
Nick Wagoner (2:19 PM)
Haha. I love a good off the football path question. There are no shortage of jokes around here about the Cubs mascot. I will say, though, that Cards fans shouldn't worry much about anything Cubs-related. They've been a non-factor for a long time.
Paul (Albany, OR)
I am with you on keeping Clemons but what do you think about drafting Murray from Georgia in the 3rd or 4th round as a qb who can learn while recovering from the injury with no pressure to play in year one or even year 2 since that would be Bradford's last contract year. IF Bradford does not develop enough to pay significant money then you have the qb of the future already on the roster at a feasible salary.
Nick Wagoner (2:20 PM)
As I said, they need to find a mid-round QB. I don't know if it's Murray or whoever but someone like that would seem to fit the bill.
In your opinion and with the cap issues in mind.....who do you see as a possible free agent target for the Rams as they seem to move quick in free agency? Would Verner be a possible target to replace Cortland if Cortland is cut?
Nick Wagoner (2:22 PM)
If they decided to spend big money again, Verner would make a lot of sense to me because he's so young and he has a history with Fisher. I'm not sure the Rams want to invest big in another CB, though. I think they like Johnson and Jenkins as well as McGee's potential. I expect them to add at the spot but I wonder if they'd use big money or draft capital to do so.
Is it time to pull the plug on Brian Quick? He's frankly been nothing to me but inconsistent. The fact that he hasn't been able to truly crack the starting lineup and has posted nearly identical stats his first two seasons leads me to believe he is more or less a waste of a roster spot.
Nick Wagoner (2:23 PM)
No. And I don't think the Rams are willing to either. This is his third year and he was about as raw as it gets coming out of a small school. I think he has flashed enough potential to merit another shot. But he won't get many more chances beyond this year and possibly next. This is the year he needs to take a step forward. Not saying he has to have 1,000 yards but he needs to be a regular contributor. Don't forget, he's an excellent blocker on the outside, too, and that's important in this offense.
If and when the time does come for a new venue to play in could you envision an outdoor stadium?
Nick Wagoner (2:24 PM)
I suppose it's possible but I think maybe retractable is the way to go.
Have the Rams requested to be transferred out of the NFC WEST yet? I just see no hope for the next 3-5 years with the Niners and Hawks in the division
Nick Wagoner (2:25 PM)
Ha, nope they're stuck there. I know it's hard to see the forest through the trees but remember, SF and SEA will have to pay their QBs very soon. When they do, they'll have to come back to the pack a bit.
Sam Bradford has a $17 M cap hit coming off a good year that was cut short due to an ACL tear. Robert Quinn has a $3M cap hit a Pro Bowl and PFW DPOY year. If you had to pick one which one gets their contract extended this year?
Nick Wagoner (2:26 PM)
Well, unless something has changed, I don't see Bradford doing anything with his contract just yet. It was reported that he's not yet open to an extension during the season. The Rams have a fifth year option on Quinn (which I'll explain in a post soon) and can control his rights through 2015 for a reasonable price though it comes with a little risk. I think there's a better chance Quinn signs first but I'm not sure anything is imminent with either.
Any word on possible trades of former draft picks for lower round picks or conditional picks? Players such as Pead, Pettis etc...or does it sound like they will hold their depth spot with the hope of continued development?
Nick Wagoner (2:27 PM)
No and I don't expect there to be. Nobody is giving up a pick for Pead or Pettis or players like that.
Okay since they also happen to be division rivals to the Rams who wins the game in Seattle on Sunday?
Nick Wagoner (2:28 PM)
I'll have my picks in Sunday's playoff notes but for a sneak peek, I think I'm going with Seattle. I chose the Seahawks over the Broncos in the Super Bowl in my preseason picks (way out on a limb, I know) and I'm sticking to it. I think San Francisco is playing better than the Seahawks but in the end Seattle finds a way to get it done. Should be a great one.
Any draft needs that the general public might be missing in regards to the Rams such as a 4th TE or even another running back that we could see picked in the mid to late rounds of this draft
Nick Wagoner (2:29 PM)
Running back is a position I'm curious about. I think the Rams like the Stacy/Cunningham combo but I wonder if they'd be intrigued by a speedy, scatback type if they found good value in the later rounds.
The knock on Fisher is that his teams finish consistently mediocre. With two 7 win seasons, his much pressure is on the Stache to post more competitive results?
Nick Wagoner (2:31 PM)
I think the pressure begins building this year. This is the year they've targeted as the potential breakthrough so let's see it happen. And your point is valid. A lot of average seasons on the Fisher resume. So far, those 7-win years are accepted as improvement because they are for a moribund franchise but sooner than later, mediocrity turns to apathy and that's the last thing you want for your franchise.
Hi Nick,I have been a Rams fan for many years. I have more of a statement than a question. I am really tired of everyone thinking the Rams should continually spend draft picks on wide receivers without letting the ones they have develope. Other than the elite few(Julio Jones, A.J. Green and a few others. Most take a fews years to develope. Crabtree is becoming a stud but that didn't start until his 4th year and wasn't he the 7th overall pick. Unfortunately the Rams didn't have any quaility receivers on the roster to fill the void and help the young guys develope. I believe the Rams have other areas O-line and Safety where these early pick should be used and hopefully these young receivers will start to produce.
Nick Wagoner (2:33 PM)
I can understand your point, Mel but we'll have to agree to disagree. Yes, the young receivers deserve time to develop but my opinion that they need a No. 1 type WR is based on watching these guys. I think they have something in Bailey and Austin but I don't see any of their wideouts consistently beating press coverage and creating separation outside the hashes. I'm not sure if that's something that just happens overnight. Beyond that, you hit on a reason FOR the Rams to draft a wideout. You mention the elite few, Julio, AJ, others, when is the last time the Rams had a chance to get one of those guys? They haven't. If Sammy Watkins is one of those types (and I don't know if the Rams think he is or not yet), you wouldn't want him?
Roger Schutt (Grass Valley, CA)
And we're underway! Nick, when you left the Rams' website, I immediately began following you at ESPN. I searched for your ESPN e-mail address, to thank you for your great work... only to discover that ESPN doesn't publish their writers' addresses. Bummer for me... but probably great for you that you don't get bombarded by a bunch of "stuff." Anyway, thanks for your great reporting at both websites! I'll be following your new Chats, but not LIVE... so please see that there are always PRINT editions available (and please not like at the Rams' site, which was always very difficult to copy/paste... too long, etc.).Question: "Whatever happened with our budding receiver Chris Givens from year 1 to 2??" He seemed to decline, rather than progress.
Nick Wagoner (2:35 PM)
It was one of the more baffling developments of the fall because Givens played great in camp and not just in a "he's bigger or stronger or whatever" kind of way. But he struggled to create separation, he didn't always fight for catchable balls and he seemed to take a step backward. He can still be a valuable asset because of his speed but I'm not sure if his ceiling is as high as it once appeared to be.
Gene AKA White Buffalo (Manteca)
I don,t tweet is there other ways to comment on your articles? Thanks
Nick Wagoner (2:36 PM)
You can interact directly with the articles as a registered Facebook user.
Is the best case scenario for the Rams to draft WR Sammy Watkins with the first pick after trading down a few spots, and then taking a the best available OT?
Nick Wagoner (2:36 PM)
I don't know if that's how they feel but as we sit here today, that's what I'd like to see them do.
T.Y. Hilton is listed at 5'9" 178 lbs, and Tavon Austin at 5'8" 176 lbs. I can't say I watched too much of the Colts, but in the playoffs it seemed like Hilton is an outside threat, not relegated to the slot, and he is successful at using his speed and quickness to get open down field. Is there any possibility the Rams would look to do the same with Austin as opposed to what seemed to be fruitless efforts at getting him open across the middle?
Nick Wagoner (2:37 PM)
Actually, the Rams started to have more success with Austin once they began using him that way. He caught one touchdown against the Colts that way and had one called back against Carolina from outside the hashes. I'd expect to see some more of that in the future just not exclusively.
Todd Swope (St. Louis)
Have you heard anythng about Sam Bradford's rehab? He is not the most mobile QB and now I'm afraid he wont be able to move outside the pocket. The Rams better prepare.
Nick Wagoner (2:39 PM)
It sounds like his rehab is on schedule but it's much too early to read anything into where he'll be when the time comes to get back on the field. Anything said right now doesn't mean much until he's running and such again.
Eric W (Baltimore)
Nick,I see a lot of comments mentioning Kendalls Langford's play. I'm not exactly sure why he gets so much flack. Can you explain your stance on his play this year compared to last year? And secondly, do you see the rams making any offers to a "Big Name" free agent besides Saffold?
Nick Wagoner (2:40 PM)
People criticizing Langford makes me scratch my head. He played very well this year. He looked much more comfortable inside this year and picked up where he left off in 2012 when he seemed to feel at home there. I think the Rams could use another DT to bring along but I don't see much reason to change what they have with the starting two.
Walter ( )
If the Rams were to pursue re-signing Saffold, would that take place during free agency or before then?
Nick Wagoner (2:40 PM)
They can do it before then but I would be surprised if anything gets done because my guess is that Saffold and his agent will want to see what the market has to offer.
Aaron (Panama City)
Everyone has mentioned teams trading up to 2 for QB's. What about a trade similar to Dolphins/Raiders last year? Would you consider trading down to 14 (people seem to think Peppers is done in Chicago) to gain an additional second rounder?
Nick Wagoner (2:44 PM)
They'd have to get much more than a second rounder to make that move, in my opinion. The Rams need to land an elite, top 5 caliber player. If they can do it after trading down a little bit, great. If they have to stay put, so be it. But at some point quality has to overtake quantity.
Say the Rams don't get the trade they want for #2. How do you balance need vs best player available? If they have aguy ranked 7,8, etc.. is that too high to take at #2? What do you think the cutoff is?
Nick Wagoner (2:46 PM)
Well, it depends on the grades they have on the player. If a guy is maybe just a smudge behind the top player and the lower rated guy plays a position of need, you can take the need player. But there's no way to know that without seeing the board.
Dustin (New York)
Is this Seahawks vs. Niners NFC Championship Game something Rams fans hate having to watch or from a rivalry standpoint to them it's not a huge deal? Probably for most in St. Louis a Reds vs. Cubs NL Championship Game would be considered true torture.
Nick Wagoner (2:47 PM)
I did a post on this topic the other day after polling Rams fans on Twitter. I got plenty of sarcastic answers but most fans want to see a great game. It's funny, though, I feel like the hate for Pete Carroll and the hate for Jim Harbaugh is about the same.
Bert (St. Paul, MN)
Were there any whispers about what put Isaiah Pead in the dog house early in the year? Is there any hope left for the young man?
Nick Wagoner (2:48 PM)
Well, he chipped in on special teams and played pretty well toward the end of the year save for a dumb penalty against Indianapolis. But that's not what you hope for from a second-round pick. I think it's safe to say his long term future with the team is up in the air.
Do you think Steven Jackson signs for a day as a Ram and retires?
Nick Wagoner (2:48 PM)
Clark the Cub (Chicago)
Should you really be ripping on me? Your mascot is one the creepiest in pro sports. FYI....good World Series...nice try.
Nick Wagoner (2:49 PM)
I didn't rip you, Clark. Also, I'm not representing Cardinals fans here but I'd probably sit out any plays called in which you make any reference to the World Series.
I think the Rams have to solidfy the interior of the O-line and would love to see them resign Saffold to play guard along with drafting some O-lineman that can start day one. But if they can pick up another #2 in a trade, what are the chances they go after a better than average QB like Boyd for backup and more? Or does "developmental" mean another weak-armed 7th rounder...
Nick Wagoner (2:50 PM)
I don't think they'll wait to round 7. More like rounds 3-4.
What do you think is a reasonable expectation we can hope to get for the #2 in the draft?
Nick Wagoner (2:51 PM)
I'm not avoiding the question but it's impossible to say right now. We need to figure out the value of the top guys in the draft first then see who legitimate suitors might be. The move down would be dependent on both.
Not as a fit for the Rams but your thoughts on Henry Josey's prospects as a pro? I mean, as I'm sure you saw he had a pretty "mediocre" performance in the Cotton Bowl.
Nick Wagoner (2:52 PM)
I have absolutely zero ability to be objective when it comes to Henry Josey. One of my favorite Mizzou Tigers of all time and a great kid. I was driven thoroughly insane by Mizzou's reluctance to simply hand him the ball at times this year but I understand the need to protect him. I think he can be a pretty darn good pro so long as his knee holds up.
What are your thoughts on Zac Stacey going foward? Is he going to be the RB the Rams need him to be and carry the rock on a consistent basis?
Nick Wagoner (2:53 PM)
He's earned the right to have first crack at it but I'd like to see more of Cunningham, also.
Don't you enjoy the Cubs at least being kind of good? It seems like every game vs them is a big event when both teams are in the race. And you know at the end of the year you wont be watching them come November.
Nick Wagoner (2:53 PM)
I don't care much one way or the other but your point is valid. Rivalries are more fun when both teams are good.
Nick Wagoner (2:54 PM)
OK, I think I've gone over the one hour time limit. I must have missed chatting with you all. But no worries, we'll be back next Friday for more. Thanks to all who participated. Enjoy conference championship weekend everybody.