EARTH CITY, Mo. -- The St. Louis Rams made some rare mid-July news this week when they used a fifth-round supplemental draft pick on Clemson offensive tackle Isaiah Battle.
That move brought their haul of rookie offensive linemen added this offseason to a whopping five. It also coincides with the return of the Twitter mailbag. And, as you'd expect, there were questions about Battle and the line.
As always, you can find me on Twitter @nwagoner. Please use hashtag #RamsMail. Answers every weekend. Let's get to your questions.
@nwagoner: That's one of the biggest questions surrounding this team right now. But unfortunately there's no answer for it at the moment. The Rams made a conscious decision to rebuild the line with youth rather than adding veterans, which is fine but it also feels like a bit of an overcorrection. To be sure, big free-agent investments made on the line didn't work out either, so going the other way does make some sense. But it also seemed like the Rams could have added at least one veteran piece at a cheaper rate to help out right away. The team believes Robert Havenstein and Jamon Brown can start right away, and there's a real chance they will. Beyond that, banking on a fourth, fifth or sixth-round pick is probably asking too much. But in an ideal world, they can all offer solid depth with one developing into a starter. Regardless, offensive line coach Paul Boudreau has a big task in front of him.
How many of these olineman can we realistically keep? I assume some would get plucked from our practice squad. #RamsMail— CHuff (@huffster21) July 9, 2015
@nwagoner: Over the past few years, it hasn't been unusual for the Rams to go heavy on offensive linemen. They've kept 10 or even 11 at various points in Jeff Fisher's tenure. But nine is probably a realistic number with 10 an outside possibility. Even assuming that, they're probably going to end up releasing a player or two that might come with some level of name recognition. I'd venture to guess that one of the three centers competing for the starting spot, for example, will be squeezed out in the final tally. If you don't project to be a starter, it would be wise to add some versatility to your game if you want to make this roster on the offensive line.
Nick what can you tell us about Isaiah Battle. Anything special or just an OL numbers game? #ramsmail— James Armstrong (@jamessarmstrong) July 9, 2015
@nwagoner: The Rams believe they got good value with Battle. In other words, a player who would have gone a round or two higher under normal circumstances but had enough question marks to drop him a bit in the supplemental draft. They have no plans to rush him, and anyone expecting him to compete with Havenstein right away will probably be disappointed. But he does have some athleticism and really long arms. He showed some prowess as a run blocker (Clemson's rushing stats were much better when running to his side) and has the tools to be an effective pass blocker. If he develops as the Rams hope, he could legitimately have a chance to overtake Havenstein, but it isn't likely to happen for two to three years.
@nwagoner: Yes. The draft slotting system is generally used as the basis for a contract. In this case, the Rams were considered to have the eighth pick in the fifth round and that's where Battle's contract will likely come in. Or very close to it if not. That's how the Cleveland Browns handled it in 2012 when they drafted Josh Gordon. He got a deal that was equivalent to the second pick of the second round.
@nwagoner: Brian Quick made progress during organized team activities and was able to do some individual work throughout the spring sessions. The hope is that he'll be able to start doing some team drills sooner than later in camp, but we'll see how he is when he gets back with the team at the end of this month. I'd tend to think he's got a good shot to be ready to play Week 1 barring any setbacks, but again, we'll evaluate where he is when camp starts.