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Introducing the Rams' 2014 Draft Class: EJ Gaines up
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BamaRam


Joined: 16 Jan 2013
Posts: 395
PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 7:14 pm    Post subject: Introducing the Rams' 2014 Draft Class: EJ Gaines up Reply with quote

I used to be an editor for an online draft blog and I kind of miss it. So I decided to do a little detailed series of write-ups introducing the Rams' rookies. I won't be going in any particular order, but I hope to offer some insight for those who may not be too familiar with our newest Rams.

I figured I would start with the most 'controversial' of the Rams earlier picks. Of our 4 day 1-2 picks, he was by far the least widely-adored. However, I think he will eventually be viewed as one of the smartest picks in the draft and was not as out-of-left-field as some people believed.

3rd round, 75th overall
Tre Mason | RB | Auburn


Combine:
5'8 1/2"
207 lbs
30" arms
9" hands
4.50s 40 yard dash
1.50 s 10 yard split
4.15 Short Shuttle
28.5 Vertical Jump
10'6" Broad Jump

NFL.com Grade: 5.8 (Chance to become NFL starter)
Bamaram Grade: 6.1 (Should become instant starter)

I must first admit that I have a little bit of bias when it comes to Tre Mason. I live in Auburn, have attended many Auburn games, and even work in the Auburn Athletic department. Having said that, I've managed to remain pretty neutral about the selection (even when my wife - a huge Auburn and Rams fan - was jumping up and down after we made the pick).

Mason was a highly touted running back recruit who chose Auburn of a score of other scholarships. He broke out in 2012 but no one saw the immense production that he would have in 2013- breaking Bo Jackson's school record for yards. Mason was a Heisman runner-up and one of the best runners in the country.

As a prospect Mason is a stout, thick RB with a very strong upperbody and large thighs. He has returned kicks at Auburn since his freshman year and has been effective, but not spectacular in that role. He finished his career with very few receptions and will probably only be used as a screen and checkdown option in the passing game. Auburn's unique offense rarely asked him to pass block, but he did well chipping edge defenders. Like most rookie RB's he'll have to learn how to man up blitzers.

As a runner, Mason is very decisive. If he hesitated at the line of scrimmage, it was usually because nothing was there. He doesn't miss openings. He shows very good field vision, he sees holes as they're developing rather than after they open. He is particularly good at reading his second level blockers and making the second cut for extra yards. He is disciplined and rarely bounces runs outside unless it is beneficial. He holds the ball high and tight. He is difficult to bring down and runs with good natural pad level while still keeping his eyes up.

He has a very good stiff arm, but he can rely on his upper body a little too much when taking on defenders. Rather than lowering his shoulders and driving his legs, he'll put an arm up to keep the defender off. This isn't a major problem but I'd rather seem him cover up and lower his shoulders like Zac Stacy. As stated previously, his inexperience catching the ball isn't ideal but is far from a dealbreaker in our system that prefers to keep backs in and send out TE's for the checkdown.

I break prospects' speed evaluations into three "gears" (think like a car). The first gear is their "first-step". Mason has a very good first gear. He explodes out of the handoff and is moving faster than everyone else when he gets to the line of scrimmage. The second gear is when the player reaches stride. His second gear is very good. He won't be able to take the edge from DB's, but he can outrun linebackers to the corner and get separation in the second level. Because of his first gear, he can often force DB's to turn and run in the second level. The third gear is how well the player can pull away and separate. His third gear is LeSean McCoy-esque. He can get run down but he is far from slow. His unofficial combine times were in the 4.4's and his official time of 4.50 is great for a powerful RB.

From my notes, I had Mason and Bishop Sankey as the best backs in the class and saw them both as middle-second round prospects. For us to get him in the middle of the 3rd and as the 5th running back off the board was excellent value in my opinion. Many felt the Rams didn't need to spend a day-2 pick on a running back but both the decision and the player are a perfect fit for what the Rams decided to do this offseason. Supporting Sam Bradford is obviously the #1 priority, but the team could go 2 different directions with that endgoal: 1. draft explosive weapons like we did last year or 2. Improve his protection and the running game to take the pressure off of him. We went with option 2 by adding an elite tackle in Greg Robinson and a great runningback prospect in Tre Mason. We will run the ball more, and more effectively. Bradford will be allowed to have more time, throw against 8-men boxes, and most importantly throw off the play action.

Mason should compete with fellow rookie Lamarcus Joyner for kick return duties year one. I expect him to immediately share carries with Zac Stacy and be his relief. I still think Stacy will be the primary back but by the end of 2014 we will have a true two-back system, with Cunningham as 3rd string. My current NFL comparison is DeAngelo Williams of the Carolina Panthers. It's not the dreads. They have a very similar build and their workout numbers were very similar. Williams has made a very productive career for himself in a two-back system and his decisive, semi-powerful (with a little wiggle) running style looks very similar to Mason's.


Last edited by BamaRam on Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:43 pm; edited 3 times in total
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stl_rams_fan


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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 12:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

this is great! very excited for the rest of the guys. Some really interesting stories/prospects in this draft
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DaWg_LB.


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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AND....I think it should be inlcuded that his Pop's is a member of one of the BEDROCK groups in the history of Hip Hop....

DJ Maseo....









Old school.....There are some folks on here that grew up on some of his Pop's music.....damn I feel old....Buddy...Three Feet High and rising...Potholes in my lawn....they had some CLASSIC joints...

Butt he was one of my favorite backs in the draft..... Wink
Regardless of what his Pop's is famous for...
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The J.R.S.


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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the post. I'm not sure why anyone would have been comfortable with our RB depth going into the draft. We've got Stacy and not much else behind him. Cunningham can take some carries, but he's just depth.
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BamaRam


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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 12:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

6th round, 214th overall
Garrett Gilbert | QB | SMU


Combine: Non-invitee
Pro Day:
6'3 7/8"
221 lbs
4.81 40 yard dash
29.5" Vertical
9'9" Broad
4.43 Short Shuttle
7.30 3-cone

NFL.com Grade: 5.0
Bamaram Grade: 4.6

If you told anyone in 2009 that the Rams would get an underwhelming QB prospect named Garrett Gilbert with a compensation pick in the 6th round, you would have been called crazy. Some would question whether or not there was some other QB in the country named Garrett Gilbert, because there is no way he fell to the 6th round.

Well he did. And some felt like it was still too early.

Gilbert was one of the most exciting Texas QB prospects in recent memory. During his Junior season one well-known Texas High School football columnist called him the best QB he had ever seen at that level. He led his high school team to two state championships, He was a 5 star prospect, and he won the 2008 Offensive player of the year from USA Today. He broke a few of Graham Harrel's ridiculous high school records, and was expected to be the heir-apparent to Longhorn-Legend Colt McCoy. Many recruiting columnists saw him as a future Heisman award winner.

His shining moment in college came early, but unfortunately it would be his peak. In the 2009 National Championship game against Alabama, Colt McCoy was injured in the first quarter and true freshman Gilbert entered. Against an elite crimson tide defense, Gilbert brought the Longhorns to a near-upset over Nick Saban. Expectations were set high for the next season but Gilbert would struggle and the Longhorns would have their first losing season in years. The following year Gilbert lost the starting position to Case McCoy and David Ashe- players who fit the mold for Mack Brown QB's much better. Gilbert's nagging injuries prevented him from getting a great shot at the job, so he transfered to SMU.

He took time to heal and adjust but he would eventually flourish in the Run and Gun at SMU.

Gilbert is the son of former NFL QB Gale Gilbert. His father's legacy is not a great one. As a backup QB of the Bills and Chargers, Gale went to 5 superbowl's in a row.. where his teams would lose all of them.

As a prospect, Gilbert is much less exciting than he was in 2009. He has great size and a solid frame. His tools are better than your average 6th round pick. His arm strength is adequate, he is decently mobile (think Bradford-level athleticism), and he is a decent decision-maker.

.He has several major flaws. His arm strength, while adequate, comes with the cost of a wind-up release. It's not Leftwich or Tebow-esque, but there is definitely a hitch. He also holds the ball too low and is susceptible to being stripped.

He gets very skittish in the pocket. If the first read isn't open and the pocket starts to get messy, he is very quick to throw the ball away or take off. Gabbert-feet.

Gilbert's biggest problem, however, is his complete inability to stay healthy. Gilbert has missed time every single season of his college career due to injuries and he had shoulder surgery before his senior year of high school.

For the Rams, he is competition for Austin Davis as a developmental 3rd QB. Gilbert has the upside of a QB2 but his technical flaws, struggles against pressure, lack of experience in a pro offense, and injury concerns make it unlikely that he reaches that potential. He's got some tools, but I'd keep our expectations low.

Gilbert's NFL comparison is Kevin Kolb. Ideal build and solid physical tools are masked by a overly-cautious play style and the inability to stay healthy. Given a good system, years to develop, and a clean pocket, he could come in and not lose you games by throwing INT's.. but don't expect him to go out there and win them for you... or be healthy enough to rely on consistently.
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El ramster


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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 12:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The J.R.S. wrote:
Thanks for the post. I'm not sure why anyone would have been comfortable with our RB depth going into the draft. We've got Stacy and not much else behind him. Cunningham can take some carries, but he's just depth.


Benny ya mama can fly..

Side note, It's a name i gave Benny early on the season.

Gotta make sure I clear myself, I received a warning because my

sarcasm wasn't understood here..
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iRaMs


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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

El ramster wrote:
The J.R.S. wrote:
Thanks for the post. I'm not sure why anyone would have been comfortable with our RB depth going into the draft. We've got Stacy and not much else behind him. Cunningham can take some carries, but he's just depth.


Benny ya mama can fly..

Side note, It's a name i gave Benny early on the season.

Gotta make sure I clear myself, I received a warning because my

sarcasm wasn't understood here..



Bam-Bam Cunningham.
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The J.R.S.


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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

El ramster wrote:
The J.R.S. wrote:
Thanks for the post. I'm not sure why anyone would have been comfortable with our RB depth going into the draft. We've got Stacy and not much else behind him. Cunningham can take some carries, but he's just depth.


Benny ya mama can fly..

Side note, It's a name i gave Benny early on the season.

Gotta make sure I clear myself, I received a warning because my

sarcasm wasn't understood here..


Nothing you post ever makes sense. They may as well just ban you again so that I don't have to try and decode your sloppy, quasi-haiku writing style.
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El ramster


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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awwww Chad..
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Panthers11


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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The J.R.S. wrote:
El ramster wrote:
The J.R.S. wrote:
Thanks for the post. I'm not sure why anyone would have been comfortable with our RB depth going into the draft. We've got Stacy and not much else behind him. Cunningham can take some carries, but he's just depth.


Benny ya mama can fly..

Side note, It's a name i gave Benny early on the season.

Gotta make sure I clear myself, I received a warning because my

sarcasm wasn't understood here..


Nothing you post ever makes sense. They may as well just ban you again so that I don't have to try and decode your sloppy, quasi-haiku writing style.


Ban him because you don't like how he writes?
Keep doing you Rammy.
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BamaRam


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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 1:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Back on topic...

7th round, 250th pick
Demetrius Rhaney | C/G | Tennessee State


Combine: Non-invitee
Pro Day:
6'2"
301 lbs
32" arms
9 1/2" hands
9' broad jump
4.78 s Short Shuttle
7.59 3-cone drill
29" Vertical
4.95 40 yard dash
24 bench press reps

NFL.com Grade: 5.2
Bamaram Grade: 4.6

Demetrius Rhaney's chances of making the 53 man roster are slim. He has an expensive veteran (Wells), a 4th round draft pick (Jones), and a promising youngin (Barnes) ahead of him. His chances of being remembered as a draft pick of the Rams are just as small... he was drafted one selection after the historic Michael Sam pick.

But long odds and challenges are Rhaney's M.O. And he has done pretty well up to this point.

Rhaney's childhood would make a more hollywood-worthy tale of redemption than Michael Oher's if he played in the SEC or had rich white people sponsoring him- but he doesn't. What he does have is an unmatched work ethic and passion for football.

Just read about his journey to the NFL here

Rhaney's mother passed away when he was in the 7th grade and made Rhaney promise he would go to college. His father, shortly after, got into legal trouble and was separated from Rhaney. Rhaney suffered more loss when his great-grandmother and grandmother died on the same day.

When he got an offer to play for a junior college in Iowa, he was almost denied because the High School he attended as a freshman closed down. He didn't have any transcripts and the JC could not accept him without them. Without a mother or father, and a widowed grandfather who had been a simple farmer, they were struggling to find a way to get him to college. Finally they were able to get his transcripts accepted, but they had no way to afford to get Rhaney to Iowa. They called friends, family, and neighbors until finally they had scraped up $600 to buy a one-way plane ticket from Florida to Iowa. Rhaney arrived just days before the opening game of the season and earned a starting spot.

After 2 seasons where he earned an associates degree and started at Tackle and Guard, Rhaney accepted a scholarship to Tennessee St where he would play one season at RG, one at C, and would earn his college degree.

Rhaney is a smaller, quicker interior lineman who is comfortable moving in space and getting outside. He is not strong enough to man-handle or push into the second level on the inside. His arms are average and DT's can get into his body. He lacks the girth you would like to see but sets his feet well. He has played every spot on the line but has only started for one year at C.

Looking at a 7th round prospect like Rhaney and seeing very mediocre workout numbers and just decent tape against cruddy competition is not enough to get you excited. However, Rhaney's toughness and tenacity are elite. His personal story is amazing and his coaches at every level have raved about how he lives for football. My NFL comparison for him is AQ Shipley. Shipley had a much more impressive college resume, but his size and lack of athleticism killed his draft stock. He has a niche as a backup/ depth interior lineman who is more feisty and tenacious than powerful and dominating.

Rhaney should shoot for the practice squad year one. He isn't so un-athletic that he can not play the game (not Nick Leckey were talking about here), but he will have to add weight and work at the C position. He is a two year project at least- where you hope the hard work, tenacity, and sub 5.0 40 can be a foundation to build a decent depth interior lineman.

I don't like Rhaney's odds to make the team or have a long NFL career.. but if I was a betting man I certainly wouldn't bet against him.
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iRaMs


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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

El ramster wrote:
Awwww Chad..


Yes?
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BamaRam


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Been a bit of a gap between these posts. Busy Summer.

6th round, 188th overall
EJ Gaines | CB | Missouri


Combine:
5'10"
190 lbs
30 3/8" arms
9 3/8" hands
15 bench press reps

NFL.com Grade: 5.24 (NFL Backup or special teams potential)
Bamaram Grade: 5.20 (NFL Backup or special teams potential)

EJ Gaines put together an impressive career as a local boy at Mizzou. He had some late buzz approaching the draft as a mid-round corner but many forget he made first team All-SEC this season and was first team All-Big 12 in 2011.

Gaines' is a tough corner. He fits in with the mentality we are trying to build in the secondary with gritty, feisty players who like to talk. Gaines won't be quiet on the field and won't let receivers get by him on the line of scrimmage without giving them a little business. He's a high-effort player who has figured out ways to compensate for his lack of size and athleticism.

Gaines best attribute is his willingness to hit. He had 75 tackles last season for the Tigers (3rd on the team) to go along with his impressive 5 INT's. Gaines is not afraid of contact and is excellent at playing the run. He wraps up well and knows how to tackle guys significantly bigger than he. He should primarily be used in zone as his recovery speed is poor and his overall twitchiness is average.

He has experience in Nickel and Dime defenses. He was lined up all over the field. Should primarily be seen as a nickel/dime guy in the NFL. He'll be forced to rely on the boundary if he lines up outside.

Another big perk of Gaines is he is a battle-tested coverage guy on special teams. He has been great in that role and that should translate fairly easily. As a 6th round pick, special teams may be his best way onto the 53 and he already has a lot of experience in that unit.

The physical upside is limited at best. He is short, has very short arms, small hands, and has very average athleticism overall. He is built well at 190 lbs for a 5'10 CB. As stated, he is simply not built to be a boundary corner but after a couple years on ST he may be able to shift into the nickel/dime role.

As a rookie Gaines could make the team as a ST specialist. They are always needed. It doesn't hurt that our depth chart at the CB position is so thin. He has a shot to make it in as the #5 CB should we keep one. He brings a good attitude and a desire to tackle- something not seen from a lot of corners. His size and athleticism is pretty typical for late round CB's- there are many guys floating at the bottom of depth charts with similar attributes. Gaines needs to bust his butt on ST and hope his zone skills and tackling ability get him defensive reps.
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Vigilante STL


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think a good comparison for EJ Gaines is Bradley Fletcher. I think he has more potential than just a special teamer or backup player.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 1:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gaines will likely stick on the roster as the 5th corner. As we will likely use Joyner to count against one of the S slots. That leaves the battle at the last corner spots between Gaines, Reid, Mcgee, and Pointer.
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