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 by Elvis
1 week ago
 Total posts:   20768  
 Joined:  Mar 28 2015
United States of America   Los Angeles
Administrator

http://www.espn.com/blog/los-angeles-ra ... reg-gaines

The new Suh: Rams turn to rookie Greg Gaines

Lindsey Thiry
ESPN

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- Greg Gaines met with the Los Angeles Rams once. The interview at the Senior Bowl was the defensive tackle's one, and only, interview with the defending NFC champions before the NFL draft.

So it came as a shock to Gaines when his phone rang after the Rams traded up into the fourth round, to the 134th overall pick.

“It was just amazing,” said Gaines, who spent five seasons at the University of Washington. “I’m super excited.”

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The Rams traded out of the first round of the draft. They addressed needs in their secondary, on the offensive line and at running back on Day 2. And they began Day 3 with a specific target in mind.

“The first priority was to try to figure out how we could get to a spot in the draft and draft Gaines to fill the nose-tackle-type spot in our base defense,” said general manager Les Snead, who traded up 28 spots to make the pick.

Gaines, 6-foot-1 and 312 pounds, could start immediately in place of All-Pro Ndamukong Suh, who produced mixed results last season as he played on a one-year, $14 million contract.

“What Greg was able to do at Washington and then when you see the production he had at the Senior Bowl, that really is what we felt really strongly about,” coach Sean McVay said. “I think some of the things we talked about -- how we get better specific to our scheme, but then also defensively in terms of playing the run a little bit better. I think that will be a key factor of being really stout inside and we feel like Greg will provide that.”

Throughout a 13-3 season that included a second consecutive division title, a conference championship and trip to Super Bowl LIII, it was apparent the Rams’ run defense needed improvement.

Despite a unit that boasted two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald, seven-year veteran Michael Brockers and Suh, a five-time Pro Bowl selection, the Rams allowed a league-worst 5.1 yards per carry, and ranked 23rd in the league in average rushing yards allowed per game with 122.3.

Donald and Brockers will return in 2019. Suh, however, remains an unrestricted free agent and Snead said he was unlikely to return to L.A. due to budgetary constraints.

Suh undoubtedly leaves a sizable hole behind, one that could be daunting for a rookie to step into. However, the nine-year veteran never appeared to fully acclimate to playing nose tackle in a 3-4 scheme for the first time in his career. Suh had only four run stuffs last season, which tied for eighth on the Rams and tied for 261st in the NFL, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. (A run stuff is defined as when a defender tackles the ball carrier within a gain of two or fewer yards.)

Donald led the team with 16 run stuffs, followed by linebacker Cory Littleton with 10 and Brockers, who had nine.

Gaines is expected to play a significant role in stopping the run. “He’s going to get a chance to compete,” McVay said. “He is a guy that we identified that we feel like really will do a great job as a nose guard in our base package.”

Gaines described the role as his “sweet spot.”

“I like head-up nose,” he said. “Anywhere on the inside between the guards -- anywhere in there. From guard-to-guard, I’m good.”

Gaines played at La Habra High School in a suburb of Los Angeles before he became a three-year starter at Washington. He appeared in a Washington-record 54 games and finished with 9.5 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss. As a senior he won the Morris Trophy, awarded to the Pac-12's top defensive lineman, voted on by opposing team players.

But contingency plans remain in place if the 24-year-old rookie is not ready to play immediately in the NFL.

Brockers has experience at tackle and end, though he said at the start of voluntary workouts last month that he would prefer to remain at end, a spot to which he has adjusted in Wade Phillips’ two seasons as defensive coordinator. Snead and McVay also have expressed confidence in the development of tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day, who made the 53-man roster after his selection in the sixth round last year, though he was listed as inactive all season.

But after studying Gaines at the Senior Bowl, where he competed against offensive linemen Garrett Bradbury and Chris Lindstrom, both selected in the first round by the Minnesota Vikings and Atlanta Falcons, respectively, the Rams are confident they found a talent who can contribute sooner than later.

“You look at a physical, stout player,” McVay said. “He was an outstanding, productive player for Washington. But then when you get a chance to really watch the Senior Bowl, where he’s going against some of the best interior linemen in this draft, guys that we really thought highly of -- I think you got a sense for what a competitive player he is.”

 by safer
1 week ago
 Total posts:   564  
 Joined:  Feb 03 2016
United States of America   LA Coliseum
Veteran

Great job Snead--we traded up to where TALENT=NEED....I think this kid is better than we know. Getting selected as THE PAC-12 Dlineman of the Year IS a big deal.
For where we drafted him, I think Greg will prove to be our best pick in this class.

 by aeneas1
1 week ago
 Total posts:   9628  
 Joined:  Sep 13 2015
United States of America   Norcal
Hall of Fame

wouldn't it be great if he becomes a pro bowler? only 2 of the 46 defensive tackles taken in the 5th round since 2000 have made the pro bowl.

 by Dick84
1 week ago
 Total posts:   3909  
 Joined:  Oct 29 2015
Italy   LA Coliseum
Superstar

aeneas1 wrote:wouldn't it be great if he becomes a pro bowler? only 2 of the 46 defensive tackles taken in the 5th round since 2000 have made the pro bowl.


I'd be happy with disciplined and effective on 1st and second down.
The Rams approach on passing downs is gonna be fascinating. Does Brockers stay in? Or do they have Donald and JFM inside... flanked by Fowler and Matthews?
Do they have Matthews and Ebukam both in and game with them? One drops, the other rushes?
Lots of options.
The good news is... given health... that secondary knows *exactly* what it wants to do now and has some very talented depth.

 by aeneas1
1 week ago
 Total posts:   9628  
 Joined:  Sep 13 2015
United States of America   Norcal
Hall of Fame

Dick84 wrote:I'd be happy with disciplined and effective on 1st and second down.
The Rams approach on passing downs is gonna be fascinating. Does Brockers stay in? Or do they have Donald and JFM inside... flanked by Fowler and Matthews?
Do they have Matthews and Ebukam both in and game with them? One drops, the other rushes?
Lots of options.
The good news is... given health... that secondary knows *exactly* what it wants to do now and has some very talented depth.

yep, gonna be fun to watch, in fact i think they have plans for rapp on passing downs, blitzing.

 by snackdaddy
1 week ago
 Total posts:   4717  
 Joined:  May 30 2015
United States of America   Merced California
Superstar

Of all the draft picks they got, Gaines might have the best shot at starting because of what he excels in and they don't really have a clear cut in house starter there. They want someone who doesn't over pursue and holds his responsibilities. Gaines is perfect for that. That big bodied tough guy in the middle who can take on double teams.

 by ramsrams
1 week ago
 Total posts:   501  
 Joined:  Feb 06 2016
Canada   Mississauga, ON
Veteran

Last year, after signing Suh, I opined that it may not be the greatest fit.

Some guy named zn chimed in and said no, Wade doesn’t use a traditional nose tackle, he likes to move them around. Pretended like he was a genius. Said you can shade him over the gaps.

Well, zn, shade that.

 by AvengerRam
1 week ago
 Total posts:   2291  
 Joined:  Oct 03 2017
Israel   Longwood, FL
RFU Fantasy Football Champ

Interesting draft trend for the Rams... drafting teammates:

2019: Taylor Rapp/Greg Gaines: Washington
2018: Joseph Noteboom/Travin Howard: TCU
2017: Cooper Kupp/Samson Ebukam: Eastern Washington

I'm guessing that, in many cases, when a team is scouting one player, another player from the same school catches their attention. It also probably helps in the transition to the NFL to have a familiar face on the team.

Like I said, interesting trend.

 by PARAM
5 days ago
 Total posts:   3480  
 Joined:  Jul 15 2015
Barbados   Just far enough North of Philadelphia
Superstar

snackdaddy wrote:Of all the draft picks they got, Gaines might have the best shot at starting because of what he excels in and they don't really have a clear cut in house starter there. They want someone who doesn't over pursue and holds his responsibilities. Gaines is perfect for that. That big bodied tough guy in the middle who can take on double teams.


I hope he comes just as advertised. Maybe he didn't have much pass rush ability but he also didn't have Aaron Donald next to him. But even if he just doesn't have it, if he can make the run D a lot better on 2 downs, that's fine for a 5th rounder. And a need for the D. The number is 5.1. If they can shave 1 ypc off of that 5.1 (and I'm not saying just Gaines will do that), it would have been good enough for #7 in the 2018 NFL.

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9 posts May 20 2019