Few NFL teams have been as active as the St. Louis Rams over the past week or so. First they pulled off the blockbuster trade of the offseason by unloading their No. 2 overall pick to Washington for a boatload of draft picks. Now they’ve signed cornerback Cortland Finnegan and they could be close to reuniting coach Jeff Fisher with Jason Jones.
The one thing they really haven’t done yet is address their issues at wide receiver. Fisher says the team could still do that whether it’s through free agency, the draft, or a trade. And after the deal with the Redskins, it’s clear they’ve got enough picks to make a splash in the draft — it’s hard to imagine they don’t want Justin Blackmon — or through a trade.
Jeff Fisher joined ESPN 101 in St. Louis with Bernie Miklasz to discuss the number of major events in the past week or so, adding Cortland Finnegan, not adding a receiver despite many of them making big moves around the league, how having so many draft picks can be so beneficial, the idea of adding Justin Blackmon and what other positions he sees as a need.
Things are looking up right now aren’t they?:
“Yeah, they are. You think about it, probably just a week ago, we were sitting here with the second pick in the draft. Now, seven days later, we went to six, we’ve got three of the top 39 … plus we have two ones and two twos. … We’ve done a lot of work here in the last week and we’re excited about it. There’s still a lot more work to do.”
What will Cortland Finnegan bring to the Rams?:
“We drafted Cortland years ago, not too long ago, but out of Stanford. Within three or four years, he was a Pro Bowl corner. He’s very consistent, plays at a high level, has tremendous cover skills, tackling ability and ball skills. He’s going to become another one of our leaders on defense. He’s one of those guys that you can match up against a top receiver on a weekly basis if need be. More importantly, Cortland has done some tremendous things off the field.”
With all the receivers signing deals, do you guys feel you missed out on an opportunity?:
“Yes and no. We were involved in a lot of the talks. … But we were making decisions based on what’s the best interest of the club, overall, moving forward. We felt in several instances that the salaries in certain circumstances had gotten just a little out of hands. … Before we start free agency, we evaluate the draft class quite heavily and so we have options to draft young players at the position. In addition to, there’s still some other players out there that are available that we feel like can help us.”
Plus, if another veteran became available via trade, you now have picks at your disposal:
“That’s exactly correct. That’s one of the byproducts and a benefit of the trade is that we picked up extra picks. It gives us so much flexibility. You talk about the future picks, the two ones in ’13. Those give you flexibility here in 2012 in addition to the fact that we’ve got the first pick in the second round in addition to the sixth or seventh pick in the second round. Those are two extremely valuable picks. … We’re going to be very, very active. Our staff right now has done a great job of evaluating both markets.”
On the potential of getting Justin Blackmon in the draft:
“Yeah, I mean, our scouting staff has evaluated him, as has the coaching staff. … We’ve got a good feel for what he can do, but he’s not the only receiver out there. You can find receivers throughout this draft that can come in and help contribute right away.”
What other positions are you focused on?:
“There’s obviously needs on this football team. There’s more than just a couple. Whether that happens in free agency or happens in the draft or happens through trade or doesn’t happen at all, we’re going to do our best with what we have with our resources to fill this roster and make it competitive.”