With the 2010 College football season under way, the Senior Bowl, Combine and 2011 NFL Draft is only months away. As area scouts hit the road visiting colleges, evaluating talent, all while downloading their reports via computer link to the home base. Scouting assistants start attaching grades to the players name tags, hung alpha by position on magnets in the War room. Each organization, General Manager and Head Coach develops a style or Drafting philosophy. The late Bill Walsh once told me, “Always Draft for Value, but never ever ignore Need“. In several drafts that Coach Walsh headed up, it was not uncommon for him to draft multiple players at the same position, if three offensive linemen were needed that’s what was targeted early. He drilled into me, the importance of Roster Analysis, studying your roster is key to the future, focus on injury history, playtime, age, while working with Cap management about contract data.

Months before the yearly draft, each team has several personnel meetings to discuss players, strategy and scenarios or what if’s. A lot of teams go into the draft looking for the best available player at their pick. While the preparation has started, the main goal for all, add play makers and difference makers to the foundation. Studying the strength of the Draft as well as the strength of their team, will determine the direction in which they head. Whichever direction taken, the most successful teams remain loyal to their philosophy, which keeps them consistently at the top of their division or the NFL every season.

Several teams trade picks to the future, in order to move up in current draft. A few teams acquire picks in the future and many hold tight and work within the current draft, while giving up picks to trade up, or acquire picks and trade back. Many if not all teams target several players within a draft that they must have, can’t live without, this is called a wish list. Giving up several picks to move up and get your desired player that is in reach is a very aggressive draft move.

For the St. Louis Rams, drafting players over the years has been guess work, mis-calculations like shooting a BB gun in the dark. Hiring outside consultants which over shadowed their own personnel department’s efforts was a yearly chore. The lack of aggressive management to trade up and acquire talent is written all over their draft history. Over the years the lack of institutional control of marginal talent evaluators by Executive management, whom agreed with bad decisions and lacked the gonads to stand up and disagree during discussions which eventually led to poor decisions, in order to keep their jobs, I know I saw it first-hand.

Below is the list of talent that was passed over for several reasons starting with poor decision making, lack of sound philosophy and direction. While there are many drafts in which I could target, drafted players are graded on the first three seasons in the NFL, so let’s take a look at the last three seasons 2007-2009 for the St. Louis Rams. The data below will show who the Rams picked and those players that were still available. Keep in mind the data will show other players that were still on the board prior to the Rams pick as well. In order to trade up you need a team that is willing to make the deal, then ask the question – did they try to trade up and was that a part of their draft philosophy? Next to player name and information is current status. (Blue=Player Maker/Difference Maker, Red=Starter/Contributor, Orange=Back-up/Special Teamer).

2007 Draft

First Round

13th Adam Carriker – Nebraska – NT – St. Louis Rams (Washington Redskins)

Players remaining on the board after pick:

14th Darrelle Revis – Pittsburgh – DC – New York Jets (Pro Bowler)

25th Jon Beason – Miami – LB – Carolina Panthers (Pro Bowler)

26th Anthony Spencer – Purdue – LB – Dallas Cowboys (Pro Bowler)

32nd Anthony Gonzalez – Ohio State – WO – Indianapolis Colts (Blue)

Second Round

44th Sidney Rice – South Carolina – WO – Minnesota (Pro Bowler)

52nd Brian Leonard – OH – Rutgers – St Louis Rams (IR Cincinnati Bengals)

Third Round

78th James Jones – San Jose St – WO – Green Bay Packers (Blue)

84th Jonathan Wade – Tennessee – DC – St. Louis Rams (Detroit Lions)

Fifth Round

154th Cliff Ryan – Michigan State – DL – St. Louis Rams (starter ’07, ’08, ’09)

Sixth Round

190th Ken Shackleford – Georgia – OT – St. Louis Rams (street FA)

248th Keith Jackson – Arkansas – DL – St. Louis Rams (street FA)

249th Derek Stanley – Whitewater – WO – St Louis Rams (street FA)

2008 Draft

First Round

2nd Chris Long – Virginia – DL – St. Louis Rams (Red)

3rd Matt Ryan – Boston College – QB – Atlanta Falcons (Pro Bowler)

4th Darren McFadden – Arkansas – OH – Oakland Raiders (Blue)

5th Glen Dorsey – LSU – DL – Kansas City (Red)

Second Round

33rdsup> Donnie Avery – Houston – WO – St. Louis Rams (injury history/IR)

36th Jordy Nelson – Kansas State – WO – Green Bay Packers (Blue)

38th John Carlson – Notre Dame – TE – Seattle Seahawks (Blue)

42nd Eddie Royal – Virginia Tech – WO – Denver Broncos (Blue)

44th Matt Forte – Tulane – OH – Chicago Bears (Blue)

49th DeSean Jackson – California – WO – Philadelphia (Pro Bowler)

Third Round

65th John Greco – Toledo – OT – St. Louis Rams (Orange)

73rd Jamal Charles – Texas – OH – Kansas City (Blue)

91st Jermichael Finely – Texas – TE – Green Bay (Pro Bowler)

Fourth Round

101st Justin King – Penn State – DC – St. Louis Rams (Orange)

128th Kennan Burton – Kentucky – WO – St .Louis Rams (street FA)

Players still on board see 5th round

Fifth Round

149th Tim Hightower – Richmond – OH – Arizona Cardinals (Blue)

157th Roy Schueing – Oregon State – OL – St. Louis Rams (street FA)

164th Carl Nicks – Nebraska – OL – New Orleans (Blue)

Sixth Round

174th Josh Morgan – Virginia Tech – WO – San Francisco (Blue)

205th Pierre Garcon – Mount Union – WO – Indianapolis Colts (Blue)

Seventh Round

227th – Peyton Hillis – Arkansas – OH – Denver Broncos (Cleveland/Red)

228th Chris Chamberlain – Tulsa – LB – St. Louis Rams (Orange)

252nd David Vobora – Idaho – LB – St. Louis Rams (Orange)

2009 Draft

First Round

2nd Jason Smith – Baylor – OL – St. Louis Rams (Red)

4th Mark Sanchez – USC – QB – New York Jets (Blue)

15th Brian Cushing – USC – LB – Houston Texans (Rookie of the Year)

17th Josh Freeman – Kansas State – QB – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Blue)

19th Jeremy Macklin – Missouri – WO – Philadelphia (Blue)

20th Brandon Pettigrew – Oklahoma State – TE – Detroit Lions (Blue)

21st Percy Harvin – Florida – WO – Minnesota Viking (Rookie of the Year)

23rd Michael Oher – Mississippi – OL – Baltimore Ravens (Red)

26th Clay Matthews – USC – LB – Green Bay Packers (Blue)

27th Donald Brown – Connecticut – OH – Indianapolis Colts (Red)

27th Hakeem Nicks – North Carolina – WO – New York Giants (Blue)

31st Bennie Wells – Ohio State – OH – Arizona Cardinals (Blue)

Second Round

35th James Laurinaitis – Ohio State – LB – St Louis Rams (Blue)

53rd LeSean McCoy – Pittsburgh – OH – Philadelphia (Blue)

Third Round

*Be aggressive and go get what you target

*65th Shonn Greene – Iowa – OH – New York Jets (Blue)

66th Bradley Fletcher – Iowa – DC – St Louis Rams (Red)

84th Mike Wallace – Mississippi – WO – Pittsburgh (Blue)

Fourth Round

103rd Darell Scott – Clemson – DL – St. Louis Rams (Red)

124th Louis Murphy – Florida – WO – Oakland Raiders (Red)

Fifth Round

140th Johnny Knox – Abilene Christian – WO – Chicago Bears (Blue)

160th Brooks Foster – North Carolina – WO – St. Louis Rams (street FA)

Sixth Round

196th Keith Null – West Texas A&M – QB – St. Louis Rams (street FA)

211th Chris Ogbonnaya – Texas – OH – St. Louis Rams (street FA)