Interview with Dave Razzano by Dewey Hammond.
Dave Razzano is a former NFL scout and Playmaker Mobile correspondent with more than 22 years of professional scouting experience with the San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals under NFL coaches including Bill Walsh, George Seifert, Chuck Knox and Dick Vermeil. He's been a part of five Super Bowls with three Super Bowl wins (49ers, 1989, 1990; Rams, 2000).
Q: I know you're a big Sam Bradford fan, obviously he's a bright spot on what last season was an otherwise dismal franchise. How quickly can they turn the tide with Bradford?
A: From what I've seen this preseason it's going to be a huge struggle early for Bradford. The offensive line is a huge question mark. They got eaten alive by the Vikings earlier this week. They've got a #2 pick who struggles even at right tackle. Bradford got hit like seven times the other night. It's going to be a huge struggle plus they have no receivers, no proven guys. If it was a place like Cleveland, which has a good offensive line, you can stick a young guy in and play. If you're a rookie QB you want to go to a middle of the pack club with some talent, but this Rams line is so mediocre that Bradford will be running for his life. It's a difficult situation. They have to play this guy because new ownership is coming in this year. The whole regime is under the gun. They have to win this year.
Q: Could it be a situation similar to David Carr, who never really got a fair shake in Houston because the O-line was so bad?
A: No because Bradford can get rid of the ball. Carr holds onto the ball too long. He still does that. I watched him the other night. I think Bradford will be a Pro Bowl QB in time. They just need to build the O-line and receivers. They have Steven Jackson but teams can load eight in the box and play single coverage and bring the house with the pass rush. It'll be bad but he won't be a David Carr. He'll be much better. It'll just take time.
Q: Who will be his favorite target?
There's a couple guys: Laurent Robinson, Donnie Avery, maybe Amendola, who is a slot guy. Danny Amendola is a bit like Wes Welker. If Bradford can't set his feet, if he's getting harassed, he'll dump a lot of balls to Amendola underneath. I can see him having a very productive year this season. But Donnie Avery has to step up. Laurent Robinson has to step up. They just don't have a lot of proven guys. I'm shocked they didn't go after a few more proven veterans for some insurance for their young QB. It could get ugly there in St. Louis.
Q: Let's talk about their strengths and weaknesses on the defensive side of the ball.
A: Obviously they hit on James Laurinaitis, this middle backer has been very productive and will be an anchor to their defense for several years. He's a highly productive guy. High motor, high energy. He'll have a lot of tackles. He'll be one of the league leaders in tackles. Chris Long, up front, that's another guy who was overdrafted. He's an overachieving guy as opposed to a true pass rusher. He's a try-hard guy but that a lot of times doesn't work out at this level because the offensive lineman are just so much bigger. That's why he's been a disappointment to this point, at least in terms of stats. He's not going to line up and beat you. He'll beat you with second and third effort so you've got to surround him with talent. With more talent he'll be good. That defense has Laurinaitis and Long but they need more on the defensive interior, they need more in the middle to help Laurinaitis. And their safeties and corners are both very average, a huge weakness, which is why teams score so many points against them. They've got two guys on defense and will also have another high draft pick this year.
Q: Did the Rams hit on anybody late in the draft — fifth, sixth, seventh round, undrafted free agent perhaps — that you really like?
A: The tight end from Illinois (Mike Hoomanawanui) will be a good pick for them. He's an athlete. Then there is George Selvie, the pass rusher from South Florida. He had a big junior year but fell off his senior year. If they hit on him, he was a seventh round pick. That's a good seventh round pick for a guy with some pass rush skill. Other than that it's a bunch of guys with potential.