Saints inquire about Albert Haynesworth

Even though the Lions and Titans have dropped out of the running, the Redskins remain open to trading Albert Haynesworth and according to Jason Reid of the Washington Post, the Saints have inquired about the defensive tackle.

The Saints have the No. 64 overall pick and it would take at least that selection and possibly one more to acquire Haynesworth from Washington. That said, he has already voiced his displeasure over playing nose tackle in the Redskins’ new 3-4 alignment and the team recently acquired Adam Carriker from the Rams. Thus, maybe the Skins would be willing to take less value for Haynesworth, even though they just forked over $21 million in bonuses earlier this month.

While neither played poorly, the Saints didn’t get a lot of production out of either Tony Hargrove or Sedrick Ellis last season. Ellis is the better pass-rusher while Hargrove is sounder against the run, but neither is the player Haynesworth is. He would instantly upgrade the interior of the Saints’ defensive line and would cause panic for contenders in the NFC that already have a hard enough time keeping up with New Orleans’ potent offense.

The second round will certainly be intriguing.

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Redskins’ acquisition of Carriker could affect Haynesworth, No. 1 pick’s Adam Schefter is reporting that the Redskins have acquired defensive tackle Adam Carriker from the Rams, as both teams swapped fifth and seventh round picks in this week’s draft. Carriker was St. Louis’ first round selection in 2007 at No. 13.

Carriker missed all of last season after having to undergo shoulder surgery in September. But at 25, he still has plenty of potential and is a better fit (on paper at least) than Albert Haynesworth to play in the Redskins’ 3-4 defense. Carriker also played for new Washington defensive coordinator Jim Haslett in St. Louis.

Speaking of Haynesworth, the possibility that he’s dealt over the next couple of days just went up. He wants out of town and if the Redskins are willing to eat some of the guaranteed money that came along with the massive contract they gave him last offseason, there’s no doubt they’ll find a trade partner. Two teams at the top of the draft – Detroit and Tampa – might be suitors for Haynesworth.

This trade could also have an affect on which player the Rams select at No. 1. They have an obvious need at defensive tackle now and seeing as how Ndamukong Suh is the best prospect in the draft, St. Louis might surprise everyone and take him over quarterback Sam Bradford. It still seems unlikely that they will go that route, but the trade of Carriker complicates things.

Of course, this trade could also mean very little in the end. Carriker is a stubbed toe away from missing the entire 2010 season, so Washington might be inclined to hang onto Haynesworth regardless of the new addition. St. Louis also needs a quarterback above all else and if they have Bradford rated at the top of their board, he will be their pick.

Either way, things just got a lot more interesting with the NFL draft a little over 48 hours away now.

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St. Louis Rams 2010 Team Needs

As part of our 2010 NFL Draft coverage, I will be breaking down positional needs for all 32 teams, starting in reverse alphabetical order. Next up is the St. Louis Rams. Check out other team needs by clicking here.

1. Quarterback
A team doesn’t land the first overall pick in the draft without having a ton of holes that need to be addressed before the start of a new season. But even with all the areas of need that the Rams have, it all starts with the quarterback, which should be the Rams’ top priority this offseason. Marc Bulger turns 33 in July and ever since he signed a six-year, $65 million contract extension in 2007 he’s been worthless. Whether it comes in free agency or the draft, the Rams must upgrade the quarterback position this offseason and close the book on the Bulger era in St. Louis. They can’t possibly head into 2010 with Bulger at the top of the quarterback depth chart, especially considering they select at the top of each round in April and seeing as how Michael Vick could probably be had via trade. Rams GM Billy Devaney is familiar with Vick from their time together in Atlanta and Steve Spagnuolo has had nothing but positive things to say about the troubled quarterback so far this offseason. Vick could be acquired for cheap and while he certainly wouldn’t be a long-term answer, he would bring some excitement to the position and give the Rams more playmakers on offense. If not, the Rams could look at drafting a signal caller in one of the first two rounds.

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2009 NFL Preview: #31 St. Louis Rams

Check out all of our 2009 NFL team previews.

Offseason Additions: Jason Brown (C); James Butler (CB); Kyle Boller (QB); Billy Bajema (TE).

Offseason Losses: Torry Holt (WR); Orlando Pace (OT); Pisa Tinoisamoa (LB); Nick Leckey (C); Anthony Becht (TE); Fakhir Brown (CB); Jason Craft (CB); Dane Looker (WR); Brett Romberg (C).

Player to Watch: Laurent Robinson, WR.
The Rams acquired the former third round pick from Atlanta this offseason and thus far, he has impressed. He’s already solidified the No. 2 receiver position across from Donnie Avery and could emerge as the Rams’ top playmaker in their passing game. At 6’2, 194-pounds, Robinson has excellent size, speed and has demonstrated this summer that he can catch the ball in traffic. Injuries forced him out of Atlanta, but he’s making a name for himself in St. Louis and could become a household name by the end of the season.

Team Strength: In the past three years, the Rams have invested two first round picks in their defensive line and with the guidance of former Giants’ defensive guru Steve Spagnuolo, the unit could become a strength this season. Of course, that will depend on whether or not former second overall pick Chris Long can take the next step in his development and if former ’07 first round pick Adam Carriker can stay healthy. Defensive ends tend take a couple years to develop, but Long has the drive and tenacity to inevitably succeed. Although he’s getting long in the tooth, Leonard Little still brings plenty to the table as a pass rusher and could help free up Long to make plays on the other side. Assuming Carriker and Little can stay healthy and Long blossoms in his second year, the D-line could be one of the few positives for the Rams this season.

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Are the Rams the NFL’s sleeper team of ’09?

Mike Tanier of the New York Times must have been hitting the sauce the past couple days, because he’s suggesting that the Rams will be one of the NFL’s surprise teams in 2009.

It turns out that Spagnuolo isn’t the only reason for optimism in St. Louis. Many statistical indicators suggest that the Rams are close to rising again. One is their fumble recovery percentage: the Rams forced 17 fumbles last year but recovered just 5, a sign that with better luck and a dose of Spagnuolo’s coaching, their defense will create a few more turnovers.

The Rams were one of the worst teams in the league in red zone running, and it takes only a slight improvement in that area to make a big difference on the scoreboard. The Rams lost many of their starters to injuries in 2008 and can get better just by getting healthier.

One other major factor works in the Rams’ favor: their division. The Seahawks are rebuilding. The 49ers haven’t had a winning season since 2002. The Cardinals won the conference, but they are no powerhouse. With a few slight improvements, the Rams could easily go 4-2 or 5-1 against the N.F.C. West. Those wins alone would give them their best record in three years!

I like the direction of this team under Spagnuolo more than I do Scott Linehan, but this is still a bad football team, even in a weak division.

Steven Jackson is a beast, but the Rams’ offensive line is brutal (remember that Jason Smith hasn’t taken a snap in the NFL yet) and Marc Bulger checked out years ago. He plays with zero passion and even if he were into the games, the offensive line will get him stomped anyway. The defense has some nice young pieces to build around in Chris Long, Ron Bartell, Adam Carriker and James Laurinaitis, but there are still a ton of holes on that side of the ball, too.

Will the Rams be improved in ’09? Maybe. Will they be a sleeper? Pass me whatever Tainer is drinking and I’ll let you know.

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