Falcons acquire corner Tye Hill from Rams

Embarrassed by his team’s play in the secondary last weekend in a preseason win over the Chargers, Falcons’ GM Thomas Dimitroff acquired former first round pick Tye Hill from the Rams in exchange for a 2010 seventh round pick.

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Hill, a former first round pick by the Rams in 2006, has started 21 of 28 games. He will be expected to compete for one of the starting positions.

Hill entered last season as the starting left cornerback for the Rams. The spot has been problematic for the Falcons since they decided to trade DeAngelo Hall over the 2007 offseason.

Anyone who watched San Diego’s Philip Rivers and Vincent Jackson shred the Falcons last Saturday knows that Atlanta needed to do something to address its secondary issues. While Hill has major injury concerns, he played well in his rookie season in 2006 and has solid coverage skills.

While he isn’t the biggest cornerback, Hill has great speed and maybe a change of scenery will serve him well. He’ll challenge Chris Houston and Brent Grimes immediately and could wind up starting at some point during the first month of the season, if not the Falcons’ opener.

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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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