According to SI's Peter King, more than one team was "afraid" of No. 8 pick Tavon Austin heading into the draft.
Teams were apparently worried hangers on from Austin's past would follow him into the league, proving a distraction. Austin alluded to the problem in a weekend interview with the Rams' website. "Everybody expects a lot of things from you as far as money," Austin said. "Everybody wants to be around you. My phone doesn't stop ringing now. It feels like they're counting my bank account now. So that's probably the hardest thing for me right now, just people." The fact that Austin himself is already leery of the "issue" means it's unlikely to be an issue at all. The Rams got the top playmaker in the draft.
Per the team's official website, Rams first-round OLB Alec Ogletree is going to work at strong-side linebacker initially.
Ogletree is best suited for the weak side where he can chase ball carriers and cover tight ends. The Rams apparently feel comfortable with Jo-Lonn Dunbar sticking at WILL instead of flipping him to SAM. Ogletree intercepted a pass intended for the tight end on his first snap at minicamp, for what it's worth.
Rams fourth-round G/C Barrett Jones (Lisfranc surgery) is expected to be held out until training camp.
"He may be 80 percent at OTAs and things like that, but mentally and everything else considered, he'll be fine by the time camp starts," coach Jeff Fisher said. Jones (6-foot-4, 306) could compete for the Rams' left guard job, but he projects better as a backup at both guard and center.
The Rams envision third-round WR Stedman Bailey as their replacement for Brandon Gibson.
Gibson had been a starter in recent years, but the Rams never viewed him as more than a No. 3 or No. 4 wideout. Bailey will compete for fourth receiver duties as a rookie, behind Brian Quick, Tavon Austin, and Chris Givens. He can also returns kicks and punts. Bailey is unlikely to be a fantasy factor in 2013.
New Rams WR Tavon Austin expects to get snaps out of the backfield this season in addition to playing slot receiver and returning kicks.
The Rams plan to use Austin as a movable chess piece, a la Percy Harvin and Randall Cobb. "They showed me all the positions that I did when I played for Coach (Dana) Holgorsen," Austin said, referring to his college coach. "They're going to use me in the backfield. Coach Fisher talked to me about special teams, and I'm definitely a slot receiver. So, they definitely have a plan for me." Austin rushed 62 times for 643 yards last season, and famously torched Oklahoma for 344 yards on 21 carries. He'll be a fantasy threat from day one.
Rams re-signed exclusive rights free agent TE Mike McNeill to a one-year, $555,000 contract.
The 2011 undrafted free agent appeared in 14 games last season, catching four passes while playing 155 snaps, primarily as a blocker. He'll have to re-earn his roster spot this summer.
Rams signed Auburn TE Philip Lutzenkirchen.
Lutzenkirchen (6-foot-3 1/4, 258) managed just 15 receptions for 139 yards (9.3 YPR) and no scores as a senior, missing the final six games with a hip injury that required surgery. A plodding H-back type, Lutzenkirchen ran a 4.94 forty at the Combine and a 4.98 at his Pro Day. He'll compete for a special teams role.