The Rams had needs all over the board, heading into the 2010 draft, with defensive line a priority. So much of a priority that Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy were in the team's talks (in public, anyway) until the final week of pre-draft hype. However, once draft clock started, the Rams waited until the third day of the draft to give Spagnuolo some new molding clay for his defensive line: bull-rusher Hall Davis and speed-rushers Eugene Sims and George Selvie. And so far in camp, it's Selvie that has made the biggest splash.
The former top prospect at USF, who once overshadowed teammate Jason Pierre-Paul (selected 15th overall by the NY Giants), was awarded two simulated sacks during the Rams' scrimmage on Saturday. And this was no outlier -- Selvie's name shows up in several positive practice reports from the past week.
Even Coach Spags chipped in some words of praise for the rookie: "He’s a long guy with really good get-off. He’s obviously been taught well. That’s the first thing for a defensive end, to get a good jump on the ball. He has that and is long-armed." However, he cautions on all three of his defensive end projects: "They’ve got a long way to go, all three of them, in the run game."
At the very least, Selvie has shown that he's not going to flame out in camp. But what do his pro prospects look like? I put that question yesterday to two scouts from New Era Scouting, Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) and Aaron Alyosius.
Selvie impressed at the Rams' scrimmage. How far away is he from his pro potential?
@RamsHerd @AaronAloysius I liked Selvie a lot, more than JPP. He's a pure pass rusher, just has to stay healthy and motivated. A little soft
Indeed, Miller's scouting report on Selvie gives him very high marks for speed, pass-rushing technique, and play recognition. ("He plays smart and fast at the same time.") However, the report noted his struggles to free himself from blockers who latch on.
@RamsHerd Selvie's a long-limbed pass rusher with a good 1st step. Wasn't very high on him, but he could develop into a good 3rd down guy
This reflects the negative side of the scouting report (emphasis mine):
But the consensus is that he could really help the Rams at a critical area of need -- speed to the passer on obvious passing downs.
As a situational pass rusher he should be fine. He reminds me lot of Robert Mathis.
I'll take that comparison any day. Mathis has blossomed from a raw fifth-round pick into an integral part of the Colts' defense, bracketing Dwight Freeney and preventing offensive lines from making an easy double-team. As Chris Long progresses in his third year, this is exactly the kind of player he needs on his opposite side.