ST. LOUIS (AP) — Coach Jeff Fisher says the St. Louis Rams are not looking to trade quarterback Sam Bradford to make room for Johnny Manziel.
Fisher and general manager Les Snead both poked fun at all the rumors leading up to the draft at a news conference Tuesday. Among them was a purported Manziel sighting in St. Louis last week — after the deadline for teams to visit with prospects.
“No, we are not shopping Sam,” Fisher said, and Snead added jokingly, “We broke a lot of rules on the rumor trail.”
Fisher stopped short of totally quashing the possibility of a deal involving the No. 1 pick of the 2010 draft. He added this is not the best time to put total trust in sources.
“Well, anything can happen,” Fisher said. “A good question, but I think it’s highly unlikely.”
Fisher said the team held private workouts for 45 players at 12-15 locations, including Manziel. At Texas A&M, the Rams also worked out offensive tackle Jake Matthews and wide receiver Mike Evans, both expected to go early in the draft.
Fisher lauded Manziel’s skills in rather generic terms.
“I think his production and his competitiveness and everything speaks for himself,” Fisher said. “He can make all the plays, throw the football, is a great teammate and very productive player. Great for their program.”
Fisher said Bradford and owner Stan Kroenke were major reasons he ended a one-year sabbatical and agreed to coach the Rams in 2012.
“Johnny was probably one of about a dozen quarterbacks we worked out over this process,” Fisher said. “With respect to Sam, he’s our starter.”
Fisher says the Rams are confident Bradford will make a complete comeback from knee surgery that cut short his season in 2013.
But he added that “we also have a responsibility to continue to upgrade this roster,” and the Rams would “do our due diligence.”
The Rams (7-9) have two picks in the first round Thursday: No. 2 overall from the Redskins and No. 13. Fisher said the team had a group of six to eight players in mind for the second pick.
“We don’t even know what Houston’s going to do yet,” Snead said. “You don’t even know who’s going to be picking at one yet.
“Nobody knows who’s the first quarterback off the board yet.”
The second overall pick is the final payoff from the Robert Griffin III deal, which has aided rebuilding efforts for a franchise trying to catch up with the rest of the rugged NFC West. The Rams are interested in trading down to add more picks, just like last year when they ended up getting wide receiver Tavon Austin and outside linebacker Alec Ogletree in the first round.
If they stay put, they could address need and take an offensive tackle, either Matthews or Greg Robinson of Auburn.
So far, there hasn’t been a lot of interest.
“People are still flirting,” Snead said. “Nobody’s asking you to the prom yet.”
The pick is nowhere near as valuable as it was in 2012, when the Redskins were desperate for a quarterback. Manziel is among several quarterbacks that get high ratings.
Bradford has two years remaining on his contract, and the Rams signed veteran backup Shaun Hill. Still, don’t be surprised if they take the long view and grab a quarterback with one of their 12 picks in the three-day draft that starts Thursday night.
Bradford’s injury history is a factor. He started every game in 2010 and 2012 but missed a total of 13 games in 2011 and ’13. Last year, he threw for 14 touchdowns with four interceptions.
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