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Rams Sign First-Round Pick Thomas

July 23, 2002

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ST. LOUIS (AP) _ First-round draft pick Robert Thomas, whom the St. Louis Rams hope can move right into the starting lineup, has signed with the team.

Rick Smith, the Rams’ director of public relations, said Tuesday that the 31st overall pick in last April’s draft signed a five-year deal on Monday.

The Rams open training camp Saturday in Macomb, Ill. Last year, St. Louis had three first-round picks, none of whom were signed by the opening of training camp.

St. Louis has Thomas penciled in to start as a weakside linebacker after he was a three-year starter at middle linebacker at UCLA.

The outside spot generally entails more pass coverage responsibilities, but the Rams believe that with his 4.5 speed in the 40-yard dash, Thomas is capable of handling the pass-coverage duties.

The Rams have signed seven of their eight draft picks. Sixth-round choice Steve Bellisari, a quarterback from Ohio State who is being tried at safety, is the only unsigned rookie.

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