ST. LOUIS -- The Rams cut ties to their top two picks from the 2006 draft on Tuesday, trading cornerback Tye Hill to the Atlanta Falcons for an undisclosed selection and releasing tight end Joe Klopfenstein.
Hill missed 20 games the past two seasons, including the last 12 games of 2008 because of a knee injury.
The Falcons need more experience in a secondary that has two returning starters, free safety Erik Coleman and right cornerback Chris Houston. But in a preseason victory over San Diego on Saturday, Houston was beaten several times, including a series in which the Chargers converted long third-down passes.
Hill started 10 games for the Rams as a rookie and had three interceptions and one fumble recovery. He'd been working behind Jonathan Wade, a third-round pick in 2007, during the preaseason.
"News like that always shocks you," Wade said. "Because that happened, it doesn't necessarily change anything. It could very easily have been me. When things like this happen, you have to roll with the punches."
"I'm not going to go into specifics of why," Spagnuolo said. "All those guys were evaluated, we make our decisions and move on."
The Rams have just two players -- defensive end Victor Adeyanju (fourth round) and offensive lineman Mark Setterstrom (seventh round) -- remaining from the 2006 draft. That was Scott Linehan's first season as coach.
The Rams also released three undrafted rookies: center Daniel Sanders, cornerback Marcus Brown and wide receiver Jarrett Byers. Rookie wide receiver Brooks Foster, a fifth-round pick who underwent ankle surgery on Aug. 21, was placed on season-ending injured reserve.
Notes: Safety James Butler missed practice to attend the birth of a son. ... QB Marc Bulger (finger) worked in the shotgun with the scout team but still hasn't taken any direct center snaps. ... LB Larry Grant (sprained knee) was hurt Monday and is out at least two weeks.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press