It's going to be a short one from me today. I've got a cold that feels worse than a Grant Wistrom hit and don't want to be anywhere but on the coach complaining about how bad daytime TV really is.
Today, I wanted to gauge where the Rams stand heading into the draft. To do this, I've opted for the time honored web tradition of position grades. Today, we'll start with the offense, and tomorrow the defense. (if you want to talk about the hair thing, if you're not sick of it already, it's covered.) So, while I have a minute without mucus rolling out of my nose...
QB- After last season, it's a wonder Marc Bulger can still walk, much less throw a football. The only person on the team with more pressure on them to improve is Scott Linehan. Maybe I'm overly optimistic, but I think he can get back to his old self this season. He also has some motivation with Trent Green behind him on the depth chart, who can easily step in a run new OC Al Saunders' offense...if he's healthy.
RB- Two words: Steven Jackson. Hopefully, though, Brian Leonard will have grown enough as a player to take some carries and keep the Rams from burning out Jackson's legs and serve as a competent blocker. Only more injuries on the o-line or, heaven forbid, to himself can prevent SJ from having a career year.
TE- The Rams needed a blocker for the TE spot, so they went out and signed Anthony Becht. At 29, McMichael should have plenty left to be a playmaker at the position. But what's the deal with Klopfenstein and Byrd?
WR- Losing Bruce hurts, but if Bennett can stay healthy and play up to his potential this season, the Rams have a solid #2 behind Torry Holt. At 32, Holt's no spring chicken, but he played his way to another 1000+ yard season and right into the Pro Bowl with a knee that was less than 100%. What exactly do we have in Hagans, Stanley and Williams? They need a speedy route runner for the #3 WR spot. Some may argue with my grade, but Holt and Bennett (with regained form) are still better than the receiving corps on many NFL teams.
OL- This is the big one for the 2008 iteration of the Rams. Pace is healthy and the Jacob Bell signing significantly strengthens pass protection on the left side of the line. There's a question mark in the middle, but Romberg, Incognito and Stetterstrom are at least interesting options with some potential. This should be a make or break year for Alex Barron, but changes in the coaching staff have the potential to help him realize at least some of his potential. Quality depth will be key.
Grade: B- (assuming health)
Feel free to debate these grades and offer your own. I'm probably more forgiving than I should be.