Here is a look at this years strength of schedule. This years so you can take a look at where we will likely be drafting and next years so you can see how easy our schedule will be (pretty easy, hopefully we will be able to capitalize.
So here it is:
So it is very close. With three weeks to go it is within 3 games. As a reminder for those who don't remember, or don't know, the first pick is given to the team with the easier schedule because in theory, that means they are worse because they are losing to worse teams.
As for next year's schedule for the Rams. I figured out who we are playing by using this method shown in the video. It is the way the NFL does it but I think there are two games that aren't always exact.
So next year we will play the following teams
Team (2009 current winning %)
Cardinals 2x .615
49ers 2x .462
Seahawks 2x .385
Lions .154 ***
Redskins .308 ***
*** The ones I'm not 100% sure on, but am still 60% sure on.
These teams combine for a whopping .444 winning % so far this season with 3 games left for everyone.
That is 5 very winnable games in the Lions, Redskins, Chiefs, Buccaneers, and Raiders. Then there's also two games against the Seahawks that can be won and then just sneak in another win or two and we're in the playoffs. I know this is very wishful thinking, but the playoffs or at least 6+ wins could be handed to us next year if we make any sort of significant improvement next year. With a very strong draft class we could make a splash next year, along with some key free agent pickups.
If we end up with the first round pick we could have a hugely improved D-line next year with the addition of Mr. Suh. We still need a pass rusher on the outside. So I think we should look for FA's there since 2nd round will likely be spent on QB if we take Suh. Although Suh and Derrick Morgan/Everson Griffen sounds great, QB needs to be addressed.
Add a CB or two in FA and a OLB or two in FA and we have a solid defense with a solid coach. So now we need to find solutions for our offense:
Biggest needs on offense:
1. OC- Shurmur has been absolutely terrible and needs to go. If we can find an offensive mastermind, or just and offensive mind, to bring in then we should do whatever it takes to get the best available OC.
2. QB- We need a QB, plain and simple. Even if Null looks good in his last few games, I still don't want him starting an entire season unless he starts looking like Kurt out there. I'm fine with Jason Campbell to bridge the gap to Null/Pike/whoever. He is actually a great fit for our offense. Is good with all the short throws. I'm not sold on Vick as a starter, maybe a change of pace QB, if there is such a thing, or a gimmick to sell seats, but he just doesn't fit our offense. I'd even take Pennington for two years to get us on the right track.
The next three are hard to put in order so I'll just do them at random:
3. WR- we still need a #1 receiver. There aren't likely many FAs to fill this role. Marshall and V. Jackson will likely be resigned. Braylon Edwards might be available, but I don't really want Butterfingers anyway. I'd take Miles Austin over him, but he's also likely to be resigned. So that leaves us with the draft or nada, since I don't see us making a big trade for one. And there's not a lot available since I don't see us taking one first round. So we could pray that Lafell falls to us or go later with someone like Danario Alexander. He's leading the NCAA in receiving yards and is having a monster year, but he is not the best route runner. I think he's worth a shot still.
4. O-line- Some big holes need to be filled. RT, and at least one Guard. Barron will be gone and Cogs has been shown the door already. So we need to look through FAs to get some viable starters for next season. I'm fine with Bell at G for now, perhaps Greco or Setterstrom will show us enough to earn a job for next year. So there is work to be done here.
5. Backup RB- Darren Sproles is a FA and Noel Devine is in the draft. I'd like both of those guys but they're are many different options to take. In the draft a couple of guys who could be had around Rd. 3 that I like are Evan Royster, Anthony Dixon and Toby Gerhart. These guys aren't exactly change of pace backs but they are solid backs that can relieve Jackson from time to time and still give us a threat running the ball when SJax out.
Here are some other needs that need to be addressed, but probably won't be filled sufficiently due to being overshadowed by 1-5.
TE- I'd love a great TE. I think a great TE would be perfect for us and would improve our offense greatly. If we go after one by Round 4 there are a few guys I like. Fells is good enough for a season or two I guess, but a great TE can really make our offense a threat.
FB- I know we have Karney, but I'd rather have a FB who is more of a threat than just as a blocker. I really want an athletic FB like Leonard Weaver, Leron McClain, or even Robert Holcombe of the Superbowl Rams. None of these guys are available but I think having a FB threat could really help the team. I mean McClain rushed for almost 1000 yards last season and did have over 1000 all-purpose yards. Not seen as a big need but I'd love a play-making FB.