Was Brian Leonard a bust?

Mike Sando had a post up yesterday using the Rams second round choice from the 2007 draft as an example of why the bust label doesn't always fit. From Sando:

The very best players transcend coaching staffs and schemes. Quite a few others need to find the right fit. Leonard's injury last season probably hurt his standing. But the Rams have changed more than Leonard has changed since St. Louis made him a second-round choice in 2007. The fit apparently wasn't right any longer.

Leonard, for most of us, doesn't represent a "bust" in the Ryan Leaf sense of the word. Leonard is more emblematic of the franchise's lack of vision and dysfunction. More to the point, this is a player that should not have been a second round draft pick for a team with severe holes elsewhere on the roster. I'm not going to revisit the second round of that draft through hindsight, wishing we would have drafted one player or another, though we could have emerged with CB Eric Wright in that draft rather than CB Jonathan Wade.

Leonard then got lost in an offense that never had any kind of cohesion. Through game after game, you got the sense that Linehan and his staff didn't know what kind of offense they wanted to run, some hybird of the Turf's glory days meets a run-first offense. At one point, it seemed like maybe they'd just be a nice well-rounded offense, but that didn't prove to be the case either. And with Leonard, that confusion really manifested itself. For awhile, the Rams didn't want a traditional fullback, so they let Madison Hedgecock go, only to realize they needed a fullback. Leonard never had the stuff to be an NFL level blocking FB, but after a season of thinking of him as more of a running back, Linehan et al went back and asked him to bulk up in order to become more of a blocking FB. After the draft, Leonard was going to be a special teams ace. That didn't happen either.

Leonard's story became the perfect summation for the Linehan era, and a reminder of why the Rams had to play it safer with their picks this year as they finally get the chance to rebuild under a cohesive vision.

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