The St. Louis Rams surprised no one by picking Sam Bradford with the first overall pick. The franchise needed a franchise quarterback and felt Bradford fit the bill. Not even some last minute trade buzz could change the powerful hold of conventional wisdom that had been cast in March. Now the Rams turn to the second round, where their first pick could become a real feather in Devaney's cap.
This is a Rams team with lots of needs and they have several directions they could go.
Offensive Tackle - There are still some good players available at offensive tackle. Alex Barron, the former first rounder who never lived up to his full potential, still owns a starting job, but the Rams have made it clear they're willing to trade him. So far, there have been no offers. There probably won't be either. Barron gives the Rams an adequate starter for 2010. However, most assume this to be his last season with the team. Devaney and Spagnuolo could find Barron's replacement with the 33rd pick. Then again, they could wait and find a RT prospect later in the draft.
Wide Receiver - Donnie Avery was the Rams second round pick and the first receiver selected in the 2008 draft. He's young and loaded with potential, but just doesn't seem to have what it takes to be a #1 wide receiver. Talented, young players with questions marks form the core of St. Louis' receivers. Laurent Robinson played brilliantly early on last year before injury ended his season. It wasn't the first time Robinson lost a season to injury. With Avery and Brandon GIbson, the Rams have an intriguing trio of young receivers atop the depth chart. Is it enough to ignore some of the players available with tonight's first pick?
Defensive line - The need for playmakers isn't limited to the offensive side of the ball. Steve Spagnuolo earned his reputation as a defensive coordinator in part based on his aggressive tactics up front. It did earn the Giants a Super Bowl title. That was lost with the Rams last season whose pass rush never materialized as a consistent threat. Chris Long did emerge last season, and he now needs some players up front to make him more effective and provide a more complete attack. A better pass rush would give the secondary a boost. The Rams could also use a DT. However, I think a versatile pass rusher for the outside is a much bigger priority. Fred Robbins bolsters the Rams interior, Darrell Scott flashed some potential last year and there's talent to be had in the later rounds.
Outside Linebacker - I still think the need for more talent on the outside, particularly at WLB, is the biggest need for the Rams woeful run defense, not to mention the need for stronger coverage in the middle of the field. It would have been great to see Sean Weatherspoon slide to #33, even though you knew it wasn't going to happen. Like the situation with Chris Long up front, the team needs talent to play around last year's second round steal, MLB James Laurinaitis.
Running Back - Yes, we've got the great Steven Jackson. However, his body can only tolerate so much abuse. When Jackson sat out plays last year, the offense suffered badly. To some this won't seem like a big need for the team. Don't underestimate just how important it is to get a credible threat to pair with SJ39.
Cornerback - How much faith do you have in Bradley Fletcher's ability to return to the form he displayed before suffering a serious knee injury? I have all the hope in the world that he does round back into form, but I wouldn't take it for granted.
Free safety - Oshiomogho Atogwe has been one of the few consistent bright spots on the Rams defense through recent seasons. Now, he could command a hefty sum of $7 million that would make him one of the top paid safeties in the game, unless the Rams can work out a more favorable deal. From Atogwe's perspective, why take anything less from the Rams than you think you're worth. If the team balks, he'll be a free agent.
The good news, in a sick sort of way, is that the Rams can go for the best player available with their second round pick and still address a major team need.