Today can't pass without a post devoted to the fact that the St. Louis Rams trade of Alex Barron is supposed to be completed sometime before midnight. The end of an era is here. Barron's departure and the imminent arrival of LB Bobby Carpenter from Dallas has been covered in recent days, but there are a few more thoughts on the matter to share.
Rams vs. Tight Ends
The Rams were awful defending opposing tight ends last season. It's hard to blame the lack of LB help exclusively when the secondary had problems of its own. Opposing TEs had a 22.8 percent DVOA against the Rams, a better number than #1and #2 WRs. That was the 28th worst number in the league, per Football Outsiders. Opposing TEs averages 49.6 yards per game and 6.5 passes per game against the Rams.
Safety play and cornerbacks will go a long way toward improving the Rams numbers against tight ends. Will Bobby Carpenter help on that front? He could, but the bottom line is that we won't know until we see. Nevertheless, giving up on Barron, who had done all he could do here, for a player who could potentially help address that issue was a good move.
Not Our Problem Anymore
Billy Devaney inherited a team with very few productive former first round picks. You don't need any statistical formula to tell you what kind of problems it causes a team to have first round picks not producing. Dumping Tye Hill was easy; Barron was a little harder to cut ties with because he at least gave the Rams a consistently healthy average player to do a job. Recent additions of Jason Smith and Rodger Saffold made the decision that much easier. Too often teams keeping giving first round picks chance after chance to live up to their potential and make good on the front office's investment. It can be a costly decision. Give the current front office credit for not hanging on to former first round picks whose shelf-life has expired.
Here's a list of first rounders dispatched by Devaney and Co.
Adam Carriker, 2007 - Traded for a swap of 5th round picks, which the Rams turned into DE Hall Davis. Carriker was out of place in St. Louis, a 3-4 DE, like so many picks from the Linehan era. Some thought the Rams received too little in return, but what exactly did Carriker bring to the team when he was healthy enough to get on the field?
Tye Hill, 2006 - Traded for a seventh rounder from the Falcons last year, which the Rams used for DE George Selvie this year. Maybe it was the injuries, but the could barely justify putting Hill on the field by the end of his time here.
Alex Barron, 2005 - See above.