After watching our offensive guards play last year, I can truthfully say I am embarrassed. Depending on how much the Rams are willing to spend will determine who the best decision for us is. We have several veteran options who would surely do a much better job at opening holes for Steven Jackson than Adam Goldberg or even Jacob Bell. With that, lets begin.
Davin Joseph - He is one terrific player. If the Buccaneers make the mistake of letting him go, I think we have no choice but to pounce on him. He is great in both pass protection and run blocking. He can open holes and is versatile. Hes fairly healthy and is in the prime of his career. Legarrette Blount was running wild behind his line. Joseph is a consummate pro who never complained during their losing seasons and would truly make our offensive line elite.
Justin Blalock - Justin Blalock is an extremely healthy (only missed 2 games in 4 years) young up and coming guard. He has done a solid job on the Falcons line for the past 4 years. He is under appreciated and over looked because of the other guys on that line (Harvey Dahl, Tyson Clabo). He is a very efficient run blocker using his big 6'4 329 lbs frame. Blalock is above average in pass blocking. He would be the cheaper option between him and Joseph, though both would do wonders towards our running game. Especially the short running game such as 3rd and 1 or in the redzone.
Now we enter the very expensive options. I don't believe we will pursue either of these guys because of the money we already have invested in our line.
Carl Nicks - He is a top 5 offensive guard in the NFL. He is terrific in creating holes for the run game and keeping his QB standing in the pass game. He would be a very expensive option if the Saints where to let him go. They won't be able to afford the 2 most expensive guards in the game (Jahri Evans, Carl Nicks). I don't see us giving up a ton of money for him, though the difference between him and Adam Goldberg is unbelievable.
Logan Mankins - Mankins is considered the best guard in the NFL by many. He is terrific in every aspect of the game but is looking for a huge payday. I don't see us pursuing him at all. He also held out until week 7 last year showing what kind of character he is. Greed seems to have taken over his brain. I will admit he is on another level skill wise.
At the end of the day I'd say we end up with Blalock. He is flying under the radar and would be terrific on our line. He would improve Steven Jacksons yards per carry. I could see the Rams convert a lot of 3rd downs and 4th downs, as opposed to last year where they were absolutely horrendous on those downs.