South Carolina junior Marcus Lattimore has declared for the draft despite still recovering from a nasty season ending knee surgery. No stranger to injury, this kid went from a can't miss prospect to a lame duck in a hurry. But someone's going to give him a chance, and here's why it should be us.
1) A viable replacement for #39
Lattimore is a feature back when healthy. Half backs are tricky in the draft. Rams
fans should know; our 7th round back has kept our 2nd round back on the bench all season. But make no mistake about the South Carolina product, he's a first round talent., which leads to...
2) He's a value pick
Most people have Lattimore going in the 3rd round or later. I don't see him leaving the 3rd and I can even see him going late in the 2nd. If he can get on the field and show teams that his recovery is on track, he'll garner plenty of attention. Still though, the team who gives him a chance will want to closely monitor his workload, and to be in that position you have to...
3) Run the ball by committee.
SJAX's shoes will be hard to fill. Fortunately we have the makings of a three-headed monster here in St Louis. Daryl Richardson
may be the steal of the draft, taken next to last, and Isaiah Pead
can only benefit from another offseason and more time on the field. Lattimore is a versatile back like Jackson, and he can use his size and tenacity to make plays that the diminutive Richardson and Pead cannot. Of course, when dealing with a back who has a history with injuries, it helps to...
4) Have experience at the helm.
Jeff Fisher has done something amazing by keeping Steven Jackson fresh. These last few wins would be losses if the big bull wasn't running like a young buck. JAX's late season legs aren't his doing, they're Fisher's. Playing running back is bad for your health and with 20 years of experience, few coaches have seen this as clearly as Fisher. Ram faithfuls will remember a demonic, Fisher coached, Eddie George taking over the second half of a certain Superbowl. Imagine keeping that guy healthy.
Finally, it always helps when you have...
5) Four first round picks in the next two drafts
I'm not saying we have picks to waste, but statistically, we are in a better position to miss than any other team. In other words, we can take a bust and keep on churning when other teams would be derailed. Is Marcus Lattimore a risk? Hell yeah. But if the post Jackson landscape scares you as much as me, it's something to think about.