The more reading I've been doing, the more I've been thinking about what makes teams good. Teams are not good based solely on being solid at every or most positions. Teams are good because they develop an identity, stick to those guns, and master that art. Jeff Fisher has historically been a run it, run it, run it sort of coach, and the Rams happen to have this guy named Steven Jackson in the backfield, so there's a pretty good indication that the Rams are going to try to develop a ground and pound identity this offseason. This post is about how they can accomplish this.
So let's start with what we can get in the draft, and then discuss free agency options.
Round 1, Pick 6: There are players at 3 different positions worthy of being taken at #6: Those being RB Trent Richardson, OG David DeCastro, and whichever DT seems to be the best by then.
With Richardson, we would be getting a phenomenal backup to Steven Jackson for the next couple years where he would learn a ton about the game, and and keep our running game more than solid and give us a true "feature back" whenever we do part ways with SJax.
With DeCastro, we're helping out any RB that lines up in our backfield. He's going to be an absolute beast on the interior, and develop holes that will keep backs from developing the Steven Jackson Stutter.
We must have a solid defense to be a ground and pound team, and that starts in the trenches. There are quite a few DTs in this draft that would add a lot to our defensive line; even making it borderline elite. However, there is quite a bit of talent, and we should be able to draft a stud DT with one of our 2nd rounders.
Round 2, Pick 33 and 36: There are once again 3 different positions with players who would be good pickups here: WR Kendall Wright, Best DT available, or best OLB available.
Kendall Wright will likely not last to this point, but if he does he'll help our ground and pound style more than any other receiver in this draft. Teams won't worry about a receiver who is gonna have a 15-yd reception when they stack the box (Justin Blackmon)... They WILL worry about a guy who will break a 40 yard player either through making a defender miss or running right by him on play action.
In one of these two picks will be the best place to cash in on the DT talent in this draft. There should still be elite prospects at the position at this point, and we can pick up whichever one lands here.
The depth of outside linebackers in this draft is reportedly in rounds 2-4. Unless someone really high on our board from round 1 falls here, I think OLB will be our best bet. I've seen some interest in Zach Brown, but I've also seen a lot of negatives thrown around about him, so I'm not sure who exactly to take.
Round 3, Pick 66: From this point to the rest of the draft, the Rams can start going BPA. That is, unless they don't take Richardson. If they don't take Richardson, this would be a good spot to grab a speed back such as LaMichael James.
Free Agency: FA is much less predictable than the draft, but here's a brief list of guys that the Rams should target
Cortland Finnegan: His physicality and demeanor would make an immediate impact on our defense. He has a high price tag though.
Le'Ron McClain: Fullbacks aren't used like they used to be, and also don't require that large of salaries. However, they can make a huge difference in a ground and pound system. McClain would help our rushing attack.
Pierre Garcon, Robert Meachem, Mario Manningham, in that order: For the same reason Kendall Wright will help, Garcon will do a lot for our team. Meachem and Manningham can help too, but Garcon is the best option. Just take a look at what he did for the Colts this past season.
LaRon Landry: This one is a bit of a stretch, but another guy who would help develop this identity. He's about as hard of a hitter as they come, and plays with a chip on his shoulder.
Anyways, just some things for everyone to think about. Let me know what you think.