Every time I play around with a mock draft, I try to pick the best receiver I can - in the first or second round - while trying to fill the other positions of need with a (projected) stud. And no matter how I mix it up, I can never fill out ALL the positions with (projected) studs and still get that one (projected) stud receiver. So, I was thinking...
What if the Rams signed Free Agent jailbird Jerome Simpson to a one year deal, and Fisher and Snead looked at each other and said, "That's it! We are set for this year at WR. With some better coaching, better health, a simpler, run-first offense, and with the improvements to the O-Line that we make, this Offensive unit might be serviceable enough for this year. It's nowhere near adequate without a game-breaking wide-out or two, but it'll certainly be better than 13 points a game... maybe 23ish? What could they make out of this season then?
Here's the projected Offense:
QB - Sam Bradford
RB - Steven Jackson (Backup - James)
WR - Steve Smith
WR -Jerome Simpson
WR -Danny Amendola (Backups - Gibson, Alexander, Salas, Pettis and Curry - Somebody has to go! Probably 2.)
TE - Lance Kendricks (Backup - Illinois Mike)
LT- Massie, LG-Zeitler, C-Wells, RG- Dahl, RT-Saffold
In my imaginary world, we've dumped Jason Smith and his enormous hit on the salary cap (and the pasta bar after practice!)
Now, let's draft... focusing on the defense and the O-Line.
In my imaginary world, we're going to trade down from #6 and pick up an additional 2nd and 3rd rounder this year. We're also giving up our 6th round pick in the trade to balance out the value. I know... it's crazy... just roll with it; it's my imaginary world!
1 LB - Luke Kuechly, Boston College
2a DT - Jerel Worthy, Michigan State
2b CB - Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama
2c OG - Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin
3a OT - Bobby Massie, Ole Miss
3b RB - LaMichael James, Oregon
4 LB - Sean Spence, Miami
5 No pick
6 Just traded
7a SS - Matt Daniels, Duke (I almost took a receiver here, but I remembered my own rule)
7b P - Kyle Martens, Rice
See, when you take WR out of the mix, it allows you to concentrate on the core - not those skinny guys that run up and down the field. Next year we can add the two best receivers available and maybe a TE if Kendricks doesn't get his act together (I predict he will have 7-8 TDs), and we can draft another beast or two to throw into the mix on defense.
This year Steven Jackson and LaMichael James can take turns pounding opposing defenses behind our dramatically improved O-Line, and Bradford can get his legs back under him and build his confidence throwing a lot of high-percentage passes to our stable of mediocre possession receivers, and Alexander and Simpson can run down the sidelines as fast as they can and we can take a few shots down field each game, and since we'll be playing the short game so much, and since Bradford has a cannon and is very accurate on those deep balls, we'll even connect on a few home runs from time to time. Until Danario's knees start barking again...
A power running game, while not as flashy as the Greatest Show on Turf, is a beautiful thing to watch... and that's Fisher's game! I'm sure you've heard of "Three yards and a pile of dust"? Well, how about 4.8 yards and some little pieces of rubber flying up in the air? You've gotta love the dome and that fancy turf. Go Rams!