Rankings. There really is no better way to fill summer's void and start a little discussion than picking something and ranking it. On Monday, I ranked (via @justRVB) each team's cornerback situation, from best to worst, for SB Nation. And where did I put the St. Louis Rams?
Probably not as high as you might expect just reading things on this site. In fact, I put the Rams as the lowest ranked team in the NFC West, but I had a good reason for doing so.
I put the Rams at No. 20 on the list. At issue for me isn't the talent the team has at that position, it's the track record of that talent, which is mostly locked up in the potential of a pair of draft picks from this year.
One of the league's worst secondaries last year, the arrival of Jeff Fisher brought in Finnegan to add a real shutdown presence to the team's backfield. Rookie Janoris Jenkins is the odds-on favorite to start opposite Finnegan. Bradley Fletcher can be a quality starter, but two ACL tears in three years is real hurdle. Trumaine Johnson, a third-round pick, could play a role too. This is a group mostly made up of raw talent -- behind Finnegan -- that could surprise.
Finnegan is a beast, but he's one cornerback who is also wearing a new uniform this year. It's an uncertain position for him, and uncertainly at the position only builds from there.
Right now, Janoris Jenkins looks like the starter opposite Finnegan. Jenkins has enormous talent, but he has never played a single snap in the NFL. Trumaine Johnson, a third-round pick, is in the same situation.
The most senior of Rams corners who could start opposite Finnegan is Bradley Fletcher. We've all seen Fletcher's talent, something he revealed even as a rookie. However, in three seasons Fletcher has torn the same ACL twice, the second time came last season. He is still limited at practice.
Seattle's two corners, Brandon Brower and Richard Sherman, played way above expectations last season, and they have a much tougher scheduled to establish themselves this year. Nevertheless, they did perform well at the NFL level. Arizona has a blue chip prospect in Patrick Peterson. They signed former Steeler William Gay to start opposite him. Greg Toller could also start, and he performed well as a starter the year before.
I'll go back and re-rank teams again after the season. When that happens, I expect to see the Rams in a very different spot, a much higher one.