Sam Bradford is the obvious #1 guy, and will be for the future. However, if something happens to him this season, I'm going to be really concerned letting Austin Davis be our backup QB. I am still unsure why we cut Kellen Clemens. I really just don't ever hope it comes to a situation like that. If Davis can prove that he is capable of being a #2 QB, but if not, hopefully another veteran QB is signed next offseason.
2013 Depth Chart: 1) Bradford 2) Davis 3) ?
If Steven Jackson can prove within this run-heavy offense that he can still get 1000 yards and is still capable to do it next year, but can once again be counted upon. I like his backups in Isaiah Pead and Daryl Richardson. The jury is still out on Terrance Ganaway since I have not seen him play. The RB position is stacked, has youth and talent, and is solid. If SJ39 cant hold up for next season, maybe in the first round we select a RB. I dont see that happening however.
2013: 1) Jackson 2) Pead 3) Richardson FB) Miller Ganaway:?
If appears as if Danny Amendola will get a contract extension and that is a good thing having him, Long, Bradford, and Laurinaitis locked up long term. Brian Quick is still learning and can only improve and the same goes for Chris Givens. I see Steve Smith and Brandon Gibson as stop-gauge type players. If I was thinking in terms of a long term future plan, I see Amendola as the slot man, Brian Quick as a #2 WR, and Chris Givens as the speedy #4. I also see long term Austin Pettis as a strong #5 guy with a big body and ST ability and another red zone target. Steve Smith and Brandon Gibson are not #1 receiver material. This is Gibson's last chance and Smith is hoping he has returned from a torn ACL. The Rams still lack a #1 receiver, and that should be addressed next offseason.
2013: 1) ? 2) Quick 3) Amendola 4) Quick 5) Pettis Smith & Gibson: ? Maybe another young kid too
Lance Kendricks is not technically the starter, but he is the most talented tight end on the roster. I like Matthew Mulligan as a blocking tight end and that works well in Fisher's run scheme. I have no problem with him. I'm not sure what the ceiling is for Mike McNeill but if he can prove he can block he can stick around. I'm just unsure if he hit his ceiling already. He could be a solid, change-of--pace #3 TE. The only question I have with Kendricks is if he truly is the guy. The guaranteed starter that is always reliable and a security blanket like a Danny Amendola. He has great skills and great athletic ability but seems to be almost a great #2 TE than a solid #1 the Rams need him to be. Whether that dictates bringing in a very reliable veteran who can get open or still believe in Lance remains to be seen.
2013: 1 or 2) Kendricks, ? 2,3) Mulligan, McNeill
There are really only 2 and a half guarantees on the offensive line when there really needs to be five. Those 2 and a half would be Scott Wells at center, Harvey Dahl at right guard, and Rodger Saffold starting somewhere on the O-line. The question marks that remain are that can Saffold be the long term left tackle, can Rok Watkins be the future left guard, and who will eventually replace Barry Richardson. There is possibly a crazy, future senario that I can see Dahl at RT, Watkins at RG, Wells at C, Saffold at LG, and somebody else at LT. Not sure how realistic that is though. I really like the ability of Watkins and he should start over Robert Turner to see what we have. Richardson can't last forever and Wayne Hunter is a decent at best backup tackle. Wells and Dahl are fine as they do their thing. This year is the moment of truth whether Rodger Saffold can protect Sam's blindside. Saffold is a perfectly capable starting O-lineman but it is unclear if LT is that position. Maybe next season it's RT or a guard spot, or maybe he proves himself and stays the LT. It all depends. But I see Saffold, Watkins, Wells, Dahl, Turner staying for the future. The future is really uncertain for Hunter and Richardson and I do not know enough about Shelley Smith and Ty Nsekhe.
2013: Wells at center; Dahl, Watkins, and Saffold starting somewhere; Turner is capable backup G and C; new tackle is needed. Hunter, Richardson, Nsekhe, and Smith - ?
The Rams are perfectly set up with Chris Long signed for long term and young Robert Quinn on the other side of him. Long is very capable on the run and is great against the pass and the 2 can only be greater if the Rams actually have the lead in the game. Quinn needs the snaps of a regular to get better against the run but has shown the ability to be an elite pass rusher. William Hayes is a Titan carryover who is big and is very capable against the run as well. Eugene Sims is a rare, late round success story for the Rams' horrible drafting that has good talent and has gotten better year. In the near future, the Rams should probably get a younger DE that is a big guy to eventually surpass Hayes. You should build around Sims, Quinn, and Long.
2013: 1) Long 2) Quinn 3) Sims 4) Hayes - eventually someone else
The Rams completely rebuilt their defensive tackle position by tossing out veterans Fred Robbins, Justin Bannan, and Gary Gibson and have replace them with young talent that is better in the long term. Kendall Langford and Michael Brockers are the future of the Rams interior line. The front four of Long, Quinn, Langford, and Brockers is very young and extremely talented with a lot of ability. I am a little worried about the depth behind them however. Brockers is already out the first month of the season with a high ankle sprain. Someone needs to replace him but former 4th round pick, Darell Scott had knee surgery and is unable to play. Matthew Conrath, an undrafted guy from VA is very raw and stands at 6'7 (which the Rams really seem to like) is injured and cannot play as well. Trevor Laws was expended to be the 3rd DT but was placed on IR with a nagging injury. Jermelle Cudjo, a come-out-of-nowhere story, came on with the 2010 Rams and was very solid. He was on IR all of last season and has been solid this preseason. He is now expected to hold the reigns next to Langford until Brockers comes back. Cudjo is not a starting DT but is another capable backup. The only other DT is waiver wire pickup Kellen Heard from Buffalo who is expected to be the third DT @ Detroit. I dont know much about Heard but he is probably a stop-gauger in the short term. The clock is running out on Darell Scott. He was drafted by the previous regime and needs to prove his durability and skills to Fisher & Co. Conrath is young and can developed.
2013: 1) Brockers 2) Langford 3) ? 4) Cudjo 5) Conrath - Scott, Heard, Laws - ?
For the forth season in a row, we can say there is only 1 true starter in the linebacking core. That is recently paid James Laurinaitis. I, however, am a believer in that a 2nd mainstay has been found. I really like the energy and prowess Jo-Lonn Dunbar brings to the Rams on the weak side. The strongside once again is another turnstyle with veterans Rocky McIntosh and Mario Haggan. Those 2 are okay and at least big but are not the long term answers. I like former 7th round pick Josh Hull as a backup linebacker and am not a huge believer in Justin Cole. I like current PS player Aaron Brown who was this year's 7th round pick as a backup to Dunbar in the future. The Rams have now paid their captain on defense and may have another starter for the long term. They are almost there.
2013: WLB- Dunbar, Brown MLB- Laurinaitis, Hull SLB- ? McIntosh, Haggan, Cole - ?
Going into training camp I thought the Rams had the deepest 6 man corner position in the NFL. Coming into Opening Week, one was traded, another was dropped, and another was close to being traded. An undrafted player was also added to the mix. I loved the six man group of Cortland Finnegan, Janoris Jenkins, Bradley Fletcher, Trumaine Johnson, Jerome Murphy, and Josh Gordy. Fisher & Co. apparently didn't. Gordy was traded to the Colts and Murphy, a former 3rd rounder was waived. Bradley Fletcher was almost traded. Quinton Pointer somehow made the team as an UDFA as the fifth corner. I love the starting combo of Jenkins and Finnegan, both Pro Bowl caliber corners. I like Trumaine Johnson out of Montana as a slot corner. The problem is Bradley Fletcher just came off a torn ACL and was looking better when he had Murphy and Gordy backing him up. Now he will be relied on even more as a frequently injured player to be the 3rd corner in front of 2 rookies. Depth at CB was one of the main reasons the 2011 Rams season failed. I am just worried again. With the 2 rookies and Finnegan was good. Having Murphy and Gordy was good and maybe Fletcher could ease back into form. Now, however, he will be counted on. Finnegan is durable and never misses games. It worries me if Jenkins, Johnson, and Pointer have rookie problems and Fletcher will be counted upon. This is his 2nd ACL tear. Maybe we will upgrade during the season but it is unclear. Once again, I love Finnegan, Jenkins, and Johnson. Fletcher will be good as well as a 3rd/4th corner being a former starter. The jury is still out on Pointer and what he can do. Fletcher is also in a contract year.
2013: 1) Finnegan 2) Jenkins 3) Johnson 4) Fletcher 5) ? 6) ? Pointer - ?
One word to describe the Rams' safeties - undersized. Quintin Mikell was a good signing under Spags to fill a hole in the secondary and seemed to mesh well with 2nd year UDFA Darian Stewart. It is a little bothering that both starters are not big, hard bruiser types. Mikell and Stewart both have great ball skills and instincts. Stewart is also a very good blitzer as a safety but often took too many chances and missed. The problem last year, however, was their inability to tackle. The safety had a big blame on the huge runs that plagued the Rams in 2011. They were weak tacklers. Craig Dahl, on the other hand, is usually a strong tackler but has absolutely 0 coverage skills. Dahl can tackle but is still a bit undersized and is slow. I wasn't surprised the Rams kept Rodney McLeod after a strong preseason but was really surprised they also kept Matthew Daniels. Daniels is more of a hard hitter than McLeod but McLeod has better instincts. McLeod is 5'11 at 183 & Daniels is 6'1 at 211. Sound familiar? Out of the 5 man group there is only 1 true starter in the group and that is 31 year-old Mikell. He will start with the kind of money that he makes. Stewart is the next most talented safety but his size doesn't fit with Mikell. Dahl is more like a guy you put with Mikell but really isn't that good of a football player. An upgrade would benefit over the offseason. Daniels could become that guy but it's too early to tell. McLeod almost seems like a CB and might actually play there if a CB goes down in a nickel situation. It is unclear for a guy like him when 2 exactly like him are already on the team. Another key is that Stewart has to be healthy. I believe safety is the biggest question mark on the team. There is talent but it is lopsided and undersized. I am really unsure of what the safety position may hold. I would prefer Dahl play on running downs and just be in the box like a LB and not be anywhere near coverage. Stewart would play everywhere else with Mikell and see if they continue to gel. McLeod and Daniels would get time on ST.
2013: 1) Mikell 2) Stewart maybe 3) ? 4) ? Daniels, Dahl, McLeod - ?
I absolutely love Young Gee-Zee or Greg the Leg (Greg Zuerlein) or whatever you call him because he has a big leg. Whenever a starter is drafted in the 6th round (even if it is the kicker), it is a good sign of scouting. UDFA John Hekker will hopefully be capable of being the punter but has looked good. Jake McQuaide is fine as the LS. As far as kick and punt returners go, I have always liked Danny Amendola as the punt returner at least because he is smart and sure-handed and is agile in the open field. I also like Austin Pettis as a possible PR. I am not a huge fan of the starting CB being the KR (Janoris Jenkins). Isaiah Pead looked very explosive when he was returning kicks and maybe even Danny again. I'd give a look to Chris Givens and his explosiveness as a KR.
2013: PK) Zuerlein P) Hekker LS) McQuaide KR) Pead, Givens PR) Amendola, Pettis
- Biggest needs for next year: #1 wide receiver, starting tackle, possibly a #1 type runningback (depending on SJ39), possibly a #1 TE (depending on Kendricks), D-line depth, starting strongside linebacker, hard hitting safety
- Other possible needs: backup QB, O-line depth, younger linebackers, CB help
Top Ranks: 1) #1 WR 2) Offensive Tackle 3) Strong Side Linebacker 4) Defensive Tackle help 5) Big, Physical Safety
Starters in 2013:
QB - Bradford
RB - Jackson
WR - 1) ? 2) Quick 3) Amendola
TE - 1) Kendricks
LT - Saffold
LG - Watkins
C - Wells
RG - Dahl
RT - ?
LE - Long
DE - Quinn
DT - Brockers, Langford
WLB - Dunbar
MLB - Laurinaitis
SLB - ?
CB - Finnegan, Jenkins
SS - Mikell
FS - Stewart
ST - Zuerlein, Hekker, McQuaide