First thing’s first. It would be wise of the Rams to sign Steven Jackson to a more affordable contract that’s fair for both parties. The ‘mileage’ thing, though true, shouldn’t mean that the organization doesn’t owe him reasonable pay, and more so respect, for what he’s [still] capable of doing and has accomplished for eight straight seasons. One thing is for certain. You can’t put a price on leadership; something the Rams cannot afford to be without.
That doesn’t mean, however, that the Rams shouldn’t be planning for their feature lead back for the days ahead. Maybe they already have. In the 2012 draft, the Rams ‘new regime’ drafted two running backs: Isaiah Pead [2nd rd, 50th overall] and Daryl Richardson [7th rd, 252 overall].
Interestingly enough, Pead took the backseat to Richardson in 2012. Pead, who drew comparisons to Chris Johnson during the preseason, was only handed the ball ten times in 2012. Half of those carries came in the final game of the season, when playoff implications were a thought of the past. Richardson saw more action, and certainly had more impact. Richardson toted the rock 98 times in 2012, totaling 475 yards, and also caught 24 balls out of the backfield for an additional 163 yards.
For those who haven’t, let’s go ahead and toss aside the notion that Jeff Fisher is going to be kicking Isaiah Pead to the curb. Brian Quick - the 33rd overall pick - didn’t set the world on fire last season, and he’s as sure a thing to make the team as Sam Bradford. Patience is a virtue, and it’s one that Jeff Fisher is willing to live by. With or without Jackson next season, we - the fans - will expect more from Pead.
But what if the Rams were to select another running back in the 2013 draft? We’ve seen Gil Brandt mock draft Eddie Lacy with the 16th overall pick. A bold move, indeed. It’s an unsuspected selection that would rock the foundation of Rams Nation. Is a running back drafted at 16th too early? In the opinions of many, yes. But I think I’ve found a running back - much, much later on - that might be one of those ‘diamond in the rough’ finds.
That player is Miguel Maysonet. A senior from Stony Brook University, Maysonet is a potential 7th rounder at this point. CBS Sports NFLDraftScout has him ranked as the 19th RB prospect in the country, and has him projected as the 234th overall player in the upcoming draft. In 2012, he lead the FCS [Football Championship Subdivision] in yards per carry with 7.36. In 13 games, he amassed 1964 yards [151 ypg] and 21 TD’s. He’s rushed for more than 1,100 yards per season since his sophomore year.
I’d like to think that Daryl Richardson - another small school prospect from 2012 - is proof that proper scouting, adequate coaching, and the unflappable will to defy the odds is what polishes a rough diamond into a polished gem. The Rams will have the 16th pick in the 7th round [227th overall] in the upcoming draft. That would put him a mere 25 picks prior to where Richardson landed in 2012, and right in line with NFLDraftScout’s projection.
What this young man was able to accomplish in his senior season speaks for itself. It’s not a flashy draft selection. He’s not Eddie Lacy. He’s not Marcus Lattimore. But is that what the Rams truly need in order to improve their team in 2013? I’d say no. Re-signing Steven Jackson and addressing the issues along the offensive front make the Rams a better [rushing] team. Waiting to take a chance on a rusher - a potential gem - in later rounds makes the Rams better now and for the future. Giving any running back on the Rams roster a year of tutelage from the Rams all-time leading rusher is a win for all parties involved.
Could Miguel Maysonet be the next surprise contributor for the Rams? It’s not a season-long highlight reel, but check out some footage of him against Syracuse from 2012. He possesses solid agility and heads North/South quickly. More impressive is yardage after contact. If nothing else, fast forward the video to 2:25 and let me know what you think. He rushed for 158 yards and that TD on the day…oh, he also finished 2nd in voting for the Walter Payton Award, which goes to the most outstanding player in all of FCS Football.
If you think Jeff Fisher and Co. are putting in work in the offseason…well…you’d be right. But don’t sleep on Turf Show Times. It is - and will always be - your number one stop for St. Louis Rams news. Questions? Comments? Concerns? Hit me up on Twitter!