St. Louis Rams Needs Big Board


"The St. Louis Rams are on the clock......"

This past off-season I was asked how do I get my information when scouting college prospects? Truth is, much of everything I write is my own words. If I had to estimate I would say 96%.

I start scouting players from the moment they come onto campus. By the time the draft has come around 3-5 years later I weaved out and in the most interesting to least interesting players. During that time period I come across hundreds of players I missed or simply overlooked. Two examples would be Russell Wilson and Terrelle Pryor. I followed Pryor from his Sr. year of high school to the NFL. Russell Wilson was someone I had never come across until his Soph. yr of college, and followed from that point on. So basically it’s a very time consuming hobby that I have been doing for about 10 years now…yea no life!!

Anyhoo! I have already started putting together a needs big board. But there are a few things that should be known about it first:

The stars represent the importance of the position. The more stars it has the higher the need.

The pound symbol (#) represents a tweener and/or hybrid . The player is placed in the group I feel he will be best at, but has the potential to play elsewhere. For example last year I had Tyrann Mathieu listed as a CB, but thought he would be an amazing FS as well. Some players have that good of versatility and others are just not big enough and/or skilled enough to play the same position from college to the pros.

I don’t believe we need a LB as bad as some believe. The thing that I think most is forgetting is that although our base formation is 4-3, we are more in the nickel than the 4-3. Meaning the third LB is not on the field all that often. No need to draft a LB in the first 2 rounds that will only play on 40% of the snaps. But it also makes CB a much bigger need than any other position. We lack CB depth more than any other position.

The team is committed to Sam Bradford and for good reason. The guy showed up for the team big over seven games. Through the first seven weeks Bradford only had one game that was a graded poorly (San Francisco), and is one of only four QBs to have a QBR of 85 or higher against the dangerous Panthers defense (93.1). So QB will NOT be a high priority. Fisher and Snead are tied at the hip to Bradford. Their tenures will be defined by his success. So they are more likely to smoother him with endless talent, before looking to replace him.

Safety play this season has been a roller coaster, but that was expected with two first year starters. Darian Stewart has played well as an interchangeable backup, and Rodney McCleod has shown valuable versatility. TJ McDonald has actually been the worst of the bunch. Though they all have had bright spots and are young the addition of a top talent would not hurt.

The O-line is a bit different. Joseph Barksdale has actually graded out as one of the best in the league with consistent positive grades week in and week out in both run and pass blocking. Jake Long has graded out as a top five tackle. Roger Saffold has proven what a lot scouts thought when he was drafted -that he was better off as a guard- might be correct. Although the unknown of whether he will be brought back raises the position importance a bit. In actuality it’s Chris Williams that has graded out the worst on a consistent basis -big surprise there- and is the most likely to be replaced if better talent shows its face.

The Rams still do not have that legit number one Mr. Reliable receiver. Can this offense succeed without one? Absolutely! But with all the speed and explosiveness and skill that we do have, one has to wonder how a receiver that grabs the attention of the defense as more than speed will help the other guys? If the receiver needs special attention for speed reasons, it’s usually easier to defend than one who needs special attention because he is so complete. Speed you simply play off with help over the top. A complete receiver draws man coverage with help over the top and someone peeking often from the inside. That’s three defenders keeping an eye on one player. That opens up a lot for other players. And no, I am not a fan of Mike Evans. He lacks everything except size for an NFL receiver. He should stay in school and get better, or switch to TE.

The Rams are in desperate need of DT depth. Kendall Langford has played well enough this year to remain on the roster next season. Michael Brockers continues to improve and at times play like a man possessed. Jermele Cudjo and Matt Conrath are lower depth chart players and not guys who should be involved in a heavy rotation.

I always try to put personal wants to the side and look for players that fit the scheme and system as well as the locker room. Teammate camaraderie is something that is easily disturbed but not so easily fixed. You want guys in your locker room that will mesh well with others. Let’s be honest there is no way Peyton Manning would enjoy a locker room like the Seahawks. They carry themselves a different way than the Broncos. It’s pretty obvious. And the scheme gets overlooked far too often, but it’s actually the most important criteria. You don’t want to have a 3-4 rush LB playing the same role as Alec Ogletree (WLB/nickel backer), you would be asking for disaster. And no recording 3 interceptions in college while playing rush 3-4, does not mean you are a WLB. So scheme has to be the number one thing that is in thought when evaluating players.

Position Projected RD School

QB: ***

AJ McCarron 3 Alabama
Zach Mettenberger 3 LSU
David Fales 3 San Jose
Aaron Murray 3-4 Georgia
Tahj Boyd 3-4 Clemson
Jimmy Garoppolo 3-4 E. Illinois
James Franklin 5-6 Missouri

WR: ***

Sammy Watkins 1 Clemson
Marquies Lee 1-2 USC
Jordan Mathews 1-2 Vanderbilt
Devante Adams 2 Fresno St.
Kelvin Benjamin 2-3 Florida St.
Jared Abbrederis 2-3 Wisconsin
Brandon Coleman 2-3 Rutgers

OT: *

Taylor Lewan 1 Michigan
Cyrus Kouandjio 1 Alabama
Cameron Erving 1-2 Florida St.
La’El Collins 2 LSU
James Hurst 2-3 N. Carolina

OG: ***

David Yankey 1 Stanford
#Cyril Richardson 1-2 Baylor
Gabe Jackson 2-3 Miss St.
Jon Halapio 2-3 Florida
Anthony Steen 3 Alabama

DT: ***

Aaron Donald 2 Pitt
Rashede Hageman 2 Minnesota
Timmy Jernigan 2-3 Florida St.
Daniel McCluers 3 Tennessee

LB: **
Boseko Lokombo 4 Oregon
Johnathon Brown 4 Illinois
Denzel Perryman 4-5 Miami
Christian Kirksey 5-6 Iowa
#Glenn Carson 5-6 Penn St.
Jordan Tripp 6 Montana

CB: *****

Darqueze Dennard 1 Michigan St.
Justin Gilbert 1 Oklahoma St.
Bradley Roby 1-2 Ohio St.
#LaMarcus Joyner 2 Florida St.
Victor Hampton 2 S. Carolina
EJ Gaines 2-3 Missouri
Pierre Desir 4-5 Lindenwood

S: ****
Hasean Clinton-Dix 1 Alabama
Deone Bucannon 1-2 Wash St.
Terrence Brooks 2 Florida St.
Ahmad Dixon 2-3 Baylor

Next time you see these names they will all have evaluations under them.

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