Jake Long has been at Rams Park for at least a month, it seems, hammering out a deal to be the team's next left tackle. In the meantime, the St. Louis Rams are conducting their due dilegence on other options, including players available in the 2013 NFL Draft like D.J. Fluker.
That's not really a surprise. Tackle has been a need for years now, and the Rams have been linked to most of the tackles available in this year's draft with every mock that hits the internet. What makes this news more interesting is the context in which it lands.
Jake Long and the Rams are talking turkey right now, and it could mean the end of Rodger Saffold's time here. No, he's not likely to get traded this season if the team has to move him to the right side, but he would most likely bolt after 2013 in search of a left tackle gig once his rookie deal lapses.
Enter Fluker. The Alabama right tackle is seen as one of the draft's top players at the tackle position, but he seems to be ticketed exclusively for the right side. That's okay. Right tackles are just as important in today's NFL where teams have good pass rushers all over the field. Just ask Chris Long, who often lines up over right tackles.
Drafting Fluker would give the Rams a ready-to-play staring tackle, and a nice trio along with Saffold and Long, assuming the team signs Long. However that rotation stacked up this year, i.e. would Fluker start ahead of Saffold, the Rams have the depth to move on without being forced to put sub-par tackles around Sam Bradford.
Where would they pick Fluker, if they were so inclined? The most obvious place is at No. 22, but it all depends on how Les Snead and Co. are stacking the draft board.
And what about if they did trade Rodger Saffold this year? It's not happening because they aren't likely to get much in return that outweighs the benefits of having competent starting tackles for the first time in Sam Bradford's career.