Hey guys, and happy sunday. With all this news surrounding Jake Long, it got me to think, what if the Rams made it clear they did not want to spend any more money, and had to fill their holes with those already on the roster? This post will exclude any draft prospects, and talk only about those who are already on our roster. (Although I will make suggestions as to which prospects can fill the void)
*For each player, I will add a trouble score to the end of their explanation. Simply, this is my interpretation of how much trouble we will be in at that specific position if set player is starting. 1 will mean no trouble at all, while 10 means we have another Craig Dahl on our hands!
Backup Qb: Last season- Kellen Clemons. This season- Austin Davis
While backup quarterback is the one position we hope we don't have to see too much of, it is still important to have a quality backup just in case the opportunity arises. Austin Davis is exactly what teams look for in a backup; smart, mechanically sound, accurate quarterback who does whatever he can to avoid the obvious mistake. Essentially, Davis is a game manager with athleticism.
Trouble Score: 3- It is a three because Davis is only his second year and as a result is still an inexperienced qb. that said, he is still a much better option than many experienced backups, such as Brady Quinn.
Draftable Prospects- The Rams do not need to draft a quarterback, and can take the path similar to Austin Davis, that is, sign an undrafted quarterback who can serve as the third stringer.
Running back: Last season- Steven Jackson. This season- Terrance Ganaway
Let me immediately clarify this by saying that in no means necessary am I implying Ganaway will be the next Steven Jackson for us. By making this comparison I am stating that Ganaway can attempt to be the power back which Steven Jackson was. He has a solid build (6'0, 240 lbs) and runs hard in between the tackles. He has good feet for a larger back, and possesses strong lower legs, evident by his second highest broad jump at the combine. He is also a high-character guy, and with Jeremiah Trotter as his uncle, possesses quality NFL bloodlines.
Trouble Score: 4- The Rams currently have a committee at running back. Richardson is the speed back, and Pead still has the potential which we have yet to see. I think the Rams are comfortable with who they have right now, however I would not be surprised to see them add a back later in the draft.
Draftable Prospects- I believe the Rams will go running back between rounds 3 and 5, if they choose to do so at all. Prospects in this range include Le'Veon Bell, Marcus Lattimore, Zac Stacy, and Knile Davis.
Slot Receiver: Last season- Danny Amendola. This season- nobody (Jared Cook will play there, but he is a tight end therefore does not qualify)
While Cook is more like an oversized wide receiver than a tight end, he will still line up as a tight end in many formations. In order to maximize the talents of both Kendricks and Cook, I believe the Rams are searching for a slot receiver early. The position is important to move the chains, and as a result the slot receiver must be quicker than fast, with solid hands. Luckily for the Rams this draft is full of slot guys who can step in immediately. Danny who?
Trouble Score:6- Cook is more of big play receiver than a move-the-chains guy, as are Chris Givens and Brian Quick. We have Pettis, however he is more of a possession/red-zone guy, and as a result I believe this position must be addressed early in the draft.
Draftable prospects- I believe the Rams will address this position early, whether it be round 1 or round 2. Prospects in this range include Tavon Austin, Conner Vernon, Markus Wheaton, Ryan Swope
Right Tackle: Last season- Barry Richardson. This season- Joe Barksdale
Known as a turnstile in Kansas City, Richardson came in and didn't do too terrible of a job as our right tackle last season. How much of that can be attributed to Paul Boudreau remains to be seen, which provides slight optimism for Barksdale. Once a highly touted DT prospect at LSU, Barksdale is a mammoth of a man who is still raw as an offensive tackle. He can dominate in the run game, however his feet are below average as he struggles with speed rushers. His field awareness is also low, but that can be linked to his inexperience at the position.
Trouble Score: 7- Quite simply, I know it should be higher than this, but when Paul Boudreau is your offensive line coach and he's working with a high upside guy, you learn to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Draftable Prospects- This will obviously change with the Long signing, however if he goes back to Miami I think the Rams will go tackle with their second 1st round pick, or second round pick. Prospects in this range include DJ Fluker, Terron Armstead, Dallas Thomas
Left Guard: Last season- Mostly Rob Turner. This season- Rok Watkins/Brandon Washington
While Rob Turner is a quality depth player, he should not be starting on the offensive line. That being said, the Rams have two guys which can potentially fill in. Rok Watkins, a fifth round pick last season, got off to a slow start before landing on the IR. Watkins has immense potential, however his knock has been his laziness, as well as heavy weight. He has slimmed down, now if he takes to the coaching of Paul Boudreau, he can be a solid guard for us down the line. Brandon Washington is essentially the same; a once projected top 75 pick who fell because of laziness and struggles at right tackle, Washington can be a solid guard if given the chance.
Trouble Score: 5- Again, this score is lower because of the presence of Paul Boudreau. Also, the two potential replacements have a tremendous skill set, and could start next season.
Draftable Prospects- If the Rams are not comfortable, expect them to go guard anywhere from round 1 to 3. Prospects in this range include Chance Warmack, Jonathan Cooper, Larry Warford, Brian Winters
Strongside Linebacker. Last season- Rocky Mcintosh. This season- Sammy Brown.
Sammy Brown has the potential to be an elite pass rusher, however not an every down linebacker. His two years at the university of Houston, he had 50 stops behind the line, including 21 sacks. Although he has long arms, quick hands, and elite feet, Brown plays small against the run, and lacks an elite motor.
Trouble Score: 8- If this was based just on pass rush, the trouble score would be a one. Brown would serve best a pass rush specialist, which leaves a spot open for a two down linebacker.
Draftable Prospects- I expect the Rams to go after a linebacker from rounds 2-5. Prospects include Arthur Brown, Khaseem Greene, Zaviar Gooden, Gerald Hodges
Stewart has the ability to be a Quintin Mikell clone. He is a big, physical safety who has good straight line speed and hits like a linebacker. That being said, he also struggles in coverage, and doesn't have quality range or ball skills.
Trouble Score-3: Stewart was a fan favourite before injury and other undisclosed reasons landed him in Jeff's doghouse. I believe this year he can contribute just like Mikell did, at a much more affordable rate.
Draft Prospects- Because they also have Matt Daniels, I believe the Rams will hold off on drafting a strong safety. That being said...
Free Safety: Last season-Craig Dahl. This season- The equipment manager
Kidding about the replacement(who's to say he wouldn't do better though?). All seriousness, the Rams must find a free safety who can not only provide support in the run game, but more importantly provide the range to cover down the field and make plays when needed.
Trouble Score-10: If the Rams do not find a replacement in the draft, the free safety position will almost undoubtedly be the weakest position on our team.
Draft Prospects- I believe the Rams will go after a safety in round 1, round 2 only if they see other prospects which they are absolutely in love with. Prospects include Kenny Vaccaro,Phillip Thomas, D.J Swearinger, Baccari Rambo. Potential strong safeties include Matt Elam, Jon Cyprien, Shamakro Thomas.
Thanks for the read guys, let me know what you think. I hope we get Long(at the right price) and sign a safety before drafting another. We are almost there... GO RAMS!