All right, first time poster here. I started lurking at the start of FA because I HAD TO KNOW what was going on with my Rams and whatnot. I've gotten to be a pretty regular lurker by this point, so... yeah.
While there's been a ton of discussion concerning the Rams' options at Wide Receiver, Safety and the O-Line (before and after the Jake Long signing), I think the position that's intrigued me the most is actually Running Back. It's a well-known fact to us that
A. Our franchise back just left, which has us with...
B. Two unproven backs who got time last season, both of whom are speedier backs, and thus...
C. Unless you're counting on Ganaway to be this man, we don't have a between-the-tackles runner, a solid power or power/speed guy, whatever you want to call it.
Now, this is where it gets tricky. I've seen everything from Eddie Lacy mocked to us at #22 (as was the case recently) to seeing no rookies get horns this season, and a lot in between to boot. There are no Trent Richardsons or really even Doug Martins in this draft as well, with a distinct possibility that there will be no running backs drafted in the first round this year, something that has only happened once, in 1963 (Jerry Stovall was a RB, but was immediately converted to DB in the pros). Plus, with our WR/S needs pretty much dominating the top of the boards for us, it almost automatically pushes us down to Day 2/3 if we're really in search of a halfback in the draft. Still, let's explore various options open to us (and not just because I personally want to see us draft one):
1st round: Eddie Lacy.
Yeah, I don't want him first round either. He was aided by a fantastic O-Line, has been dealing with nicks and bruises for a while now, and I've seen a couple other things like decision-making or fumbling. While he's got a nice power/speed combination and is quite solid despite the flaws above, there are so many better options for us at #22 than him, at different positions of course.
2nd round: Montee Ball.
Interesting... he too ran behind a very, very solid O-Line at Wisconsin, and durability is also a bit of a concern (thanks to his huge workload, rather than actual injuries a la Lacy). He played in a system that revolved around tough, inside running, which suits us well coming off SJax's tenure, although his speed isn't the best and his power is more toughness than physicality. Despite a couple off-field issues he's got great character and work ethic too... the big issues here are A. Whether he can keep up such a pace with the workload he shouldered at UW, and B. If we want to use our 2nd rounder on this guy when we could go for a S (if we didn't grab one in the 1st), or some other positional need. An interesting option to consider is how the latter conundrum is changed if we trade down and acquire another 2nd round pick. This also could go for...
2nd round/Day 3: Le'Veon Bell.
This guy has been one of the most oft-drafted by the Rams in mocks I've seen around here and elsewhere. He's got a lot of size (6' 1" and 230 lb. according to Nfl.com), and that obviously translates to a lot of power from this man. Bell is definitely an inside-the-tackles runner, and has very good tangible and intangible skills for such. He's probably the best power back in the draft, plain and simple, and will definitely help us around the goal-line should we pick him up. While his size makes him a big target and his speed is below average, keeping him from being a real home-run hitter, Bell's sheer power (and some surprising agility) make him a very appealing option indeed. Projections say he's a 2nd or 3rd round pick at this point.
Day 3: Christine Michael.
Now here's a guy with serious talent. First at the combine in the vertical, cone and 20-yd shuttle (setting a RB record on the first one), plus very solid 40 and bench scores (27 reps!) confirmed his physical skills (he's a power/speed back too, by the way), but there are two huge factors making him maybe the biggest risk at the position. Firstly, he's been plagued by injury troubles (season-ending injuries in 2010/2011). Those seemed to have healed last year, buuuuuuuuut then his bigger issue came into play: character. Yes, Michael is a bit of an problem in this regard, missing playing time (and even drawing a suspension from A&M) because of lack of effort, poor coachability, etc. He killed the combine in the workouts, but overslept and missed 2 team interviews (I kid you not). Obviously Jeff Fisher is the kind of guy who can right these ships, but is it worth taking a shot around Round 3?
Day 3: Knile Davis.
We just have a slew of guys who have injury/durability concerns on our list, eh? Knile Davis has been bit by the injury bug for years now, and it's this that has him so low on draft boards, above all else, hands down. He's got an incredible power-speed combination though, benching 31 reps and putting up a 4.37 40, and his style is one that would fit us very well. However, injuries are still his thing, and he has a tendency to run out of bounds instead of fighting for more yardage (something probably going to be exacerbated by his aversion to getting re-injured), and that could be trouble if he doesn't suck it up. He's looking to be about a 3rd or 4th rounder at this point.
Day 3: Joseph Randle.
Finally, someone who doesn't know all the athletic trainers by their middle names! Randle was a 3-year starter at OK State and was productive all three years, He's more of a speedy, explosive guy, but he runs with quite a lot of strength and is continually putting more on his frame to get stronger. He's also got very solid vision and 'football IQ,' as one person referred to it, and his versatility as a blocker (though a couple have called this a weakness rather than a strength) and receiver have been noted. However, he still needs to build his frame to be more than a third-down back, and he's been a little inconsistent with fumbles (hovering between rock solid or a liability). He should be available around the 4th or 5th round, and if he does get stronger he could become a very beneficial option.
Day 3: Marcus Lattimore.
Finally, this is the guy for whom I'm pulling, since I reserved my seat on the Lattimore bandwagon a while back. He's got a very solid one-cut style that had him as a first round choice before that horrific injury last year, and worked most of his magic between the tackles, which, like the other guys with this quality, complements the speedier Pead and D-Rich quite well. Lattimore is an all-around beast (albeit one who has a bit of trouble finding his extra gears) comparable to many top backs in the league right now, and we can afford to give him a year of rest or simply working him into the system what with what would be a veritable stable of RBs. Oh yeah, and he's an incredibly classy guy with a giant work ethic, which is always a plus. The huge injury concerns push Lattimore down to around Rounds 3 or 4, but with health he has a very legitimate shot at becoming a superstar, and that's something I personally believe is worth taking a flier on.
Again, we don't have to draft anybody at RB, or we could take a flier at 22. This is the first time we've been in such a position since we drafted SJax in 2004, though, and with so many options out there (and yet no real standouts), it's going to take a lot of work to uncover the man who really fits our system (or if Pead, D-Rich and/or even Ganaway are already those guys). This was just an unscientific look at several players who either have potential or had been brought up recently, so... yeah. No telling what Snead is cooking up in the war room in reality when it comes to this.
Thanks for reading, anyway, and be sure to let me know what you think we could/should do and how you think I did on my first fanpost, right there below~