2013 St. Louis Rams team needs: Filling the less obvious holes


Sure, we all know how much the Rams need a receiver and safeties, but what about the other areas of the depth chart crying out for help?

Unless you missed last season, suffered a major head injury or failed 10 drug tests for marijuana, you probably know what the St. Louis Rams' top team needs are for the 2013 NFL Draft. Wide receiver, safety ... rinse and repeat. But what about those other areas of need on the roster, the places where you have to look a little further down the depth chart?

This list is about the depth chart. Remember how many different offensive linemen rotated through the game day lineups last year? What about when the team needs a linebacker capable of playing more like a safety because of a particular matchup? Let's not forget the need for youth and cheaper contracts waiting in the wings to replace aging starters.

Some of these spots are difficult to assess because the Rams have younger players plucked from practice squads and the undrafted free agent ranks that are waiting for their shot.

Backup center

Scott Wells has three years left on the $24 million contract he signed last season. It's feasible that the Rams could get rid of him after this season, especially if he can't stay healthy for the second season in a row. Wells is also 32-years old and has had two knee surgies in less than a year (June 2012 and January 2013).

Last year Robert Turner gave the Rams a solid backup filling in for Wells for more than half the season. The Titans signed Turner as a free agent, leaving the Rams with Missouri product Tim Barnes. He has enough potential that the Rams tendered him as an exclusive rights free agent this year. I worry about his power, as in how he matches up against fearsome defensive fronts like Seattle's and San Francisco's.

Draft prospects: The name at the top of everyone's big board is Alabama's Barrett Jones. He's probably going off the board near the top of the second round. He can also play guard, where the Rams have a more immediate need. Another name to know is Wisconsin's Travis Frederick, the latest in a long line of interior anchors the Badgers have produced. He's incredibly powerful. Some have him ranked higher than Jones, and he too looks like a potential second-round pick. Either one of these guys can play guard too, which makes them a viable option for the Rams.

Cal center Brian Schwenke is another name to know. He has just one year at the position, but had the acumen to make the line calls. He could be a third round pick. If the Rams wait a little while in the draft, they could grab Matt Stankiewitch from Penn State. He has the kind of edge Paul Boudreau has turned into gold with other under the radar players.

Backup Quarterback

I'm to the point I even hate typing the "q" word because it has a way of firing up the most irrational response, but this isn't about Sam Bradford. Well, it kind of is, but ...

Right now the Rams have Austin Davis behind Bradford. Even if Kellen Clemens were still around, Fisher said that Davis would be the No. 2. That makes sense. Davis had a solid preseason last year and has some intriguing raw talent, but are your really sure you want to put Davis in there if Bradford is hurt and the Rams are sitting at 8-6 one game behind Seattle?

The problem with this position is that it's not so easy to address in the draft. Any quarterback the Rams take is going to be a developmental guy himself, though his learning curve may be less than what Davis' was last season. This is probably one of those spots were a veteran might make the most sense as a guy who best keep the Rams afloat without Bradford, but the veteran market for backups is as awful as this draft class is for starters.

Draft prospects: Arizona's Matt Scott has been mentioned here before, and is an interesting guy namely because he can do some running too, which is all the rage in the NFL now. Zac Dysert from Miami (Ohio) is an interesting guy too. He's been far more efficient than you realize, as revealed by this extensive charting project at Big Cat Country.

Fourth Cornerback

The Rams have a really nice starting duo with Janoris Jenkins and Cortland Finnegan. Add in a big, physical third corner with Trumaine Johnson, and it has the potential to be one of the best position groups in the league. But it gets thin after that, real thin when you go to Quinton Porter on the depth chart.

Because of injuries and potential suspensions with this bunch, the fourth corner could wind up playing more than you realize. That doesn't mean it's a position to address on the first day of the draft, but once the third round rolls around, it ought to be on the radar.

Draft prospects: One player I like is Darius Slay out of Mississippi State. He didn't get much attention because his partner was Jonathan Banks, but he's someone that scouts will indeed have on the radar. Slay is a good coverage guy with some real quickness to his game. He might be there in the third round. As a bonus, he can return kicks.

UConn's Blidi Wreh-Wilson had a bad Senior Bowl week, but he's got the tape to put much of that to rest. The Rams talked to him in Mobile. He sounds as though he would limited to zone coverage, but that's something the Rams use plenty of.

Georgia's Sanders Commings is one of those safety/corner hybrids, but his physical style of play could be a nice addition to the lineup, especially when the defense is rolling out packages that blur the lines between safeties and corners. Miami's Brandon McGee is another third day pick who could prosper under the tutelage of this defensive staff.

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