My Dad and I discuss the Rams on almost a weekly basis. He made an important insight on the Rams as the Spagnolo era was drawing to a close. He said that the Rams were a team of solid fundamentally sound football players but they lacked play makers. I think the Jeff Fisher era is about acquiring "Playmakers" and I think this draft underscores this. But I learned something about how this team is drafting now that is radically different than before.
I see most people on this site were very pleased with the way the Rams drafted this year. That being said, there were still a fair amount of people that were scratching their heads and or frustrated with some of the choices the Rams made. I know some people think that Austin is going to be injury prone because of his size and that there were alot of 6.5 guys out there with good speed that would be better. The Rams also took a safety that was not necessarily the highest rated on the board.
I watched the draft on the NFL network because I like listening to Mike Mayock's analysis. Is this guy married? There is no way a man could spend that much time scouting football players to the extent that he must to know all that stuff and still have a wife! That guy can spew info uninterrupted for 3 hours about a place kicker from Florida Gulf Coast university but has to water it down to a 2 minute blurb in between draft selections. That must drive him crazy! I got so engaged listening to his breakdown that I almost missed Marshall Faulks commentary when he was there for the 1st round. Marshall was talking about specific situations and specific games where x player would help stop a teams failure in that area. I started applying this thinking to the Rams draft and things made a whole lot of sense. The Rams are drafting to counter what other teams are doing offensively and defensively and here are some examples.
TAVON AUSTIN and STEDMAN BAILEY the answer to the 6' 3" DB?
The Rams have to play the best defense in the NFL twice in a season and that sucks! Seattle stuffs the passing game because their secondary is nothing but DBs that are 6'3" or taller like Richard Sherman, Brandon Browner and Kam Chancellor. This is a very effective secondary in today's NFL because over the past decade, there has been great demand for the 6' 5" wideout with 4.6 or better speed. A big target that can jump for the deep ball at the highest point and snatch it over the top of sub 6 foot corners. Not in Seattle's house! Seattle's DBs are also very quick for their size so they can still hang with the shorter speedster wideouts. But what about a 5'8" or 5'10" receiver with 4.3 speed that can juke you right out of your shoes? Think those Seattle corners can cover that? We will see. The Rams had a tough time with press coverage and that will probably still be a problem, but I think that is where this Jared Cook may come in.
ALEC OGLETREE and TJ MCDONALD different positions same purpose.
The worst defeat the Rams suffered last year was in Wembley Stadium vs the New England Patriots. I hate losing to the Patriots almost as much as I hate losing to the 9ers. One of the major reasons the Rams lost that game is because the team had absolutely no answer for Rob Gronkowski. His presence on the field made a pass to move the chains a virtual certainty. The Rams put Mikell on him and Mikell tried his ass off to defend him and failed miserably. Mikell is 5'10" and was no match for Gronk's towering 6'6" frame (You know the 49ers watched that game in England, thats why they drafted a 6'5" tight end to replace Walker!) . McDonald and Ogletree are 6' 2" and are pretty fast. This makes the Rams secondary very versatile where you can have shorter quicker corners stay with the fast receivers but you can double up on a taller receiver with a 6'2" guy over the top. But if you put McDonald down in the box, he can check the run and then pickup a 6'5" tight end. If McDonald is playing center field, then you could still stick Ogletree on a tight end and still have good coverage. This could work well also because of the pressure the Rams can generate with their front 4. With the proliferation of mobile QBs in the NFCW this trend is growing. Diagnosing the run option and chasing down Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick and getting them a punch drunk by the 4th quarter will be Ogletree's job. I know people recognized that there were better rated linebackers in the draft that the Rams could have taken, but I think its the fact that he was a safety turned linebacker that made it a plus for the Rams instead of a negative. He is kind of a hybrid and it will be interesting to watch how the Rams use him.