Les Snead hasn't been shy about the key area the offense failed in last season. More often than not, Sam Bradford wasn't able to step up in the pocket to throw the ball. Too frequently, pressure would come right up the middle, aimed at the interior offensive line of Robert Turner, Harvey Dahl, Quinn Ojinnaka (still having nightmares), and rarely Scott Wells. They struggled to keep defensive tackles and twisting defensive ends and rushing linebackers from pushing the pocket back.
Obviously, Chance Warmack and Jonathan Cooper have been very popular picks for the Rams in recent mock drafts. Without a doubt each player can step in and make a big impact on the Rams offensive line, which could finally becoming a strength of the team, rather than our most glaring weakness.
But should the Rams draft one of the top guards in the draft? There are other areas the team can make an upgrade, and the Rams may already have their starting LG on the roster: last year's 5th round pick, Rokevious Watkins.
Rok's Rams career started off on a bad foot, as he reported to camp overweight, and was held out of full practice until he got his weight down. To make matters worse, he sustained an ankle injury that limited him to only one game in his rookie year.
Watkins is a very big and athletic guard. He has long arms and good quickness, which should allow him to be a good pass protector. Rok's biggest issue coming into the NFL was a below average strength for a man his size.
The good news is Rok has now had a year in an NFL weight room. He has been working with the Rams strength coaches, has lost a significant amount of weight, and no doubt has increased his strength. He should be a better player now than when the Rams drafted him.
Chance Warmack or Johathan Cooper could certainly help the Rams, but would the Rams be better off looking at safeties and wide receivers in the first round if Rok Watkins could be the starting left guard in 2013?
I think Rok can be a decent option to start at LG, or even at RG if Harvey Dahl is cut to save cap room, which the Rams may need to sign their newest draft picks.
That being said, I wouldn't want the Rams to shy away from taking either Cooper or Warmack because of Rokevious' presence. Both have a chance to be elite, All-Pro guards in the NFL. With the growing importance of pass protection in the NFL, you can never go wrong improving the offensive line.