That man is the oft-injured Rodger Saffold
The Rams need to improve their offensive line, but taking a tackle early is not the answer. Well it might be. The Rams whole 2014 draft depends on if we can retain Rodger Saffold. The offensive utility man is very important to this team. He provides insurance to Jake Long, stellar Guard play, and allows flexibly in the Rams' draft plans.
Let me start by saying we will NOT begin phasing out one of the NFL's top ten tackles with a rookie this season. Jake long posted a +25.8 grade on Pro Football Focus, and to draft a replacement this early in his contract would be harmful to the development of this line. We may look at his torn ACL, and think that depth is needed. That is a valid concern, but by resigning Saffold we can assure a competent replacement for the opening weeks of the season. After Long's return Staffold can be pushed back to Guard.
With Saffold likely to see most of his time at Guard it assures that the Rams will have a difference maker. Long and Barksdale played very well at Tackle last season. When Saffold played guard he was equally as dominate. He is very big, and athletic as a guard. He can really help the run game as we all saw late in the season. He also provides solid pass protection from the Guard position. With his ability to play multiple positions well, it will lead to a lot of flexibility when it comes to draft day.
When the draft approaches; I fully expect to see a mid round Guard, and Tackle. The Rams need more Interior line depth, and tackle depth is never a bad thing to have either. If we resign Saffold we can see our first round picks go to more elite talent prospects like Sammy Watkins, and a free saftey. The Tackle class is very solid throughout this year, but no one is an Orlando Pace caliber franchise tackle. If a lineman were to be picked in the first round, I can only see it happening in a trade down scenario. Jake Matthews would likely be the choice as he profiles as a possible Guard-Tackle tweener that could be plugged into left guard, and make an immediate impact.
If the Rams choose to let Saffold walk; I think a Tackle will be necessary in the first round. We will need the depth, and could use our addition as a guard in their early career. In the end it all comes back to Saffold. The whole draft will likely lie on whether he resigns or decides to walk.