Position by Position: Defensive End

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

This week's Fold, Push, or Play'em we cover defensive end. Are the St. Louis Rams set for bookends, or could they get better?

Last week we discussed the offensive tackle position. Over 750 of you voted in our poll, with a convincing 63 percent of TST'ers voting to FOLD (Getting another player for the position). While this week's topic is not nearly as complex, there are a few key things the Rams must consider. But first, who do we have?

Defensive End:

Chris Long, Robert Quinn, William Hayes, Eugene Sims

Chris Long will be 29 years old in March and is a lock at left DE. Long seems to get better and better every year and is in his prime. While not a sack master, he harasses the quarterback with the best in the league. Long is signed through the 2016 season. If the Rams are competitive by the end of his contract, he could be the Ram's Stan Musial, staying with the team until retirement.

Robert Quinn is outplaying his rookie contract. Expect the 2013 Defensive Player of the Year candidate to get a top tier contract by the end of 2015. The Rams built in a Club Option for the 2015 season, and he will be a free agent come 2016.

William Hayes is the steady and reliable rotation guy, and is signed through the 2015 season at a pretty good price of just $2.6 million for 2014 and $3.1 million for 2015. The Rams have a player in Hayes who can step in and start if needed.

Eugene Sims has showed enough promise in his first three seasons for the Rams to sign him to a two year contract extension at the start of the 2013 season. Not bad for the former sixth round pick.

The future:

The talk about the Rams going for South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney just won't go away. The Gamecock can outright ball. While some have criticized the lack of double teams he commands, he is a scary athlete who will sharpen his skills and develop into a beast at the next level. The Rams rotate their defensive line enough to warrant another premiere body at defensive end. Clowney could soak up the 20 snaps per game in which Long or Quinn is off the field. Just imagine the constant rotation of Long, Quinn, Hayes, and Clowney chasing after NFC West quarterbacks.

The defense will improve regardless of who the Rams spend draft picks on in 2014. The wait for a quality defensive coordinator is over with the signing of defensive genius Gregg Williams. The visor wearing, bounty gate, mad scientist will help improve the squad against the best division in football, the NFC West.

The verdict:

Push. The Rams have more pressing needs on defense than their already elite defensive line bookends. The Rams would do better to continue to develop on again off again players such as Mason Brodine and converted OLB Sammy Brown. The depth at the position is solid and play will only improve with the addition of defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Improving the secondary will be the biggest boost to the already formidable position.

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