After nearly 4 long months of excruciating, unbearable Sundays...countless and often times, senseless mocks and enough hype to put Tim Tebow to shame, the 2014 NFL Draft is finally among us. The Rams are in a great position to improve on their 7-9 season with three top 50 picks (and if we know anything as Rams fans from the past couple of years, that number could jump rapidly). It's hard to agree and find a common ground with other Rams fans as to what to do with those picks, rather it be spending it on a top quality linemen, the Watkins vs. Evans debate, the idea of drafting Johnny Football, or even the chance that this year's top prospect and "decade player", Clowney. So let's take a look at the teams highest needs...
1. Free Safety: No position is in a higher need for an upgrade than FS. McLeod performed adequately (I guess...), but in reality, he's not a starting safety in the NFL. The Rams will look to pair last year's mid round pick, TJ McDonald with a ball hawk in the backfield, and with this defensive scheme, a hybrid type safety (such as TJ Ward, Eric Weedle, Eric Berry) looks to be the primary target. Potential future Rams include Alabama's Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Louisville's Calvin Pryor, NIU's Jimmie Ward, Washington State's Deone Bucannon and McDonald's former Trojan team mate, Dion Bailey. Any of these young talents will be an upgrade over McLeod.
2. Offensive Line: Unlike safety, the offensive line is once again a pretty deep class. Last years draft featured linemen taken at 1 and 2 and eh, neither really worked out thus far. Coming off a decade of Alex Barron and Jason Smith, the Rams look to avoid the trend of busted linemen. Robinson has tremendous upside and is an absolute mauler in the run game, and if drafted would likely slide into our open guard spot to work on the gawdawful pass blocking of his. Matthews and Lewan are NFL ready prospects that can be plugged in immediately, though neither may have the ceiling of Robinson. Plenty of guards and tackles later present a case that the Rams may wait until day 2 until they draft a linemen, especially considering Fisher's draft history. PLUS...last year's mid round pick, Barrett Jones is reportedly coming along great in his strength condition. With the Rams deciding to keep Wells and his hefty salary, it shows they are committed to him being at the C this season...which could mean a move to guard for Jones (which he also played a lot of snaps at in college).
3. Wide Receiver: Like the offensive line, this is also a deep class. The Rams receivers struggled to gain constant separation last year, and in a division with 2 of the best corners in the league (Sherman and Peterson) and a plethora of excellent safeties (Thomas, Browner, Matheiu, Reid and Bethea), an upgrade seems likely. The Rams have signed TJ Moe and Kenny Britt this offseason, though it's far from a guarantee that either make the final roster. As of now, Stedman Bailey, despite only having one season under his belt, looks to be the most complete receiver going into next season. He has a strong combination of speed, hands and good routes, which is something no other Ram can say that they posses all these traits. Progression is needed, but with that comes the risk of another year of regression (I'm looking at you Givens). Evans and Watkins are primed to go in the top 10 and could fall into the Rams hands. After that, the talent slightly drops off to Beckam, Lee, Robinson, Benjamin, Matthews and a gang of others. Depending on who you ask, the Rams will either need THIS receiver or THAT receiver. However, almost everyone agrees that we need SOME receiver in this deep and talented class.
4. Cornerback: With Finnegan off to the Phins, the Rams will look to draft a new nickel corner...or not. Let me explain. Either way, the Rams will be drafting a corner (or two), and rather it be a talented nickel corner such as Roby or Verertt or one of the second day guys, and an outside guy like Gilbert with a move for Janoris Jenkins to the slot, it's an automatic upgrade over last season. Brandon McGee didn't exactly show much promise last season in his limited time, but that doesn't mean we're completely giving up on him. What we look to do here is fill out needs.
Everything Else: Other needs that aren't as high are a QB, OLB, DT and RB. The reason these positions aren't as high is obviously because the Rams are already set, but could use depth.
Despite what the common TST Rams fan says, Kendell Langford is our best DT. I see no need and would have no desire to replace his production (one of the top 4-3 DTs according to PFF)...that is, unless, that "decade player" falls into our hands, which would give Greg Williams an interesting rotation to work with. Anyway, the thought of drafting a DT or DE high, outside of said prospect, doesn't appear to be high as Hayes and Sims are both locked into solid contracts, and with the Rams going DT shopping this offseason.
Something similar could be said about OLB as Williams' old friend, Dunbar, looks to return to form. However, I wouldn't be surprised if we draft an OLB high, because Dunbar DID struggle last season, after all. I also heard from a little birdie that Ray Ray Armstrong has gone into...what do they say in Seattle?...beast mode? Aw. Yes.
QB is strictly for depth as Fisher has said time and time again that Bradford is the Rams' franchise QB. Rather some of us like it or not, we're going to have to get used to #8 tossing the pig skin every Sunday.
Understandably, many are wanting the Rams to draft a RB. I just don't understand the ones who want to draft one so high that they'd take carries away from our future All-Pro, Zac Stacy. Most would agree that some lightening to go along with his thunder would be nice, since Pead is such a FUCKING DISAPPOINTMENT and we still don't know who the real D-Rich is.
So as Draft Day Eve comes to a close, I'd like to leave you with this...
"THEY'RE CONSIDERING MOVING THE DRAFT TO MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND AND DOING ONE ROUND A DAY. FUCK YOU ALL...