One route for upgrading the Rams that we haven't talked about much is trades. Unlike the other major professional sports, the NFL system prevents a flurry of trades that recycle a bunch of players between teams. It may lack the excitement of baseball's offseason or deadline frenzy, but stable economics rarely merit headlines.
Anyway, I pitched the trade question over at the Rams Talk Forum on STL Today earlier this week to get a sense of what Rams fans thought about trade possibilities as an avenue to upgrade the team. Needless to say, the Rams don't have much in the way of depth on their current roster to trade away for help in their deficient areas. Interior linemen is our deepest spot, with Romberg, Steussie or Timmerman being the most available trade chips. However, the Rams would have been hard pressed to go 8-8 without the depth they had on the offensive line this season, even though the replacements didn't exactly put the Rams front five among the league's elite. Tight end is another position the Rams could potentially deal from, using Klop or Byrd to bring in some talent for the D-line, and replace one of those guys with a solid blocking TE that might be obtained cheaply on the open market. One poster at the forum even mentioned the possibility of convincing teams to take a risk on DT Adam Kennedy. The idea makes sense, but it then forces the Rams to look for TWO DTs, in market where DTs are hard to find.
Trading for the help we need doesn't hold out much hope. However, another trading chip exists: draft picks. The Rams could either trade a second or third round pick for a player OR they could trade up in the draft, into the top six picks, with the hope of nabbing can't miss Michigan DT Alan Branch.
Dre' Bly is on the block, having recently been given permission by the Lions to seek out trade partners. Bly is an unrestricted FA after the 2007 season. Bly doesn't fit into Detroit's Cover 2 (or Tampa 2 if you prefer) scheme, which didn't seem to be all that successful this season anyway. He shouldn't have any problem finding suitors - the Titans have been mentioned as a possibility. I don't see the Rams becoming bidders for Bly with capable options in Brown and Fischer to play opposite the man drafted to be the Rams' next Dre' Bly, Tye Hill; although, Bly and Hill at the corners would be pretty formidable. Don't you think?
Mock drafters at Football's Future are now projecting Amobi Okoye to be among the top ten picks in the draft, putting him out of the Rams' reach. (They project the Rams drafting LSU safety LaRon Landry with the 13th pick.) Whether or not Okoye is a legit top ten pick remains to be seen. I suspect his age, 19, may keep him from that threshold, but he's really capable of shining in the scouting combine. Another DT needing to have a good combine to boost his draft status is DeMarcus Tyler from North Carolina State. A good spring from the 6'2" 305 lbs "Tank" could propel him into the top half of the first round, and a viable pick for the Rams.