When I saw this headline on the Post-Dispatch's web page this morning I nearly fell out of my seat. Rage boiled over, filling my throat with bile. "Drafting a LB? What about a damn DT?!?!"
Oh, wait, you mean Chris Draft. Now I get it, suckered in by a clever headline writer, again.
Draft, 31, got plenty of time to showcase his skills with the Panthers last year when starter Dan Morgan went down. He's leaving Carolina because they view him as a back up, and he got a taste for starting in 2006.
If it were to happen, is this a good signing for the Rams? Yes and no.
First the "yes." Draft would give the Rams the needed LB to compliment Pisa and Witherspoon. However, this is a need that might be better filled via the draft, with the 1st or 2nd rounder in a rotation with the other flotsam and jetsam. Signing draft would mean that the remaining major need on defense, a DT, would be filled via draft. The problem with that is the rookie would be expected to be the one size fits all solution on the D-line, a difficult proposition with the widely cited knowledge that rookie DTs take some time to develop. A rookie LB, would also take some time, but on the Rams, such a rookie wouldn't have all the pressure to be the magic bullet solution on defense. And now, we're starting to see the "no" aspect of this situation. A defensive tackle is obviously the most pressing need for the team - aren't we really past the point of even arguing that? - even signing a low end, but solid FA and then picking up another via the draft would make the most sense, with a LB to be picked somewhere in there as well.
The Rams' curious offseason has suddenly given me the feeling that there's something else going on behind the scenes. Not necessarily a nefarious conspiracy, but some kind of less than obvious strategy for addressing team needs this offseason. Maybe they're thinking about trading up in the draft, or something like that...I don't know, but it all seems like there's a curve in the road that we're not expecting.
It might be that the Rams are waiting for the second part of the FA season, the pursuit of the restricted free agents, which by many accounts is now about to begin. If Linehan et al are planning on taking a big name DT in the draft - like Okoye - then grabbing a RFA with a 5th or 6th round offer on him makes sense, giving the Rams a decent rotation that should be "good enough" against the run while the blue chip prospect DT develops.