With the Cardinals season starting last night and the draft still a long month away, don't expect a lot of local ink spilled on the Rams, unless there's some kind of tawdry off-field incident with a player.
Draft needs, strategy, and everything else draft will be the talk of Rams nation for the next month. Perfect timing. ProFootballTalk.com (a site invaluable for its trade rumors and news posts) is posting little snippets of each team's draft needs, and the Rams went up this weekend, while was away from the computer pulling up carpet and, admittedly, distracted by the Cardinals opening day.
Right off the bat, they make note of a round one WR pick, someone to be groomed, in the midst of a draft so "top heavy" with pass catchers. With Bennett signed, we've got WR depth for probably two more years of win now play, and I'm more inclined to take a speedy, sleeper guy in the middle to later rounds of this draft that could immediately return kicks and possibly be the next generation of Rams WRs. Then, next year or the year after, go for a blue chip WR in the first round. Of course, at that point in time, the Rams will have to start thinking about taking the next generation of QB in the draft.
I still think it should be a DT in the first round, if Okoye or Branch are available at 13th, or a top-flight DE should those two be off the board. If the Rams focus on injecting youthful talent into their defense now, it will pay off in the years ahead, when age puts the offense in a rebuilding mode, by keeping the Rams in contention for the division title with a strong defense.
It's ironic that so many arguments against a first round DT pick point toward the development curve those players face. Wide receivers are the exact same way, usually taking two years to become an asset. Without a doubt, the Jimmy Kennedy experience has, understandably, left a bad taste in many mouths, but the list of WRs who are first round busts is probably a much longer one than the DTs, at least a DT can still be a useful player on special teams or as part of a rotation. Here's a really interesting article about why high picked wide receivers bust so often.
Outside of the "WR in the first round" comment, I generally think the ProFootballTalk.com assessment of the Rams draft needs is good one, but nothing we here in Rams nation haven't already been talking about. The most interesting thing about the article is the suggestion that perhaps using TEs Burd or Klopfenstein as trade bait for an extra pick. You know, with McMichael we certainly don't need both, and can replace one through FA or the draft next season or the season after. It's a really intriguing thought, and if could help the Rams pick up extra help in a high need area (D or O-line depth would be great), it's certainly worth the price.
The SBNation mock draft continues; although, it proceeds a bit slower than I thought. The most recent picks, 4th and 5th, are the big surprises so far. Detroit, after trading down, picked DE Gains Adams. I'm not surprised they picked a DE, but I'm surprised it was Adams over Jamaal Anderson. Arizona picked OT Levi Brown out of Penn State with the 5th overall pick. Fifth overall?!? I really saw him as a late first round guy. Drafting for the Cards, Jeff Gollin of AZ Cardinal blog, the Big Red Sheet, explained that he was the best available player that could help their team the most. I'd hope so, but as an NFC West-er myself, I was relieved that they didn't take OK State's RB, Adrian Peterson or even Jamaal Anderson.