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Outside Looking In

Another weekend without football. Hey, as long as the weather holds, I'll take it.

There is a little Rams talk going on around the internet though.

ESPN's John Clayton posted a series of questions for NFC teams yesterday, and naturally, his big question for the Rams was: "Have the Rams done enough on defense to challenge for the NFC West?"

I'm certainly happy with our moves. We're not going to be an elite defense, but I still think, barring injury, we should field a competitive group that doesn't again surrender 4.9 yards per carry to opponents 3rd string running back. Kennedy's got some competition now, and if that doesn't motivate him, in a free agent year, to elevate his play to mediocre, then nothing can. Our second day picks of DTs Clifton Ryan and Keith Jackson are pretty intriguing, and I'm hoping that they can step in as solid depth for the rotation. Ryan certainly has the size and skill for that. Then there's the addition of Carriker, who can step in right away against the run. The thing to remember here is that  the Rams got balance on defense, showing improvements on all aspects and beefing up a serious Achilles' Heel.

Over at Field Gulls, SBN's Seahawks blog, they reviewed the Rams draft and gave it a B-, based mostly on our second round pick of Brian Leonard. Here's the thing with Leonard that I think a lot of people outside of St. Louis and Ram fandom are missing: Leonard's more than just a quality backup to Steven Jackson, he's a legitimate threat as a ball carrier and pass catcher that will get 20% of the playing time. The advantage here is similar to what we saw in Carolina last year with Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor or in New Orleans with Bush and Deuce. Linehan's said from the start that the Rams want this kind of player in Jackson's backup. Leonard was the best fullback in the draft, and one that can run routes with the best of running backs. And he's a bruising, contact loving runner that can catch passes with the best of them? As far as blocking, he was quite effective last season at Rutgers, his first year at the position. With his speed (a 4.5 second 40) and physical play, he'll definitely be a special teams player also. Don't think for a second that didn't pop into the minds of the current Rams coaching staff, given their open love of versatile players.

Be sure to head over to Field Gulls with your two cents.

The always amazing Football Outsiders has a review of the NFC West's draft and rookie free agent signings. They resist the temptation to grade it, something yours truly cannot avoid, but generally give the Rams a pretty good write up. They have a little insight on some of the rookie free agents. Tidbit of interest:

Quinton Culberson, an outside linebacker from Mississippi State, moved from cornerback to safety to inside to outside linebacker in his collegiate career. He's still raw at his new position, but you have to wonder if there isn't the potential for a lesser version of the "do-it-all" factor that Adalius Thomas or Julian Peterson brings to the table.

There's that multi-tasking thing again. When will Linehan start issuing Blackberries?

Have a great weekend.