Well, here we are, trying to fill out the roster, create some depth, and maybe even try to build some potential for the future. If things go as planned, by the time the Rams draft in the 5th round, we'll have all (well, maybe most) of our most pressing needs filled and will be looking to make a great steal late on the 2nd day.
While the subject of Marc Bulger is controversial (to say the least) around here, can we all accept he's going to be our quarterback this season? You might not like it, but there's about a .00001% chance there will be someone other than Bulger lining up under center when the Rams take the field for their season opener.
I for one fall into the category of a Bulger supporter. I'm just putting that out there. However, I'm not blind to the fact that he'll be 32 when the season starts and isn't going to be any younger the following season. We've got a young offense (2nd youngest in the league at press time) so it makes sense that we're going to have to start developing a quarterback, right? Is this the year to start that? I'm not sure. A lot of it depends on what is available in the later rounds, and is what is available going to be a better bet than what will be available at the top of the draft next year? That's a good question, no?
So, let's start with looking at our roster after the jump.
- Marc Bulger - 6'3" 212 - Signed through 2013 - Bulger still has a lot of guaranteed money left which will count against the cap this year and next ($22.5M in 2009 and $18M in 2010). I can now tell you how he's still a good quarterback, but ultimately that's my opinion. He's been battered for the past couple of seasons and that's definitely taken its toll on him. How he responds to much better protection and a run-centric offense is still a mystery, but at this time the team can't afford to not bet on him to succeed.
- Brock Berlin - 6'1" 215 - Signed through 2009 - Berlin is a backup quarterback, plain and simple. Anyone who thinks or tells you he deserves a legit shot to win the starting job at any point in the next year is letting their disdain for Marc Bulger interfere with rational thinking. There's nothing special about Berlin other than maybe he's fun to be around. If the Rams have to turn to him at any point this season, then a top 5 draft pick is definitely in our future.
After Bulger and Berlin, the Rams are suspected to be interested in and on the verge of signing Gus Frerotte. Sexy? Not in the least bit. But he can pick up offenses quickly, is a professional about himself, and played in a similar offense last season to what the Rams are going to install this year. He's a one year filler. Nothing more, nothing less. He's not here to compete for the job but can do the job if he has to and at age 38, he's a much better option than turning the reigns over to Brock Berlin.
And that's our Quarterbacks. Not pretty, but with Bulger hopefully we have some upside to look forward to. If he fails this season (or falls short of expectations), it's not the end of the world. I expect a major improvement this season, but I'm realistic. That improvement should result in a better record (how could it not, right?), but we're going to have to watch the games to see the little things. Simply looking at the record and forming an opinion is being short-sighted.
So, with that being said, should the Rams draft a quarterback this year? Is it worth it? We've already got a full stable of QBs (assuming they sign Frerotte) so they wouldn't be filling out the roster. If they do draft a QB, you can kiss Mr. Berlin goodbye but I don't think there will be any demonstrations at the Dome or demands of season ticket money being returned as a result.
But, I ask again, is it worth it to draft a Quarterback this year when drafting for depth on either of the lines or at Cornerback or Tight End or Running Back or wherever might benefit the team much more? Well, one reason might be that you can start to teach the new QB the system and get him some time with the team. Is that a benefit? Eh. Matt Ryan doesn't seem to think so, but then again he was a 1st round draft pick. We won't have that luxury here of such a high profile addition, so maybe it is better. Who really knows, right? Either way, let's see what's going to be available in the later rounds of this year's draft (rounds 5 through 7).
- Rhett Bomar - Sam Houston State - 6'2" 215 - Had a pretty good season for the Bearkats with 3,355 yards, 27 TDs, and 13 INTs. Was originally an Oklahoma Sooner (when he was the top quarterback recruit in the nation) but was kicked off the team after taking money from boosters. Resurfaced at Sam Houston and salvaged his career. He has the ability to play in the NFL, but comes with some character question marks, I suppose.
Nate Davis - Ball State - 6'2" 217 - Once considered to be a possible 2nd round lock in this year's draft, Davis has seen his stock slip over the last month or so. Many are questioning his decision to leave school early especially after his struggles in his last two games at Ball State. He has a big arm and is extremely athletic but apparently many teams doubt his ability to lead an NFL team. Only one team (Indianapolis Colts) sent a representative to Davis' Pro Day workout (Muncie is like an hours drive away from Indy). Scouts also have concerns about his height, but in my opinion 6'2" isn't all that short. Just ask Drew Brees.
- Mike Reilly - Central Washington - 6'3" 214 - The 49ers seem pretty interested in Reilly saying he's "Not a high-round guy, but a middle-round guy that's got some upside" Had a great season for the Wildcats compiling 3,706 yards, 37 touchdowns, and 6 INTs. He's got a big arm and has plenty of confidence. Also has a lot of upside. If he's available in the 6th round (he probably won't be), it'd be hard for the Rams to pass him up if they're serious about developing someone with great talent and tons of upside.
- Nathan Brown - Central Arkansas - 6'1" 217 - Put up great numbers through his career at Central Arkansas (10,558 yards, 100 TDs) and has been considered by some to be the best college quarterback to ever play in the state of Arkansas. That's one heck of a compliment for a guy virtually no one has ever seen play. Could be a great pick late in the draft.....could be nothing more than a backup. It's hard to tell.
- Mike Teel - Rutgers - 6'4" 220 - Was red hot to end the season for the Scarlet Knights who has the size NFL teams covet at this position. He struggled for about the first half of last season, but the finish he put up might have convinced some teams he can play at the next level. Frankly, it's guys like this that concern me. I'd prefer a QB who very rarely struggled and didn't take half a season to get it figured out before I went and spent a draft pick (and every pick of ours this year are extremely valuable to the rebuilding process) on him.
After Teel, you'll be looking at guys like Graham Harrell (Texas Tech), David Johnson (Tulsa), Hunter Cartwell (Louisville), Cullen Harper (Clemson), and Tom Brandstater (Fresno State). Some of these guys might even go un-drafted, which means you could pick them up as a free agent. Personally, outside of maybe Nate Davis or Mike Reilly, I'd probably pass on this bunch. I just feel we'd be wasting a pick on a backup quarterback when someone who could play special teams might be more valuable.
Depending on how the season plays out, it's probably a better idea to wait until next season to draft a QB. I'm not overly excited about the 2010 class of QBs, but next year we should have a better handle on the roster and much less holes to fill making a reach or a high draft pick much easier to swallow. Plus, we will still probably have Bulger on the roster in 2010 so you probably wouldn't expect any of these guys to step in on day one.
Anyway, here's a look at what's probably going to be available next year.
Sam Bradford (Oklahoma), Jevan Snead (Mississippi), Tim Tebow (Florida), Colt McCoy (Texas), Jimmy Clausen (Notre Dame), Pat Devlin (Deleware), Tim Hiller (Western Michigan), Zac Robinson (Oklahoma State), Dan LeFevour (Central Michigan), Jake Locker (Washington), Juice Williams (Illinois), Jarrett Brown (West Virginia), and Daryll Clark (Penn State)
I have to admit right now of my man crush on Dan LeFevour. I've probably seen him play 3 or 4 times (once in person) and he has always impressed. He's got good size, a heck of an arm, and has great feet. He can beat you in so many ways.
So, what do you guys think? I know there are probably people who would love to see the Rams trade for Jay Cutler but a move like that would totally hamstring any chances the team has of having any roster flexibility for the next 3 years. So....do we draft this year and if Bulger falls on his face we can then replace him next sesaon, or do we put our faith in our curent QB and look at acquiring his replacement next year when we can pick a guy a little higher in the draft?