Not that I'm suddenly turning to Peter King for football gospel, but he has an interesting point about the Rams decision to draft an OT in his column today.
King echoes the argument made by some, and thoughtfully-countered by others, on these pages that the sorry state of the Rams offensive line demanded they get the best tackle they could during the offseason. Here's a quote from Devaney explaining the rationale:
I was tired of seeing our quarterback get killed. I don't care if we give up 50 points a game, I'm not going to sit around and watch our quarterback get abused the way he did last year and the way he would have if we didn't address the offense line.
I understand and I appreciate our fans who say, 'Go get the quarterback. He could be a franchise quarterback. How many times are you in position to get an elite quarterback' They're right. But how many times are you in position to get an elite left tackle? You can't get one down the line in the draft. You can't get one in free-agency; they're never available.
The top free agent OT, Jordan Gross, was promptly re-signed by the Panthers. After Gross, upper echelon starters with less than a decade of experience were impossible to find. Team make it a priority to keep those guys because a good offensive line is a precious, precious thing. Hence the idea of building a football team from the inside out:
Plus, I really believe, like our coach, that the personality of your team revolves around a big, tough, physical offensive line.
Draft, free agency, whatever, the point is that the Rams had to rebuild their o-line, and they did that, toughening up the middle by signing C Jason Brown and now, making a "safe" choice in the draft to add Jason Smith. The cost doing business behind recent incarnations of the Rams offensive line is just too high, and King relays the moral of his story with the take of David Carr, a first round pick ravaged by play behind a porous offensive line, sacked 208 times in four years with the expansion Texans. Bulger has been sacked 150 times over the last four years, 124 times in the last three, more than any other passer in the league during that span.
Whether Bulger can regain competency remains to be seen, but there's no hope for him or any other QB without help up front. The real arguement isn't whether we needed help, ready-to-play help, at OT, it's more of where we could have drafted one. And with the Rams having so many needs as the rebuilding process gets underway, there's plenty of room to argue that other positions should have been a priority. Anyway, that's a debate I suspect we'll be having until the season gets underway and we start to get a feel for what the Rams did get in the draft.
Ugh, I'm agreeing with Peter King (at least it wasn't an article about Brett Favre)...gotta find a shower.