I know, why the Hell are we talking about the draft when the St. Louis Rams are on the verge of their first playoff appearance since 2004?
Well, old habits die hard. Besides, I couldn't let this post from Mike Sando go by without comment. In it, Matt Williamson of Scouts, Inc. runs down the top six draft needs of every NFC West team. Here's how he ranks the Rams' draft needs for the 2011 NFL Draft:
Few would deny that those are positions of need, but just how much need and where they should be on the priority list is subject to some debate.
It's hard to argue with the first one, first two really. The OLB spot has been the soft underbelly of the Rams defense all season, and competent offenses have attacked that spot for repeated success, see the Atlanta and New Orleans game.
Few would argue about the need for a wide receiver after watching the Rams offense this season. However, as we've talked about before, the return of Donnie Avery and possibly Mark Clayton complicates the team's route to beef up that position group, i.e. a first round pick may very well be off the table.
Number 3, the cornerback, is where I really disagree. The Rams need defensive line help, either a DT or DE, before they need another player in the secondary. If anything, they need a safety more than another CB, and the CB need is one of improved depth, as in no more Kevin Dockery. Jerome Murphy will have an increased role next year, and Bradley Fletcher and Ron Bartell will be the starters. Improving the Rams front four, strengthening the pass rush, will give the secondary a big boost.
I might put RB higher up the list too.
And tight end, well, Michael Hoomanawanui looks to be the main man in that job next year. Will Fendi Onobun be ready to contribute next season? Billy Bajema is back for another year as the primary blocking TE. The magnitude of the Rams need at TE really comes down to how well Onobun develops. Beyond that, they need a do-it-all back up for Uh Oh.
My position needs for the Rams:
- OG - do I need to remind you just how awful interior run blocking has been?
Remember, that's not draft order. Positions like OLB and OG can be addressed adequately without a first or second round pick, depending on the players available in those rounds and at that spot in the draft, of course.