Free agency season is far from over, and the Rams seem to be a little more active lately, at least in terms of their visits with free agents, in an attempt to shore up team depth at certain positions. Given the lull, I thought this was a good time to take another look at the specific team needs for the St. Louis Rams.
The Rams averaged slightly more than 10 points a game last season. There were lots of reasons for that. Not even halfway through the season calls for Keith Null to start turned into demands. When die-hard fans start clamoring for a rookie QB who threw played his last game at the Division II level, it can be said that the team needs a QB. Marc Bulger gave the team some solid seasons, but the overall decay around him proved to be too much. No position has the impact on a team that the QB does, and the franchise can't continue the rebuilding process much longer without addressing that need. Where the Rams next QB comes from is subject to some debate, but the glaring need the team has at this position is not.
2. Defensive end
The Rams need a pass rusher...an every down pass rusher to play opposite Chris Long. Leonard Little and James Hall, hardly locks to come back to the team in 2010, can have success in limited duty, but they're role players at this stage. The addition of Fred Robbins gives the Rams a competent group of defensive tackles, not that they still couldn't use another, but the need for a defensive end is much greater...think about the old days with Wistrom and Little starting at DE. It would be great to see the team able to nab a guy like DE Corey Wotten would be a score in the second round, and give Spagnuolo the kind of DL who can lineup on the inside when the matchup is right. Or do the coaches think they can get Carlos Dunlap, should he fall to the 33rd pick, focused on the game? Is it too much to ask for Derrick Morgan to be available when the second round starts? Probably.
3. Weakside linebacker
Personally, I think the run defense lacks as much here as it does at defensive tackle. A good WLB playing alongside James Laurinaitis would vastly improve the Rams defense, both against the run and in covering tight ends or running backs. Na'il Diggs, if the Rams end up signing him, gives the team better depth than Paris Lenon, but he's not the answer.
4. Tight end
The need for a speedy pass catcher has been evident for some time, and could be especially useful if the Rams end up having a rookie QB. A threat at TE would help Rams receivers too. It's tough to rank the needs at DE, WLB and TE for me because I can easily see why each one is of critical need.
5. Backup running back
We can argue about what exactly what kind of running back we want to see here, but the need is obvious. A better offense all around will help reduce the workload on Steven Jackson, but the right backup running back could not only save tread on his tires but give the offense another dimension entirely.
6. Right tackle
The Rams probably don't have a need here immediately, assuming they don't trade Alex Barron. Eventually, they will have a need here...like next season. Finding that player now would be of benefit because it would give the Rams quality depth at OT.
If the Rams sign Kevin Dockery, they will have immediately improved their depth at this position, a weakness that was really exposed last season. Bradley Fletcher Bradley came on strong as a rookie, and we're hopeful that his rather serious leg injury won't stunt his growth. Playing with Ron Bartell gives the Rams a decent pair of starting CBs.
8. Wide receiver
Yes, the Rams could use a true blue number one WR, a real playmaker type guy. However, they have some intriguing young talent at this position that could complement each other quite well with Laurent Robinson, Donnie Avery and Brandon Gibson. Give these guys a season with a better QB situation and pass catching TE. However, there are big injury questions among that group, making another WR a useful component.
Alright, there is plenty of room for argument here, so weigh in with your thoughts.