One area of free agency where the St. Louis Rams could add some needed help is at the cornerback position. Tackle Box ran down the Rams' situation at CB in his last "Being Billy Devaney" post, including a look at some of the free agent possibilities. With the free agency season officially upon us and some recent moves by teams that have changed the FA market for cornerbacks, I thought it might be worth a quick update.
Last week Spagnuolo mentioned that it wouldn't hurt the Rams to add some veterans players to the mix, in part to help lead a mostly young team. Check out this from Spags:
Now, in my opinion, you can't just go out plucking guys out of the sky. You almost have to know that person and how they study film. I think that is huge.
That was brought up in the context of recently released Giants MLB Antonio Pierce, but it might be more telling regarding the cornerback situation. Two free agent CBs on the market got their start in Philly when Spagnuolo was the defensive backs coach there from 2001-2003 (he then became the LBs coach from '04-'06). Those two players are Roderick Hood, whom the Titans recently let walk, and Lito Sheppard, released by the Jets this week.
The Rams were connected to Hood last offseason; at one point, it was even reported that they had made an offer to him. Hood had a great season with the Cardinals in '07, with 5 INTs and 2 TDs, but he was on the bench most of the season with the Titans last year.
Lito Sheppard struggled with injuries last year with the Jets, failing to become a Rex Ryan regular in the process. After eight seasons with the Eagles, he certainly knows Spagnuolo's system.
Either one of these players could be a decent addition for the Rams. Consistent with Spagnuolo's statement above, they could help the young corners, like Bradley Fletcher, develop and flourish, even help Ron Bartell adjust to the system. They could start, be part of a three man rotation with Fletcher and Bartell and serve as something of an insurance policy if the Rams lose a starting CB.
There's also 26-year-old Marlin Jackson, who the Colts decided not to extend an RFA tender to, who is a physical player that would fit the mold of Spagnuolo and Flajole's press style. There's also Leigh Bodden, another solid coverage man who has dealt with injury issues in the past, that could make a nice addition.