Do you smell that? Smells like football is finally in the air. After the lockout is officially over there will be a mad dash to resign players, sign UDFA, and finally have free agency. Not to mention that teams will start practices, soon after to get ready for the preseason.
The most important question on everyone mind has to be who will the St. Louis Rams pick up in free agency. The Rams have a few needs and it will be hard to upgrade those positions in one short off season. If the Rams want to improve their team, they will The team biggest needs are safety, outside linebacker, backup running back, wide receiver, offensive guard, and defensive tackle. There are some players that would fill the Rams needs, but they could be gone quick when the gun blast for free agency to begin. If they want good players they will attack free agency and upgrade a couple of positions as soon as it starts. After the jump, lets take a quick look at the Rams situation at these positions.
After O.J Atogwe departure from the team, the Rams are left with a big hole in the secondary. O.J might not have been the best safety, but he was the most consistent playmaker on the Rams defense. The Rams are returning three players Craig Dahl, James Butler, and young player Darian Stewart. Without dissing those three players, I don't fill comfortable with any of them starting, let alone two of them starting. Dahl could be an average SS, but the other two I'm not real comfortable with. The Rams drafted two DBs, but they probably won't make much impact this season.
Possible solutions Jerome Murphy (I will beat the drum for him to play safety until they do it) Free agency: Quintin Mikell, Eric Weddle
Last season, this position stood out like a sore thumb. The Rams have a great middle linebacker in James L. (aka little animal) but beside him the Rams didn't have much. James is a great linebacker, but he can't be everywhere, every Batman needs a Robin and all James has by his side is, well most of the time nobody. The Rams desperately need a player who can cover, bring pressure on blitz, or at least have speed to catch fast players. This weakness was exploited a lot last season, it will be interesting if the Rams will bring in a vet or sign a UDFA.
Possible Solutions Mark Herzlich, Ben Leber, Chad Greenway
Steven Jackson isn't getting any younger. Jackson still is a good running back, but the Rams have really ran Jackson to the ground a lot of times. A backup running back usually isn't a big priority, but the Rams have neglected giving Jackson a backup for years now. Josh Mcdaniels' system usually doesn't rely on running backs, but with the lack of solid weapons, the Rams will lean on Jackson next season. The Rams need a player behind Jackson, just in case he gets injured, or a player who can make plays when Jackson isn't in the same backfield as Sam Bradford.
Possible solutions: Reggie Bush, Darren Sproles, any running back who can help the team.
This position has been talked about a lot recently. The Rams have an expensive offensive line, that while decent, hasn't produced as much as they should. They have a good foundation on the line though. Their two offensive tackles are young and have high upside. They have a pretty good center, who should play better than his average year last season. They have Jacob Bell, who stats say was the Rams most consistent offensive lineman last season. Then you have AdamGoldberg and John Greco. Goldberg is a versatile player who can play multiple positions, but shouldn't start 16 games. Then the Rams have Greco, a small sample sizing says he was better than Goldberg, however that was a real small sample size. Do the Rams take a gamble on Greco? Or do they find other ways to improve the interior?
Possible solutions: John Greco, Logan Mankins
Last season, the defensive line for the Rams got a lot of praise. The front four was good last season, but two of the four starts were old. Drafting Robert Quinn was a good step for the Rams defense. However, the Rams will need another defensive tackle if they want to take that next step. Fred Robbins was a beast last season, having his best season ever, but you have to wonder can he do that magic again? The same with James Hall, age has to catch up with them eventually right?
Possible solutions: Barry Cofield and Brandon Mebane
Damn, where do I start? For the last few years this position has seen the most changes, be it because of injuries, or letting players go. The Rams have tried to improve this position in the draft, but we still don't know how any of the players will play this season. The players on the Rams roster have potential, but that's always associated with the wide receivers on the Rams roster lately. Right now, its anyone guess who will be starting week 1, but besides Danny Amendola, and the highly talented, often injured player Danario Alexander, and the two rookies Greg Salas and Austin Pettis. Who knows who else will make the roster next season, and that's not to say that the players I named will make a good impact next season, they just who I don't think will be cut. The Rams have been reported to having interest in resigning Mark Clayton, they could have changed their mind since that was before they drafted two wide receivers
Possible solutions: staying in house and letting them fight for a spot, resign Mark Clayton, Sidney Rice, Vincent Jackson.