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2012 NFL Draft: Why You Should Rule Out An OL For The Rams In The 1st Round


There are a few scenarios playing out lately in which USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil falls to the St. Louis Rams in the sixth spot of the draft. Even without Kalil falling, there are still a few holdouts who think the Rams could do with an offensive tackle, or even an interior offensive lineman like David DeCastro, with their first-round pick. It isn't going to happen.

Kalil falling to the sixth spot is stretch. If the Vikings really were to pass on him, they would pick Morris Claiborne. That would certainly throw a kink in Tampa Bay's draft plans. I think in that scenario, the Bucs would have to seriously consider Kalil. Jeremy Trueblood is in the last year of his contract, and he hasn't been very good. They could shift Donald Penn, who allowed nine sacks last year, over to the right side.

Obviously, you can make a case for the Rams needing a tackle of Kalil's caliber. Nobody would argue that he'd be an upgrade, but ...

Drafting offensive linemen high in the draft is not Jeff Fisher's style. In fact, it never happened when he was with the Titans/Oilers. The last time that franchise drafted an offensive lineman in the first round was 1993, when they selected Brad Hopkins. Of course, Hopkins played there until 2005, meaning they never really had to consider it until later in Fisher's tenure.

But there's more.

In case you missed it, the Post-Dispatch had an informative update on Jason Smith on Friday. Fisher and offensive line coach Paul Boudreau talked about Smith's skills and what he needed to do in order to finally reach an acceptable level of play.

Fisher identified Saffold and Smith as his left and right tackles, and offered ample reason for that arrangement. One thing that's for certain, the team has a high degree of confidence in Boudreau. How else can you explain the fact that Smith and his $10 million salary were not cap casualties earlier this spring or that he has yet to restructure his deal.

A restructured contract can and probably should still happen, but I think the coaching staff feels that the incumbent tackles are players they can start the season with this year.

Fisher's offensive linemen were always drawn from the ranks of the middle and later rounds. The Rams have had plenty of second and third rounders in for a visit. I think what you will likely see is the team find a backup and future replacement for either Smith or Saffold in the later rounds of the draft. That might not even come in the form of a tackle. They can always slide Harvey Dahl out the right to replace Smith and replace Dahl with a guard plucked out of the middle rounds.