Well, we're good and on the pathway to the 2013 NFL Draft now that the combine's finished. So while there are plenty of Pro Days to get through, we're pretty much just putting the bow on the box at this point.
At the same time, free agency is rearing its head. Steven Jackson's future lies in the streets of...well, we don't know right now. He'll let the market set a price and the Rams will have to go from there. It's an oddly rational and completely logical way of doing things in the weird wide world of sports.
Where do the two storylines cross over? At Jackson's position.
The Rams had the best season on the ground as a team since Steve Spagnuolo's first year as head coach. Thanks in large part to Daryl Richardson's blind bursts early in the season and a pretty healthy season from Jackson, the Rams weren't left wanting for talent at the RB position. Add in the fact that Isaiah Pead, the Rams' last of three second-round picks in the 2012 NFL Draft, went into week 17 having carried the ball all of five times, and there's an interesting blend of talent in the Rams' backfield.
That being said, if Jackson ends up moving and the coaching staff isn't entirely comfortable with a Pead/DRich combo leading the depth chart, this year's draft offers a couple worthy components that may be part of the equation for the Rams in 2013 and beyond.
3k's 2013 Big Boards
|OT (Nov. 20)||WR (Dec. 13)||G (Jan. 3)|
Like the WR big board, I'll drop some attributes for each prospect as follows:
Acc - Acceleration
Ath - Athleticism
Bl - Blocking skills
El - Elusiveness
Inj - Notable injury history
P - Power
Rec - Receiving skills
S - Top end speed
V - Vision
||UNC||RS Soph.||Acc, Ath, El, Inj, Rec, S
||Jr.||Acc, Bl, El, Rec, S|
||Alabama||RS Jr.||Ath, Bl, P, V
||Sr.||Ath, Inj, P, S, V
||Jr.||Acc, Ath, Bl, El, Inj, P, Rec, S, V
||UCLA||RS Sr.||Acc, Ath, El, S, V
||Stanford||Sr.||Acc, Bl, P, Rec, V
||Clemson||RS Sr.||Acc, Ath, Bl, El, Inj, Rec, S
||Rutgers||RS Soph.||Acc, El, Inj, Rec, V
||Wisconsin||Sr.||Ath, Bl, P, V
||Florida||Sr.||Acc, Ath, El, V
|12||Knile Davis||Arkansas||RS Jr.||Acc, Ath, El, Inj, Rec, S, V
||Jr.||Bl, El, P, Rec|
||Vanderbilt||Sr.||Acc, Bl, Inj, P, V|
* The only small school RB prospect who I've seen crop up a couple times in boards is Stony Brook's Miguel Maysonet.
It's a pretty solid class, though to me it tails off after Ellington at #8. The real key to this class is the medical side of things.
Lattimore and Michael to me are the best two backs in the class, but their injuries were as significant as you can get for on-field injuries (i.e. not medical conditions like Jarvis Jones' spinal disorder or Robert Quinn's benign brain tumor). Hell, Knile Davis might have been top 3 without his injury history. Throw in notable injuries to Bernard, Ellington, Jamison and Stacy, and the medical team at the combine had to have been busy.
You've got a couple players who I think are being heavily overrated in Montee Ball and Le'Veon Bell. Bruising backs just aren't high on the wish lists for most teams. It doesn't mean they can't be productive (see: LeGarrette Blount in 2010), but coaches are more than happy to go for more well-rounded backs or committees that tend to favor the speedier athletes and leave those power guys sidelined (see: LeGarrette Blount in 2012). Nevertheless, you've got some quality 3rd down back options.
But there you have it. Let's discuss.