Gil Brandt has been around the NFL a long time, and knows an awful lot about the game of football. He just doesn't know an awful lot about the St. Louis Rams. Brandt is a respected senior analyst at NFL.com., and is in his 7th decade of involvement with the NFL. Earlier this week, Brandt released an updated 2015 NFL Draft order based on the current standings, and his updated list of top 3 needs for all 32 NFL teams.
The draft order will change many times over the last 5 weeks of the NFL regular season. What's interesting is Brandt's perception of the Rams' needs heading into the off-season.
The Rams' top 3 needs, according to Brandt, are (in order): QB, CB, RB:
"This is a team with some very good players, especially along the defensive line. Safety was solidifed with the acquisition of Mark Barron. The receiving corps is better than it gets credit for. The Rams need someone who can run the ball and a corner that can make plays. And, of course, a quarterback who can stay on the field."
Running back? The Rams are well-stocked at the position. Rookie Tre Mason shows a lot of promise, and is now handling the bulk of the carries. Benny Cunningham and Zac Stacy provide quality depth. All three are under contract through at least 2015. This is one of the least-neediest units on the team.
Cornerback? Trumaine Johnson and Janoris Jenkins are entrenched as the starting corners. Both have been inconsistent at times, but they have the potential to develop into top-tier CB's. The Rams selected Lamarcus Joyner and E.J. Gaines in the 2014 NFL Draft. Gaines in particular has exceeded expectations, and may very well be the steal of the draft. Brandon McGee and Marcus Roberson round out depth at the position. A shut-down corner would be a nice addition in the upcoming draft, but it certainly isn't one of the teams' top-three needs.
Quarterback? Hard to fault Brandt for putting QB at the head of his list. Shaun Hill is not the long-term answer. Nor is Austin Davis. Sam Bradford will be coming back after two season-ending ACL tears in as many years. Stabilizing the QB position is right near the top of the Rams' need list.
Brandt's glaring omission? The offensive line. The OL ranks right up there with QB at the top of the Rams' need list. The OL has been a disappointment this season. The unit is ageing, thin, fragile, and inconsistent. Jake Long and Scott Wells could become salary cap casualties. Joe Barksdale, Brandon Washington, Mike Person, Tim Barnes, and Davin Joseph are all eligible for free agency in 2015.
Fortunately for the Rams, the list of needs has decreased significantly since the arrival of Jeff Fisher and Les Snead in 2012. Filling the teams' remaining needs, however, is critical to any future success.
Which positional needs would make YOUR top three list?