We all know the story... the Rams are loaded with cheap young talent. 5 first round picks in the last 3 years, another 4 2nd rounders. If there is one thing that Les Snead and Jeff Fisher have accomplished it's been accumulating high draft picks. Some of those ships have sailed (Isaiah Pead) and others are still very much in question (pick a WR), but overall, 'Snisher' has done an incredible job of picking the Rams off of the NFL doormat and bringing them back to relative relevancy.
Yesterday, it wasn't those high profile draft picks that performed best - save Aaron Donald. It was the 'value picks' and UDFAs that stole the show.
Option #1 - Benny Cunningham
Benny Cunningham has had to fight for every opportunity he's gotten with the Rams. Since coming aboard as a UDFA after the 2013 NFL draft, he has outlasted multiple RBs and has seen his role steadily increase. He is a special teams contributor and is the primary back used in passing situations. His team leading 7 receptions yesterday reflect that role.
Yes, he had a costly fumble yesterday. But this is more than about one game. This is about a player who worked to create a career for himself in the NFL. He's shown us that he can play in the NFL. And that 'Snisher' can do more than accumulate high draft picks.
Option #2 - Rodney McLeod
You can count me among those who have called for McLeod's head on more than one occasion. He has nearly as many mental gaffes as Janoris Jenkins and has blown enough coverages to make me want to pull my hair out - if I had any at least. But McLeod is another player who was able to earn a starting role on this team. The fact that he's been able to do that on a absolutely loaded defense is astonishing.
While the Rams have failed to bring in a high profile draft pick to shore up the FS position, McLeod has held off several young guns this season. Many thought that Mo Alexander or even LaMarcus Joyner would fill in at some point. Then, when the Rams traded for Mark Barron, McLeod's fate seemed sealed. But he did enough to fend him off as well. I still think the Rams upgrade the FS position somehow this offseason, but McLeod has done enough to warrant consideration as the Rams 3rd safety in 2015.
Option #3 - T.J. McDonald
TJ Mac has surprised me this season. His escapades have been well documented in MCM throughout the season.. While not nearly as talented, he has turned into the Rams poor version of Earl Thomas. He is the leader of the DBs and I feel that he should have garnered more pro-bowl consideration. In a draft that was loaded with safeties, the Rams stood pat and took their guy in the 3rd round. And he may be the best safety out of that draft to date.
His passion and physicality fit well in this defense, and he gives the Rams a vocal leader at every level of the defense. I can't wait to see what he can do next year.