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Rams Earn Top Offseason Grade

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A look at the Rams offseason grade per ESPN's Mike Sando.

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

For those of you who don't have an ESPN Insider account, here is a breakdown of Mike Sando's offseason grade for the St. Louis Rams.

To start, the Rams tied for highest grade with an A-, but they were not the only team in the NFC West to earn great remarks. Both the Seahawks and the 49s received the same praise, which I hate to say... but they deserve it. Here's the difference: the Rams made longer strides to becoming competitive with the rest of the West; which is evidenced by their off season resigning and acquisitions, as well as their exceptional draft position. The 49ers and Hawks are already where they would like to be, they need only worry about maintaining their current success, a difficult task to do. Just ask any Rams fan from the last decade or so. Needless to say, the article discusses the demand and value of the guys in the trenches in that division:

St. Louis chose Robinson second overall when Sammy Watkins was also available. Going with Robinson and then Donald showed the Rams were serious about upgrading where it matters in the physical NFC West: along the lines.

Sando, along with many other experts, believe the NFC West will be decided on the front lines. If that's the case, the Rams' draft stands out from the pack even more. Using the draft to acquire the two best players at their respective position is rarely a bad idea.

The Rams also resigned Roger Saffold and Jo-Lonn Dunbar, two smart moves. Saffold was picked up substantially below market price -- per the Raiders lucrative offer -- and, in my opinion, Dunbar has outperformed his 2 year $3.5 mil contract. All in all, solid play by the Rams to resign two strong vets.

As you would imagine, Sando's article discusses the wheel and deal with the Redskins in 2012, and for good reason. The trade has the potential to reshape the Rams (and Redskins) organization for years to come. Looking at the players the Rams drafted through the picks in the trade and the quarterback currently at the helm, I would do this trade a million times over.

This was the second and final year in which St. Louis went into the draft with Washington's first-round pick, courtesy of the trade that delivered Robert Griffin III to the Redskins in 2012. The Rams wound up using those choices to select Alec Ogletree, Stedman Bailey and Robinson. They also used one of the picks to maneuver for Stacy. Mel Kiper Jr. gave them an A-minus grade for their work in the 2014 draft.

The additon of Ogletree, Bailey, Robinson, and Stacy, not to mention all of the other maneuvers they've pulled off - have added depth. With the option of two first round picks for two consecutive years, the trade positioned the Rams for success. As Bill Polian says, "Their [Rams] fans have every right to be optimistic" but it is also important to be realistic, as he notes "I don't get excited about draft choices until they prove it." Polian addresses a key point, as Rams fans have seen this time and time again over the years. Their is plenty of optimism and promise for the future, but how soon will the dividends be paid? With the right moves, the Rams are right there... on the cusp, just a little push over the edge, and are able to compete for the NFC West, NFC Championship, and Superbowl once again.

Who would you have liked the Rams to pick up this off season? Keep it realistic.