One of the biggest surprises for the St. Louis Rams last season had to be Joseph Barksdale, who was claimed off of waivers in 2012 after the Oakland Raiders released him. In 2012 he played in 6 games and started in 2 of those. Barksdale was off many people's radars and nobody considered him becoming a starter in 2013.
However, in 2013, Barksdale had a chance to fill in for Rodger Saffold as he was battling injuries. He did so well that the Rams alternated between him and Saffold for a few weeks, before deciding to move Saffold to guard.
So how well did Barksdale play last season? Well, Pro Football Focus rated Barksdale as the 25th best offensive tackle in league with an overall grade of 12.2 pass blocking grade of 11.9, but he's run blocking was -4.9. There's also Bleacher's Report writer Matt Miller who ranked Joe Barksdale as 13th out of 35 right tackles.
Expectations for Barksdale this season?
Jeff Fisher's hopes should be pretty high this year for Barksdale this season. He will be heading into this year as a starter, and he has a season worth of experience under his belt. He's also still young enough enough (26) to develop as a player. Also, this will be Barksdales' contract season. We all know - in a player's contract season - they usually play at a higher level, which would be a great thing for the Rams.
If Barksdale can improve on his run blocking he could become a top 10 right tackle. It's hard to see him regressing as a player because he played so well in 2013, but it could happen. However, after seeing some more of his games during the off season, he's more impressive than I thought. I personally don't think that he will regress, and see a bright future for Barksdale.
Will he make the Rams roster in 2014?
Barksdale will continue being the starter at right tackle for the Rams, unless Orlando Pace returns and decides to play right tackle...