With that being said, I thought it's a good time to address the addressing that's coming: the offensive line. We all know it's coming. Nearly every mock draft tells us it must be so. But there's an elephant in the room. Well, three actually. And those all stand in front of the draft decision.
First things first (Iggy is not the realest, but that's not what I was referring to). Barksdale's a free agent and having established himself as the Rams' starting right tackle since 2013, his status has quite a bit of impact on what the Rams do with the line. Should he test the market and ultimately leave St. Louis, that tips over the first domino in pressuring some other decisions. If he stays though, the Rams can if nothing else scratch that need off the board.
There is a question as to his ceiling. The Rams have to decide if Barksdale was a stopgap RT that they're comfortable moving on from or if he's someone they can peg their offensive line successes to over the course of a new contract. A year ago, the similar question surrounded Rodger Saffold. And despite the failures of the Raiders to approach something near normal football operations, the Rams ended up putting him on a five-year deal north of $30 million. Decisions, decisions.
Speaking of decisions, the Rams have a decision to make on Jake Long as well. More importantly, Jake Long has a decision to make on Jake Long:
There has been speculation that veteran Jake Long — following yet another operation — might be considering retirement.
But Fisher said, "All indications are that he wants to come back." If that’s the case, Fisher said he felt Long could play guard or right tackle.
Those options are only there because Fisher has publicly said that Greg Robinson will be the Rams' starting left tackle in 2015. And considering the Rams are on the hook for $10m to Jake for 2015 (and that they'd shave more than $9m off the cap in cutting him...), there's change coming down this pipe. We'll have to see how it works out, but there's no question his role is completely up in the air.
Now let's be clear. Fisher's intimated that GRob is the Rams' left tackle. And despite his penchant for playing loose and fast with the media (it took exactly seven days to go from Fisher's comments that no changes were anticipated on the coaching staff to Schottey leaving for Georgia...), let's assume that he's being fully sincere. There's a fair question to be asked if Robinson's future is at left tackle.
Would he be better suited at right tackle or guard? Remember, Rodger Saffold was the Rams' entrenched left tackle not long ago. Things change. Even some of the things we're certain can't. I only bring this up because, perhaps not this offseason but down the line, GRob vacates that left tackle spot. For all the questions already plaguing the Rams' offensive line, that would be another interesting one that could have ramifications on this year's draft.
What it means for the 10th overall pick
One of the things working in the Rams' favor is time. Were the draft this weekend, we'd be in some trouble. All those questions loom large on the Rams. Consider that the Rams could lock up Barksdale and re-structure Jake Long. Why would the Rams then draft a tackle at 10? I'm no stranger to BPA, but with a #2 overall pick entering his second season at LT, a newly re-signed RT on a long-term deal and a reserve option who was considered one of the best in the game just a few years ago, tackle might not be a wise position to bolster with your first round pick.
And so it is. The Rams are angled towards a tackle with the 10th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft largely because they've got more questions than answers. And yet the real answers lie in between the tackle spots as they've only got one functioning guard in Rodger Saffold among the three positions.
Thanks for the time...