For the second consecutive year, ESPN has asked the staff or Pro Football Focus to utilize their data to rank all 32 NFL teams. The Seattle Seahawks, once again, hold the league’s top spot.
In 2014, you would’ve had to scroll through these rankings almost in their entirety to find the St. Louis Rams, who checked in at 31. This year, they’ve made a bit of a jump on the rankings. No In$ider? No Problem...
22. St. Louis Rams
2014 Ranking: 31
Top five players: Aaron Donald, Robert Quinn, Chris Long, William Hayes, Nick Fairley
Starters who should be upgraded: Alec Ogletree, Greg Robinson, Tavon Austin, Nick Foles
Analysis: With perhaps their five best players all residing on the defensive line, the Rams are building their foundation in the right place. Donald is the best young defensive tackle in the league, while Quinn remains one of the most feared pass-rushers despite taking a step back from his 2013 dominance. There is a sea of average in the back seven, but St. Louis is hoping its stout front will mask some of those deficiencies.
The offensive line has gotten a lot of attention in recent years, though there's little to show for it at this point. The skill positions are also a place where potential has trumped production, as the Rams are still waiting on Austin and Brian Quick to emerge. Rookie running back Todd Gurley may be just what the offense needs to get back on track. At quarterback, the big unknown is whether Foles can be a productive player outside of the Eagles' system.
Now, if I’m reading this correctly, Sam Monson [of PFF] is stating that Ogletree, G-Rob, Tavon, and Foles should all be upgraded; not improved. That probably comes as a surprise to many, as Ogletree has played very well for the Rams since being drafted in 2013. Robinson, while he still has room to improve [heading into his second season in the NFL], probably wasn’t drafted second overall to be pushed out of the starting left tackle spot with such haste.
And are William Hayes and Nick Fairley really two of the five best players on the team?