The Rams' 2010 NFL Draft haul was supposed to set the course for a franchise turnaround for then General Manager Billy Devaney and Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo. QB Sam Bradford and OT Rodger Saffold were supposed to be the lynchpins of the offensive future. Jerome Murphy was taken in the third round to supplement the cornerback pairing of Ron Bartell And Bradley Fletcher (Bradley...good times). Mike Hoomanawanui and Fendi Onobun were tight end projects to develop. Eugene Sims and George Selvie were late DE steals. Mardy Gilyard! Everything was set up.
And it almost worked.
Sam Bradford earned plaudits across the league earning the Offensive Rookie of the Year and just missing out on a playoff berth with a week 17 loss in Seattle. The mid-round picks of 2010 fell off and 2011 became a wash after Robert Quinn and Lance Kendricks in the first two rounds. The offensive line disintegrated as Alex Barron, Jason Brown, Jacob Bell and Jason Smith all flamed out. It ended the Spags/Devaney era and led us into Fisherball.
Here we are five years later and the only two Rams left from the 2010 NFL Draft? Sims and Saffold. The former is heading into a contract year which could very well be his last as a Ram. Saffold, on the other hand, was a subject of some drama a year ago when the Raiders signed him in free agency before unsigning him allowing the Rams to re-sign him on a five-year, $31m deal. Now into the second year of that deal, Saffold's the most experienced member on the Rams' offensive line.
Not yet. Based on what we've seen from backup Brandon Washington, Saffold isn't going to be pushed much. Cody Wichmann's adjustment to the league as a rookie has been slowed by a leg injury, though he's finally been taken off the PUP so we may see him in the preseason. In any case, there's no rational option here to start outside of Saffold. That may change next offseason, but for 2015 he's fine.
Saffold's been on the block for while. We know he's capable when healthy. That's the real issue though. Saffold is constantly picking up injuries and has missed 17 games in his five years after getting through 2010 playing in all 16 games. The concern is that, like last year, Saffold may make it through 16 games but the multitude of injuries he has, and likely will, sustain will affect his ability to play to his full potential. Picking up a knock four plays into the Rams' 2015 preseason won't help assuage those concerns either.
Chances of Making Final Roster (10/10)
Saffold's a Ram, and that's not changing any time soon. But much like Sam Bradford and Jake Long, I wonder how close Saffold is to being an unreliable commodity moving forward. We know Fisher is going to press this team to the maximum levels of physicality and aggression. I'm sure the worry over Saffold's inability to stay at full health is one that's shared by most Rams fans. His 2015 may be less about his level of play and more about his ability to get through the season and prove he can be depended on moving forward.