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Which Remaining Defensive Free Agent[s] Should the Los Angeles Rams Be Targeting?

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Donald Miralle/Getty Images

With the first wave of the 2016 NFL free agency frenzy starting to simmer, the Los Angeles Rams still have some work to do in solidifying their strong suit:  the defense.

The Rams have done well early in the offseason, re-signing Mark Barron, William Hayes, Cody Davis, and Eugene Sims.  They did, however, lose to key starters.  Janoris Jenkins and Rodney McLeod caught the eye of other NFL teams, and both will be playing elsewhere in 2016.

So what’s next?  Surely the team can’t rely solely on the NFL Draft - in which they’ve only got six picks - to add depth.

Let’s have a look at their unofficial depth chart, based on current players.  Some of these players may slide into different positions, or line up elsewhere in 2016.  Some of them may not be starters at all.  For now, it can only be pieced together by the Rams’ official website, and what the coaching staff has told us.

Position

First

Second

Third

LDE

William Hayes

Matt Longacre


LDT

Aaron Donald

Louis Trinca-Pasat


RDT

Michael Brockers

Ethan Westbrooks


RDE

Robert Quinn

Eugene Sims


WLB

Akeem Ayers

Bryce Hager


MLB

Alec Ogletree

Daren Bates

Cameron Lynch

SLB

Mark Barron



LCB

Trumaine Johnson

Lamarcus Joyner

Troy Hill

RCB

E.J. Gaines

Marcus Roberson


SS

T.J. McDonald

Maurice Alexander


FS

Cody Davis

Christian Bryant



As expected, big-name free agents quickly dropped off the free agency big board, many on their way to collecting their exponentially larger paychecks.  But there’s still plenty of talent to be had in free agency.

For a closer look at what’s available, we’ll utilize NFL.com’s Top 99 Free Agents list, which has been updated to include recent signings.

On the defensive side of the ball, here’s what’s still out there:

Defensive End

Chris Long, L.A.
Greg Hardy, DAL
Aldon Smith, OAK
Junior Galette, WAS

Defensive Tackle

Nick Fairley, L.A.
B.J. Raji, GB
Terrance Knighton, WAS
Akiem Hicks, NE

Linebacker

Jerrell Freeman, IND
Mike Neal, GB
Stephen Tulloch, DET
Courtney Upshaw, BAL
Zach Brown, TEN
James Laurinaitis, L.A.

Cornerback

Leon Hall, CIN
Patrick Robinson, SD
Nolan Carroll, PHI
Jerraud Powers, ARI

Safety

Eric Weddle, SD
Reggie Nelson, CIN
Walter Thurmond, PHI
Rashad Johnson, ARI
David Bruton, DEN

*******

Daren Bates and Nick Fairley remain the only Rams’ free agents not re-signed on the defensive side of the ball.  Fairley has drawn interest from the Saints, Eagles, and Jets, but there’s been very little that would lead one to believe the Rams are proactively trying to retain him; but that’s not to say they won’t.  Rumors about Bates, a restricted free agent whom the Rams opted not to tender, just aren’t out there.

What’s the Rams’ next move in free agency for the defensive side of the ball?  Or is there one?