First off, we've covered ad nauseum how the Rams lost four defensive starters (S Rodney McLeod, CB Janoris Jenkins, LB James Laurinaitis and DE Chris Long) and one key rotational piece on the DL from 2015 (DT Nick Fairley).
We get it, they will have some new faces on defense.
Looking for defensive help in free agency, the Rams replaced Fairley's role with 2014 first round pick Dominique Easley, added 2012 first-round pick DE Quinton Coples into the DL rotation to add pass rushing help and signed CB Coty Sensabaugh to help supplant the loss of Jenkins.
Per PFF's Director of Analytics Nate Jahnke, the Rams "have a few clear strengths—running back and defensive line—but too many weaknesses to expect the team to be successful with a rookie QB in year one".
He's concerned about the loss of highly graded players in the secondary (the Rams were one of five teams to lose three players with a grade of 80.0 or more last year). Trading up to the first pick for new QB Jared Goff cost the Rams the ability to add top-tier replacements at free safety and cornerback, respectively.
He argues that the Rams' picks in the fourth and sixth rounds, TEs Tyler Higbee and Temarrick Hemingway and WRs Pharoh Cooper and Michael Thomas, should be instant contributors on an offense looking for receiving help:
- Higbee averaged 2.30 yards per route run in 2015 (3rd best for TE's in FBS)
- Cooper forced 33 missed tackles in 2014-2015 (top-20 in the FBS)
- Thomas was fifth in yards-per-route in the FBS