In the four years the Rams have employed Head Coach Jeff Fisher and General Manager Les Snead, the lion's share of criticism has been directed at the former for the inability to produce a winning season. Much is made of the Rams' effort to bring in a horde of new talent thanks to the trade in the 2012 NFL Draft.
But new rankings from PFF over at ESPN (which is behind ESPN's insider paywall because the devil is real) that have the Rams holding the NFL's fourth-worst roster suggest perhaps Snead is deserving of more of that criticism.
PFF's Sam Monson explains the criteria for the ranking:
To determine the rankings, we took the past two years of PFF data and, giving the 2015 season more weight, averaged out the grades for each roster. Then we added a closer evaluation for added context, which allowed us, for example, to reward teams that have an excellent quarterback situation but a relative hole along the defensive line when it came to run defense.
We have also included a list of the top five players on each roster, plus a look at starters who aren't up to par.
So how does that shake out for the Rams?
29. Los Angeles Rams
Top five players: DT Aaron Donald, DE Robert Quinn, DE William Hayes, RB Todd Gurley, CB Trumaine Johnson
Starters who should be upgraded: OT Greg Robinson, OC Tim Barnes, LB Alec Ogletree, OG Jamon Brown
In Donald, the Rams have the top player in PFF's 2015 Top 101, but like the Texans and Watt, one man doesn't make a roster. The quarterback problem could be solved quickly if Jared Goff proves to be the guy, but outside of him and Gurley, there is practically nothing of proven quality on offense. Robinson has been one of the biggest draft busts of recent memory, surrendering 43 total pressures last season. He has also given up 10 sacks and been flagged 26 times over the past two years.
The defensive line is still a strong unit, but depth is an issue.
Now as a Rams fan, it certainly strikes me as being overly critical. I get that PFF uses their ratings as the entire foundation for their analysis but to have Ogletree and Brown in the bottom five is just...well, odd.
The real question is how much of their projections are ahead of my biased interpretations as a Rams fan. The problem is that in Fisherball, it's practically impossible to figure out.
(UPDATED by 3k at 12:40pm)
I didn't think to include the rankings from the last two years, but credit this comment from RamsMan83 for getting me on track..
In 2014, Monson had the Rams at #31. Going into last year, the Rams had jumped all the way to #22.