Evan Silva

Draft Analysis

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NFL Draft Needs: Rams

Monday, April 28, 2014


Evan Silva (@EvanSilva) is the Senior Football Editor for Rotoworld's NFL Page, and Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) leads Rotoworld's college football and NFL draft coverage. Together, they're breaking down every team's biggest needs and offering potential solutions in May's draft.


For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.

 

No. 1 Team Need: Offensive Line


Silva's analysis


The only offensive line position St. Louis has settled is right guard, where Rodger Saffold was retained on a five-year, $31.35 million deal. LT Jake Long tore his right ACL and MCL in Week 16 and is questionable for Week 1. Left guard was a revolving door throughout 2013, and wasn't addressed in free agency despite flirtations with Geoff Schwartz. 33-year-old C Scott Wells hasn't stayed healthy through two seasons with the Rams. St. Louis holds the Nos. 2 and 13 overall picks in May's draft. It wouldn't be insane for GM Les Snead to invest both on O-Line upgrades.


Norris' options


First day option: Greg Robinson, Auburn - I prefer Jake Matthews, but I would be surprised if Robinson is not the first offensive lineman off the board. There are more questions with Robinson than frequently discussed, mainly his experience and overextension in pass protection. Robinson is extremely athletic, and Auburn’s scheme tended to ask the offensive linemen to attack rather than sit back. Maybe improvement will be as simple as telling Robinson to be more patient. Whatever it is, I prefer Robinson at left guard early, then work him out to left tackle, rather than stick him on the edge immediately.

 

Second day possibility: Brandon Thomas, Clemson - I understand Thomas might not contribute until his second season, but he can be an instant starter at guard or tackle. His upper body is extremely powerful and he has enough athleticism to mirror, absorb and redirect. Thomas is a ridiculous value in the third-round.

 

Third day flier: Spencer Long, Nebraska - Long has received plenty of attention during the visits/workout process. I see some power and a willingness to drive through blockers, but he also lacks balance and ends up on the ground too often.



No. 2 Team Need: Defensive Back


Silva's analysis


Safety has been a weakness in the Gateway City for years. The Rams appear to be high on rising sophomore SS T.J. McDonald, but FS Rodney McLeod is stretched and then some as a starter. The Rams could also use a nickel package replacement for slot cornerback Cortland Finnegan, who was released. Outside CBs Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson are passable starters.


Norris' options


First day option: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama - I consider Ha Ha a top 10 talent in this class, and the Rams would be a perfect spot for his skills. He can play a centerfield role as needed, timing catch-point breakups with range and a physical nature. I do think the Rams would have to trade up from their No. 13 pick in order to secure Ha Ha, however.


Second day possibility: Terrence Brooks, FSU - Brooks could be viewed as the next best free safety behind Ha Ha. In fact, I consider the Seminole the No. 3 safety in this class. Brooks could also play a centerfield role, baiting quarterbacks into testing the seams or sidelines. Brooks also shows a willingness to wrap up when closing aggressively at the line of scrimmage or in the box.


 

Third day flier: Avery Patterson, Oregon - Patterson could fill a slot corner role, or offer some versatility with McLeod in terms of one lining up in the box and the other in the deeper third. Patterson has range… but he can’t tackle.


 

No. 3 Team Need: Quarterback

 

 

Silva's analysis

 

The Rams seem hellbent on retaining Sam Bradford despite a $14-plus million non-guaranteed base salary, but their tune will change if Bradford's mediocrity continues for a fifth consecutive season. On his current contract, St. Louis would save $10.42 million in cap room by moving on from Bradford this offseason, or $11.5 million next offseason. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has reported the Rams will likely use a middle-round pick on a quarterback.


Norris' options


First day option: Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M - It is very difficult to connect quarterbacks with teams in this class. Honestly, I’m not sure what Brian Schottenheimer wants. Manziel is extremely unique thanks to his improvisational style and vision off of it. He made strides in terms of patience and passing from the pocket, but that needs to continue in order to sustain success.

 

Second day possibility: Tom Savage, Pittsburgh - Someone, or a few teams, like Savage. A lot. He is a vertical passer with a big frame. With that said, he has major issues falling away from pressure. I know Savage had a terrible offensive line, but he compounded it with his lack of poise and pocket movement. I don’t mind Savage as a third day passer, but he is now projected as a second- or third-rounder.

 

Third day flier: Keith Wenning, Ball State - What you see is what you get with Wenning. He was quite good in the short to intermediate game, specifically in the middle of the field, and displayed movement and composure in the pocket. A fifth- through seventh-round pick sounds about right. He could be this year’s Matt McGloin, but is not as limited as a passer.


Video: Norris on St. Louis' top need

 


Rams 2014 Draft Picks (12)

 

First Round (No. 2)

First Round (No. 13)

Second Round (No. 44)

Third Round (No. 75)

Fourth Round (No. 110)

Fifth Round (No. 153)

Sixth Round (No. 188)

Sixth Round (No. 214)

Seventh Round (No. 226)

Seventh Round (No. 241)

Seventh Round (No. 249)

Seventh Round (No. 250)


Rams Current First-Team Offense


QB: Sam Bradford

RB: Zac Stacy

WR: Kenny Britt

WR: Stedman Bailey

TE: Jared Cook

TE: Lance Kendricks

LT: Jake Long

LG: Brandon Washington

C: Scott Wells

RG: Rodger Saffold

RT: Joseph Barksdale


Rams Current First-Team Defense


RE: Robert Quinn

LE: Chris Long

DT: Michael Brockers

DT: Kendall Langford

MLB: James Laurinaitis

WLB: Alec Ogletree

SLB: Jo-Lonn Dunbar

LCB: Trumaine Johnson

RCB: Janoris Jenkins

FS: Rodney McLeod

SS: T.J. McDonald



Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Evan Silva



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