Barron comes to St. Louis - AP
Barron comes to St. Louis
By R.B. Fallstrom
Right tackle, long a problem position for the St. Louis Rams, is getting some much-needed attention.
Alex Barron of Florida State, taken with the 19th overall pick of Saturday's draft, fills arguably the team's biggest area of need coming off an 8-8 season. He will line up opposite six-time Pro Bowl left tackle Orlando Pace and, the Rams hope, end a revolving door at his spot.
"We've always gotten by in the last six years," coach Mike Martz said. "We've been kind of taping things together. This is a load of bricks off my shoulders."
Barron was the first pick of a busy draft for the Rams, who had 12 selections overall with needs remaining to be filled at safety and cornerback. Four of the picks were in the first three rounds, to be completed later Saturday.
Two years ago, the Rams thought they had solidified right tackle when they acquired Kyle Turley. But Turley missed all of last season with a back injury, recently was as much at 70 pounds below his playing weight, has verbally sparred with the head coach and is expected to be cut on June 2.
"I think that's a question for another day," Martz said. "This is about the draft, not about Kyle."
Without Turley, the Rams struggled on the right side all last season with undrafted Blaine Saipaia finishing the year at the position. Once Oklahoma offensive tackle Jamaal Brown and Georgia safety Thomas Davis went off the board, Barron was the player the Rams wanted and unlike most teams they used less than half of their allotted 15 minutes to make the pick.
"We were kind of sweating it out," Martz said. "It did meet a big need."
So big that the Rams will be surprised if Barron isn't ready to start on opening day.
"I would expect that to be a very strong possibility," Martz said.
Barron is only the second offensive lineman that the Rams have taken on the first day in Martz' six years of running the draft. The other was John St. Clair, a third-rounder in 2000 who is now playing for the Dolphins.
Martz, who made his reputation as an offensive mastermind, has concentrated mostly on building the defense in recent years. In the meantime, the Rams' once top-ranked offense slid to sixth last year and quarterback Marc Bulger was sacked 50 times.
Earlier in the week, the Rams added depth to the line by signing former Bears offensive guard Rex Tucker, and Saipaia also will move inside to provide depth.
"It's worth getting excited about," Martz said. "This was necessary to take the steps towards being the type of offense we want to be this year."
Barron played more left tackle than right tackle last season, and that's the side he prefers. But he's also a realist, so he will embrace the right side.
"I wasn't too crazy about it at first, but that's the way it goes," Barron said. "They believe I can do it, I believe I can do it and I'm ready."
"I think I'll be OK with a lot of help, good teaching and a lot of patience and hard work."
Playing opposite Pace, the first overall pick in 1997 and a player he has been compared to, eases the blow.
"He's on top of his game and it will be a great opportunity to learn from him," Barron said. "It's a little easier just knowing he's over there getting his job done and he's going to be looking for me to get my job done."
Re: Barron comes to St. Louis - AP
What if Big O moves to RT allowing Barron to guard the forte on the left flank, his specialty?
Nah. Let the rookie learn and learn well. Bring on Jackie Slater to mentor about RT! :helmet: