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  1. #1
    Bar-bq's Avatar
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    A Quick Look Ahead

    I was persuing RamWraith's "contract status" thread in the Ram Talk Forum. And it got me thinking about priorties, and specifically, what positions the Rams would be prioritising next offseason.

    Potential losses include Ryan Fitzpatick, Andy McCollum, Brett Romberg, Brandon Chillar, and OJ Atogwe- add to that list an aging LaRoi Glover (2 years) and an already concerning D-line, and it seems like there could be a boatload of positional needs next off-season. For all intenisve purposes, Marc Bulger has been left off the list as he is integral to this team's progression.

    So-- without further Adieu...

    QB- Potentially, the Rams could be on the lookout for a New, young QB and if Gus Ferotte decides to hang up his bootsat age 37, a veteran backup too.

    RB- The Rams are well established here, with Steven Jackson and rookie hybrid Brian Leonard.

    WR- Isaac Bruce is nearing the end, Torry Holt, 31, has hinted previously at an early retirement (says he "doesn't want to be Tim Brown") and Drew Bennet is likely to be Bruce's replacement. Consider this a preparation recruiting move for the future in next year's draft. Could be a BPA Offenive move, in a similar vein to Brain Leonard this year.

    OL- Orlando Pace and Alex Barron are set outside, and will start into the future. Richie Incognito looks to have secured a spot inside, as does Mark Setterstom. They will both face competition from Claude Terrel, who has been in Linehan's doghouse since day dot. Center seems to be prepared for. Even if both McCollum and Romberg were to leave the team, preventative steps were taken to secure this position for future years in the form of Dustin Fry. However, if there is a top notch center available when the Rams pick next year, don't be surprised to see the Rams pull the trigger. All indications are they like Romberg, and if he plays well, should be back for next season.

    DE- POSITION OF NEED. Leonard Little is the heart and soul of the Rams defense. He's also 33 years old. In a bid to get younger fast, the Rams traded for 31 year old "spring chicken" James Hall, and drafted 23 year old Adam Carriker, whom they promptly shifted to DT. If Carriker is unsuccessful (please no) the move may be cancelled later on, but I'm just speculating. That is highly unlikely though. Look for the Rams to prioritise the DE position in the upcoming draft.

    DT- A youthful exuberance at the DT position has yet to be proven a blessing or a curse. Adam Carriker, from what we know, will start at NT, whilst LaRoi Glover and Claude Wroten will man the UT position. If Wroten is successful, and so is Carriker, look for this to be a position that secured with a veteran in the offseason. Let's not forget Clifton Ryan or Keith Jackson, either, both rrokie who will contribute to the rotation. Glover may not be salvaged when his contract expires, but if, and only if a young gun (or two) steps up, that won't be a huge concern. If Wroten nor any other rookies succeed at UT, and Glover plays as he did last year, this could be a need going into the offseason. The key, however, lies with the performance of Adam Carriker, who will not be replaced as of yet, as there are no better options. Watch out for a potential FA grab here next off-season.

    LB- This may well be a position that should be addressed next offseason, in one form or another. If Pisa proves to be injury prone (again) or Chris Draft and Brandon Chillar can't turn it on, look for a young gun to come in via the draft. I was bummed we passed on Nebraska LB Stewart Bradley in round 3 this year. Either way, Chillar is off contact at the end of the year, and Draft is going on 32 next year, so an injection of youth may be a necessary shot in the arm for this unit.

    CB- Potential depth necessary, but nothing to worry abut here, depending on the performance of Tye Hill (and his avoidance of the sophmore jinx) Fakhir Brown (satisfactory play--similar to last year) and Ron Bartell (Continued improvement). If Fakhir slows down, and none of our other players can come in and start competently, this could be a position of need-- there's a reson why we were reportedly looking at Darelle Revis this offseason.

    S- Corey Chavous is one of the more senior safeties in the league, but his age is yet to catch him up. It will one day, and when it does, the Rams ought to be prepared. Compunding the problem is OJ Atogwe, who has been adept as a starter and shown a playmaking flair, but needs to turn it on more consistently in a contract year. I personally hope he stays. Either way, a safety is deinately a Day one option.

    For me, in 2008, as of this very moment look for the following-

    any combination of a DE, S, LB and OL on day one of the draft.

    To that list i'd like to add a CB and WR as first round BPAs ONLY.

    FA-- A big name UT, DB, LB will suffice, followed by a combination of starting caliber/quality backup players for the other three.


  2. #2
    Drew's Avatar
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    Re: A Quick Look Ahead

    well my theory why they didn`t draft a DE this year and may just not next year and yet drafted 3 to play DT is that once Little is done we gonna have a base 3-4 D and they preparing for that...i think we will see more 3-4`s next season as it is...so i think next years draft will see SS,LB and WR as the priorities.

  3. #3
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    Re: A Quick Look Ahead

    Good post, BBQ.

    Looking at our team on paper now, using player performances form the past, is far different from seeing the needs on the field. Until we are sure how the players perform, as well as how the contract situation goes, we can only speculate.

    I'll add my two cents worth (adjusted for inflation...).

    QB - Bulger will be signing long term, freeing us from concern to find a starting QB right away. However, Ferotte is probably going to want to consider retirement soon, as I doubt he will be willing to sit around instead of working. Expect a search for a good back-up in FA, or if none are available, perhaps Fitz will step up and we will take a devlopmental project in the 2nd day.

    RB - I think we have a lock on this spot, but one never knows. I expect an interest in a good, versatile FB for depth wither in FA or the late rounds of the draft.

    WR - I doubt that we will need a FA pickup in this area for the next two years barring injury. However, if we can obtain a good WR for a song, it might happen. More likely, this will be addressed in the first two rounds of the draft, depending on Bruce and Holt. I still see the 2nd round on this need.

    OL - Pace and Barron are probably good for a while yet, but should Pace be injured this season, I believe we will be looking for a draft pick, since vet OT's are rare and expensive. If Pace stays healthy, a 3rd rounder may be possible if he is the BPA, otherwise a 5th or later. I believe the only other spot on the O-line we will be looking at soon is LG. To me, this is our weakest spot up front. Unless there is a great one available on day 1, this will either be a FA pickup or late round pick.

    DE - Day one, probably in round 1 or two.

    DT - probable FA pickup. May be an early day 2 pick.

    LB - I believe that there will be a FA available, someone who doesn't fit with their current team, but knows he will be a fit for our D. Don't be surprised if it's a good value pickup. Depth will be picked up on day 2, but if a good LB is there on day 1...

    CB - I'm undecided on this position. If things come together for Hill, and Bartell improves, we may only need depth. Late round day 2, or a lucrative trade will work here.

    S - I'd bet we'll go BPA here. If the BPA when we pick at #32 (I am hoping...) is a safety, don't be surprised if we pick him up. Unless there's a disgruntled FA who can do the job, I see this as a draft-only condition.

    As you can see, I don't sway too far from BBQ's predictions. On paper, we have our Offense locked up tight, and it looks like only the D needs to be addressed to the casual observer. However, once you really look at things, you can see how each year, we should look at our weaknesses, compare them to the expected available FA's, study the draft prospects, and make the hard choices that we hope translate into sucess on the field.

  4. #4
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    Re: A Quick Look Ahead

    you guys don't seem to sure about ur LB"S I think it's our strongest d core, and I think Draft will come thru as a premire offseason pick up

  5. #5
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    Re: A Quick Look Ahead

    excellent post. One thing i would point out. Jackson is a free agent after 2008. I really think that we will need to lock him up long term at the end of next year or we are going to be looking at a potentially ugly situation. I dont think it will make sense to experiment with the tag or game of chicken on free agency with him. I mention this in the context of how "set" we actually are at running back without The Big Boy locked up long term.

    ramming speed to all

    general counsel


  6. #6
    Bar-bq's Avatar
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    Re: A Quick Look Ahead

    That's true. Bulger and Jackson must be prioritised at this (and next) offseason.

    Also, I've been looking, and both Troy Polamalu and Terell Suggs come off contract at the ned of this season. Their respective teams would be crazy not to re-sign either of them, but who knows how Team Owners and GM's really think?

    I agree, RFS---Safety is most definately a draft priority, with the exception of (fingers crossed) Polamalu.

  7. #7
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    Re: A Quick Look Ahead

    I think before we worry about next years draft we need to sign bulger or we could be looking at drafting a QB in round 1

  8. #8
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    Re: A Quick Look Ahead

    we have to resign bulger and jackson to expensive long term deals that makes Polamalu even more of a long shot it makes it practically impossible, but he would be a great pick up. I think you guys need to show more faith in the LB unit i think they will be much stronger this year. I think our top need are SS, DE, WR. I think will pick to low to get Kenny Phillips so we should trade up for him.

  9. #9
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    Re: A Quick Look Ahead

    Every post here makes excellent points. My belief is that injuries always upset the best laid plans in the NFL. I further believe that our O-line will be of prime importance. Orlando is getting older each year and insuring that we can pass and run the ball is what makes our team win. I'm not sure Alex Barron will convert easily to left tackle from right tackle which I'm sure is the plan, as he was a LT in college.

    Defense is always our achillies heel. We must shore-up the DE position and I agree we are heading towards the 3-4 alignment based on our drafting. Given that assessment, we must and I repeat must strengthen the LB spot with players adapted for that scheme. Safety will also be a priority as Corey Chavous is getting ahead in years. His leadrship will be essential, but we'll need speed as well. Our safest position is CB. Tye Hill will be in place for years and Jonathan Wade will hopefully emerge as the other speed corner we'll need.

    Having said all that, I think we'll need to prepare down the road for a Jeff Wilkens replacement. He's the cream of the crop in the league right now, but we're used to that level kicker and should plan where our next kicker of that ilk will emerge from.

    Go Rams!

  10. #10
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    Re: A Quick Look Ahead

    I think next years draft should be defense, defense and defense, going with the same BDPA (Best Defensive Player) in the first round. We need to look at solidifying our front seven, and pick up a safety to go alongside OJ, provided he continues to improve.

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