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  1. #1
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    St. Louis Rams 2008 Draft Needs

    Posted by Mike Florio on March 23, 2008, 10:02 p.m.

    Hereís a look at the perceived draft needs of the St. Louis Rams, with heavy input from Matt Miller of

    Left tackle: The Ramsí offensive line was atrocious last season. Many players were lost due to injury, and the guys who managed to stay in one piece nearly got quarterback Marc Bulger shattered into thousands of them. They didnít do any favors for the ground game; the running backs were limited to an average of 3.78 yards per carry.

    The most significant blow came when left tackle Orlando Pace, the No. 1 overall pick in the 1997 draft, was lost for the year after starting only one game. Three seasons removed from his last All-Pro selection, Paceís career is closer to the end than to the beginning. And with quality, long-term NFL left tackles available only at the top of round one of the draft, the Rams should seriously considering using their highest pick since the year in which Pace was drafted to get his replacement.

    Some believe that the Rams like Michigan tackle Jake Long with the No. 2 overall pick, but he might be more suited for the right side at the pro level. Besides, the Rams used their 2005 first-rounder on Alex Barron, who moved to the left side after Paceís injury. But Barron wasnít an ideal fit there, and that might prompt them to take a chance on Long.

    The other possibility would be to trade down (if they can find a partner who wants to trade up), and then draft one of the remaining tackles later in round one. Alternatively, the Rams could wait until round two or three to address their need.

    But their best chance at getting another Orlando Pace would be to look for him one slot after the position in which Pace was selected 11 years ago.

    Defensive end: Though the skill-position players still get all of the attention, the game of football is won and lost at the line of scrimmage. While not nearly as bad as the offensive line, the Ramsí defensive line could use an upgrade, too. They were 21st in the league in sacks last season, and 19th in opponentís yards per rushing attempt, with 4.14. Their best defensive end, Leonard Little, is on the wrong side of 30, and James Hall was released earlier this year. Currently the Rams have only two other players at the position ó Eric Moore and Victor Adeyanju.

    Adam Carriker possibly will move back to the outside, he has shown great promise following his shift to defensive tackle. If the Dolphins donít take Chris Long of Virginia, the Rams could be ready to pounce. Another possibility is Ohio Stateís Vernon Gholston, who could play defensive end or linebacker. Or the Rams could wait until after round one and focus possibly on someone like Quentin Groves (Auburn) or Chris Ellis (Virginia Tech), who can begin as situational pass rushers and then develop, hopefully, into starters.

    Guard: The interior of the Ramsí offensive line needs almost a complete revamping. Jacob Bell has been added via free agency, and Richie Incognito has potential.

    To address this need, the Rams might wait until day two (which now begins with the third round), when there is better value to address the guard position with a versatile player like Mackenzy Bernadeau (Bentley).

    Linebacker: After letting Brandon Chillar leave via free agency, the Rams are extremely thin at the position. Quinton Culberson, a second-year player who was undrafted out of college, currently is listed as the starter on the strong side. Weakside linebacker is also a concern; Pisa Tinoisamoa has promise, but he has had injuries the past two seasons. The other guy in the mix is Chris Draft.

    The Rams could possibly take two linebackers in the draft. At a minimum, theyíll be looking for a starting-caliber player on the strong side.

    Wide Receiver: With Isaac Bruce cut and lingering concerns about Torry Holtís knee, the Rams need to add some depth. The Rams would likely look for a burner or an excellent route-runner like Donnie Avery (Houston) or Earl Bennett (Vanderbilt).

    Cornerback: In the last three drafts, the Rams have selected three different cornerbacks on the first day. To date, however, none of the picks (Ron Bartell, Tye Hill, Jonathon Wade) have proven to be lock-down corners. They have each shown flashes of brilliance, but they have not been able to perform consistently at that high level. Look for the Rams to look for a cornerback who can fight for the nickel position as a rookie.

    Quarterback: After signing a contract extension that included nearly $30 million in guarantees, Marc Bulger battled injuries throughout the year, threw more interceptions than in each of the past three seasons, and completed a career-low 58.5 percent of his passes. Last yearís backup, Gus Frerotte, was cut, and heíll be replaced by an aging veteran with a chronic case of bumpus-on-the-nogginus, otherwise known as Trent Green.

    Look for the Rams to draft a quarterback who can be groomed to succeed Bulger, or replace him in case of injury. Alex Brink (Washington St.) is a smart quarterback with a decent arm, and the Rams would be wise to give him a serious look-see.

  2. #2
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    Re: St. Louis Rams 2008 Draft Needs

    Wow... we need according to this, 8 starters... and thats not looking at how much depth we need at other positions... I'd say we need to start looking at making moves beofre the draft, or it will be a long 08 season.

  3. #3
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    Re: St. Louis Rams 2008 Draft Needs

    Moving Carriker to the outside is a mistake. I would rather put Travis Minor on the outside than Carriker right now. He's proven to be a good DT, keep him there. Don't ruin his stats and career by moving out. If you really want to keep it safe, draft a DE in the first round. Gholston if Long isnt available.

    We need the WR and Avery is a good choice. He's a fast guy, exactly what Saunders wants. Bennett is still an option...oh btw, thats Earl Bennett.

    As for Linebacker, I say we risk it with what we have. Next year the LB pool in the draft if much larger, more to choose from. We can get our LB next season. But this year, we can give Draft and Culberson a shot, they havent proven to us that they are what we're looking for, but neither has the LB we may draft. It's worth the risk.

  4. #4
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    Re: St. Louis Rams 2008 Draft Needs

    Well, like I've been saying we are this years AND next years draft combined with last years before we get competitive.

  5. #5
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    Re: St. Louis Rams 2008 Draft Needs

    Quote Originally Posted by txramsfan View Post
    Well, like I've been saying we are this years AND next years draft combined with last years before we get competitive.
    In general, I believe you, and agree. My main hope lies that since 2002, there has been a last place(in a division) team that has gone to win their division. Well, can you think of a weaker division and a team more apt to rebound than us?

    This doesn't mean we'd do much after we get to playoffs, but history is 1/8th on our side.

    I say we go after the DE, OT and WR needs first and see who is there for the rest of the time. Next year we address the LB, CB, S, and DE again.

  6. #6
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    Re: St. Louis Rams 2008 Draft Needs

    That was a nice was spot on. The fact that we need so much help along the lines ought to tell everyone just exactly how far away we are from competing at this point in time. Yeah, we might get lucky and have a great season but our long term success is going to depend a ton on this draft and the next one.

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