2013 St. Louis Rams Draft team needs
By Tyler Lurkins
Special attention is being paid to the St. Louis Rams this year. They have two first round picks and finished strong in 2012. With so many mockers choosing to toss O lineman and wide outs upon the Rams, it’s time to reflect on Ram philosophy, scheme, and needs.
Pay close attention to the philosophy. The Rams plan to draft smart and develop. Jeff Fisher has emphasized he will bring a “Hall of Fame” staff to St. Louis. A staff that will work with what they have and coach to the player’s talent. After Michael Brockers, the Rams nabbed Brian Quick.
Remember Brian Quick? Almost every draftnik had Quick a sure fire, first round, talent. Everyone raved about his natural talent, his athletic ability, and all the tangibles he possessed to be a future star. Quick has had one year folks. Fisher didn’t bench Quick because he was horrible. Quick rode the pine because the staff wanted to make absolutely sure he understood every aspect of the game. Quick, much like Kenny Britt in Tennessee, is a work in progress. The Rams will not draft a receiver in the first round. In addition, Chris Givens flashed glimpses of solidity and will be relied upon even more in 2013.
Rodger Saffold drew more trash talk than any lineman in the league. From being a pro bowl alternate his first year, Saffold, and every other player, struggled under Josh McDaniel’s complicated scheme. With the exception of injury setbacks, Saffold has once again become a very solid left tackle.
The Rams ranked 16th in run blocking efficiency. This SCHEME relies on running the ball to set up the pass. Notice the word scheme. A run first team does not rely on a high priced first round pick. Fun fact: A Jeff Fisher coached team has never drafted an offensive lineman in the first round. Fun fact #2: Paul Boudreau, widely known as the top O line coach in the NFL, has never coached a first round lineman that wasn’t on the team prior to Boudreau’s arrival. This team prefers last year’s selection, Rokevius Watkins, to step up and be the guard of the future.
Ranking 22nd in pass efficiency is a black eye for this line. However, constant injuries to Danny Amendola and the lack of a talented tight end, left Bradford hung to dry. Bradford’s QB rating with Amendola: 100.8. Bradford’s QB rating without Amendola: 77. With his main receiver missing for seven games, Bradford struggled to run through his progressions quickly, causing more throwing time, creating a blemish for the offensive line. The line struggled as many players were out of their natural positions. Injuries prevented any cohesion. The line is not the biggest issue mockers, and it all falls in to scheme and philosophy.
What do the Ram’s need?
- Free Safety-The aggressive nature of this defense screams for a talented free safety. The team publicly announced their eagerness for another option other than Craig Dahl.
- Tight End-Every mocker reasons their selections as a “weapon for Sam Bradford.” Anyone thought of a tight end? Kendricks has his moments. Out of the four tight ends on this roster, the stat line reads: 55 catches for 654 yards and 5 touchdowns. Fourteen teams in the league had ONE tight ends with more catches. Thirteen teams had ONE tight end with more yards. Sixteen teams had ONE tight end with at least 5 touchdowns.
- Right Tackle-The weakest link in the line is not left guard. It is at right tackle where many team cast-offs, such as Barry Richardson, platooned at the position. Note, a team with several holes does not select a right tackle in the first round.
- Middle Linebacker/Strongside Linebacker-Laurinaitis is a highly skilled, versatile LB. He has struggled mightily in the cover 2. The Rams can draft a middle backer and send Laurinaitis to the strong side to thump and rush the passer, or they will allow him to retain his position and find an upgrade over SLB, Rocky McIntosh.
- Wide Receiver-It’s unlikely Danny Amendola comes cheap. If he departs for green pastures, the Rams will need a crafty pass catcher in the slot. Note, teams with needs typically do not draft a slot receiver in the first.
- DEPTH, Depth, and depth-This roster contains many young, developing athletes. However little depth is at corner, defensive end, defensive tackle, center, tight end, safety, and if Stephen Jackson leaves, running back.
My current mock looks something like this:
Kenny Vaccaro, FS, Texas
Zach Ertz, TE Stanford
Larry Warford, G, Kentucky-I’ll explain this. Warford is a perfect guard in this scheme. If Watkins pans out, Harvey Dahl and his torn bicep, 31 years of age, and 4 million dollar contract are gone.
Oday Aboushi, T, Virginia
Kiko Alonso, ILB, Oregon
Trey Millard, FB, Oklahoma
Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington St.
Quinton Dial, DT, Alabama