NFC West Draft Needs: St. Louis Rams


The St. Louis Rams have been in rebuilding mode for some time now and are still trying to work their way out. A large influx of young talent is needed for a team that has picked first or second in the past three drafts. Bill Devaney will continue to reconstruct the roster in his second go-round with the draft as the team's general manager.

As it stands now, St. Louis will make 10 selections during the draft and they need to hit on multiple players. They will choose in every round and hold additional picks in the fifth and seventh rounds. The Rams currently hold selections No. 1, 33, 65, 99, 132, 163, 170, 208, 226 and 254.

As is the case with most franchises in the cellar, quarterback is the top need. Marc Bulger was finally released, leaving A.J. Feeley, Keith Null and Mike Reilly as the only signal callers left on the roster. It's a matter of when, not if the Rams will select a quarterback. The team has met with all the top prospects in Sam Bradford of Oklahoma, Jimmy Clausen of Notre Dame and Colt McCoy of Texas. If they keep the No. 1 pick, St. Louis will more than likely select Bradford. However, if they find a trading partner and get out of the top slot, they could opt for Clausen later in the first or grab McCoy with the top pick in the second round.

No matter which quarterback they choose, they'll need to get him weapons. The team's current roster is a far cry from "the Greatest Show on Turf." Donnie Avery was the team's top target at wide receiver and rookie Brandon Gibson had a promising first year. Laurent Robinson was also starting to emerge before he went down with injury in the third game of the season. A true No. 1 receiving threat is desperately needed at the position. The team has hosted Dez Bryant of Oklahoma State and Damian Williams of USC on visits. At tight end, Randy McMichael was disappointing and the team chose not to re-sign him in the offseason. Daniel Fells has a lot of potential, but a reliable target at the position is still needed. They've met with Oregon's Ed Dickson and Clay Harbor of Missouri State

The defensive side of the ball is littered with holes. Starting up front, the team could use a real difference maker at defensive tackle. Adam Carriker spent the season on injured reserve and the unit was depleted. Getting a dominant force along the interior would do wonders for the rest of the defense. As expected, the Rams hosted Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh and Oklahoma's Gerald McCoy on visits, but also met with Linval Joseph of East Carolina. They could also use help on the outside. At defensive end, Chris Long is starting to come around, but James Hall, who was re-signed to a three-year deal in the offseason, is 33 years old. St. Louis needs a young pass rusher that can pressure the quarterback. Some candidates the team has met with include Florida's Jermaine Cunningham, TCU's Jerry Hughes, Northwestern's Corey Wootton, and Clifton Geathers of South Carolina.

James Laurinaitis was a bright spot at linebacker and led the team in tackles as a rookie. The two primary starters outside of him, David Vobora and Paris Lenon, were average at best. The team opted not to re-sign Lenon and agreed to terms with Na'il Diggs. Still, improvements can definitely be made.

The secondary actually has some nice pieces, but more depth could be used. Ron Bartell was hampered by injury all season but he's a good player. The question remains opposite him, where Justin King, Jonathan Wade and Quincy Butler all took turns starting. None played particularly well, although it's a bit unfair to judge King too quickly considering this was essentially his rookie season, as he missed all of last year with injury. Bradley Fletcher, a third-round selection last April, emerged as the starter before going down with knee injury. Fletcher and King are both very young and could develop into quality players, but grabbing some more depth would be a safer bet. The team has met with Virgina's Chris Cook, Alabama's Kareem Jackson, Vanderbilt's Myron Lewis, Devin McCourty of Rutgers and Kyle Wilson of Boise State.




UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: QB Kyle Boller (wasn't re-signed), DE James Hall (re-signed for three-years at $8.25M), S Clinton Hart (wasn't re-signed), LB Paris Lenon (wasn't re-signed), DE Leonard Little (wasn't re-signed), LS Chris Massey (re-signed for four-years at $4.4M), TE Randy McMichael (wasn't re-signed)

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: T Alex Barron (received second-round tender at $ $2.73M), DT Clifton Ryan (received second-round tender at $1.684M), DE Victor Adeyanju (received original-round tender at $1.176M and signed) S Oshiomogho Atogwe (received right of first refusal tender at $1.226M), S Craig Dahl (received right of first refusal tender at $1.101M, re-signed for three-years at $3.6M), RB Samkon Gado (wasn't tendered), WR Ruvell Martin (wasn't tendered), G Mark Setterstrom (wasn't tendered, re-signed for one-year at $597,500), LS Ryan Neill (wasn't tendered), CB Jonathan Wade (wasn't tendered), TE Daniel Fells (wasn't tendered, re-signed for one-year at $770,000)

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: DE C.J. Ah You (tendered at $395,00), CB Quincy Butler (tendered at $470,000 and signed), RB Kenneth Darby (tendered at $470,000 and signed), LB Larry Grant (tendered at $470,000), WR Jordan Kent (tendered at $470,000 and signed), T Ryan McKee (tendered at $395,000), S David Roach (tendered (tendered at $395,000), LB David Vobora (tendered at $470,000 and signed)

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED: DE James Hall, LS Chris Massey, DE Victor Adeyanju, S Crag Dahl, G Mark Setterstrom, TE Daniel Fells, CB Quincy Butler, RB Kenneth Darby, WR Jordan Kent, LB David Vobora

PLAYERS ACQUIRED: LB Na'il Diggs, CB Kevin Dockery (signed for one-year at $630,000), QB A.J. Feeley (signed for two-years at $6M), C Hank Fraley (signed for three-years at $3.055M), TE Darcy Johnson (signed for one-year at $470,000), DT Fred Robbins (signed for three-years at $11.25M)

PLAYERS LOST: DT LaJuan Ramsey, DT Claude Wroten, TE Derek Fine, QB Kyle Boller, S Clinton Hart, LB Paris Lenon (signed with Arizona), DE Leonard Little, TE Randy McMichael, RB Samkon Gado, WR Ruvell Martin (signed with Seattle), LS Ryan Neill, CB Jonathan Wade (signed with Detroit), QB Marc Bulger


QUARTERBACK -- The franchise has been selecting in the top two picks the past three Aprils, but still don't have a franchise quarterback. Marc Bulger was released leaving Keith Null, Mike Reilly and A.J. Feeley, none of whom are legitimate starters. It's time for the Rams to draft their future passer.

WIDE RECEIVER -- St. Louis will draft a quarterback at some point and when they do, he's going to need weapons. No one in this group is the game-breaking threat the team used to have in Torry Holt. A young playmaker is a desperate need.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE -- The Rams need a disruptive interior presence to make the rest of the defense function better. Injuries forced the team to go very young at the position in 2009.

TIGHT END -- Randy McMichael was a disappointment and Daniel Fells hasn't displayed enough consistency to warrant a starting nod. The team could use a pass catching tight end to provide their young quarterback with a safety valve.

DEFENSIVE END -- James Hall was re-signed in the offseason, but he's 33 years old and hasn't recorded more than 6.5 sacks in five seasons. Chris Long is starting to come on, but the team could use a young edge rusher opposite him.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKER -- David Vobora and Paris Lenon were the starters and both were average at best. Lenon was allowed to walk in free agency and Vobora was an exclusive rights free agent that will be back for at least one more year. An upgrade is needed.

CORNERBACK -- Ron Bartell is a solid starter but the situation opposite him is still a problem. Justin King and Bradley Fletcher may develop into solid players, but adding some quality depth couldn't hurt.