It’s difficult to dispute the thought that the St. Louis Rams have been big winners thus far through free agency. From their blockbuster deal of the second pick in the upcoming NFL Draft to the three high-profile signings that the club has made, things are definitely looking up.
Even though the team has made plenty of positive transactions this offseason, their decision to release five 2011 starters prior to free agency left five distinct holes in the roster. The signing of Cortland Finnegan filled the vacancy left by Ron Bartell, inking Scott Wells supplanted Jason Brown at center, and Kendall Langford replaces Fred Robbins at defensive tackle. Also cut was defensive end James Hall, but his spot is expected to be filled by 2011 rookie Robert Quinn in the coming year.
That leaves just one slot unfilled which is the other defensive tackle position vacated by Justin Bannan. The team made a strong push for former Tennessee Titans lineman Jason Jones, but the Seattle Seahawks swooped in to sign him to a one-year deal. There is also a need at wide receiver now that Brandon Lloyd has signed with the New England Patriots, but the team missed out on Mario Manningham who they coveted but wound up with the San Francisco 49ers.
With so many picks over the next three years in those respective drafts, the Rams have the ammunition needed to make some big trades and position themselves for more blue-chip players in this year’s draft. While Justin Blackmon is without a doubt the top name on the wish-list at this point, don’t be surprised if the team targets some names near the bottom of round one for their defensive tackle vacancy like Fletcher Cox, Michael Brockers, or even Devon Still.