Offensive line is obviously priority number one for the St. Louis Rams as they head into this offseason. Sam Bradford has been subjected to far too much punishment during his first three years in the league and if the team wants him to develop into a franchise quarterback, they must begin insulating him with better talent up front. After the games in week 16, the Rams were officially eliminated from playoff contention so this week’s suggestion box is filled with requests for a top-tier offensive tackle in April’s NFL Draft.
As for the options that the Rams may have, well they will likely be looking at a selection midway through the first round as far as their own pick is concerned, but they will have extra ammunition to move up if they so desire. From the Robert Griffin III trade prior to the 2012 draft, the Rams have an additional first round pick that will depend on where the Washington Redskins ultimately wind up in the postseason (if they get there). That will give the team plenty of flexibility to add multiple bodies to their offensive line or possibly package some picks together and move up the draft order.
The upper crust of the draft this spring in terms of offensive linemen will consist of Luke Joeckel (tackle from Texas A&M), Chance Warmack (guard from Alabama), Jake Matthews (tackle from Texas A&M), and Taylor Lewan (tackle from Michigan). Those players will all be expected to go within the top 20 picks of this spring’s draft. For the Rams, if they covet one of those players in particular they can certainly attempt to move up and snag whomever that may be, but perhaps the best strategy would be to wait and let the draft come to them.
If General Manager Les Snead and company have shown anything during their first year running the show in St. Louis it is that patience is indeed a virtue. The Rams traded down twice last year and don’t be surprised if they employ that New England Patriots’ style of draft pick hoarding again this time around.
It’s too early at this point to nail down exactly which players the Rams’ scouting department may have focused in on during the collegiate season, but my money is on at least one offensive lineman. With the amount of draft ammo that the Rams have, there is no reason that they can’t get at least one immediate contributor to add to their line for the 2013 campaign.
Follow Anthony Blake on Twitter @AnthonyMBlake or on Facebook at Anthony Mizarkus Blake