Year after year, the most successful teams in the NFL Draft select players in terms of talent over a specific team need. This idea served the St. Louis Rams well in 2012 with an ultra-productive draft class and plenty of potential on the horizon now heading into next season. For the team looking ahead to the 2013 draft, that thought may again be prevalent as the club can’t afford to get too hung up on team needs when making their selections in April’s draft. That can only lead to mistakes in over-drafting a player and problems for the franchise further down the line.
The Rams have glaring needs at the safety position and pretty much all along the offensive line this offseason. While the odds of finding at least one offensive lineman that the team can plug in as an immediate starter are relatively high, the same can’t necessarily be said for a safety class that is somewhat sparse. This is where the idea of drafting the best available player becomes paramount.
In looking back at the 2012 draft, the Rams still managed to fill needs on their roster, but in a strategic way rather than by chasing a particular position. Patience is the key and the Rams showed plenty of it early trading back after already trading back once. The team turned one pick into six essentially in last year’s draft and that is the perfect model to follow again this year. If there is no overwhelming value or potential that shows itself, trading down is always a fashionable option.
General manager Les Snead believes in using the draft as a tool to compile talent and then having free agency as a mechanism to fill in any remaining holes on the roster. Look for him and head coach Jeff Fisher to take that best player available mentality in the draft and then do some patchwork via free agency when all is said and done.
There aren’t going to be many flashy signings by the Rams and they aren’t likely to make any blockbuster trades, but that supposed boredom makes this team dangerous. Perhaps the most boring franchise in the league for a number of years was the New England Patriots who simply traded down year after year, stockpiling draft picks and continually winning 11 or 12 games per season. That model of consistency appears to be taking shape in St. Louis, and that is more exciting than boring from my perspective.