The 2013 NFL Draft could signal the dawning of a new day for a St. Louis Rams franchise that has been down on its luck for the better part of the past decade. This past season saw the club finish with its best record in that same time period with plenty of young talent leading the way. Instead of focusing in on needs and filling gaping holes in their roster this time around, the Rams may opt to draft some players that they want rather than strictly players that they need.
General Manager Les Snead was quite successful during his first offseason with the team and he has some sound reasoning coming into his encore effort as well. The GM said: “Sometimes when you ‘need’ something, you become desperate. When you’re desperate, you can make bad decisions.”
There in lies the problem that plenty of rebuilding franchises fail to understand. Just because a team has a glaring deficiency doesn’t mean it must be address right away or with reckless abandon. Last year the team had plenty of holes to fill so it was much easier to add players and plug them in anywhere because there weren’t many strengths on the roster. Now that the rebuild has a year under its belt, there won’t be as much roster turnover and there are fewer pressing areas of need for the team.
One area where the want and need category could overlap however is at the safety position where the Rams are quite thin. Snead is happy that the draft doesn’t have the same problem as he said: “It seems like every year, the quote is: ‘It’s not a deep draft.’ I take the opposite approach. I’ve never seen a thin draft. This is your chance to go improve your football team. You take the glass half full. This year, you could find a larger group of safeties come in and be starters (out of the draft). So it’s got ebbs and flows.”
Along with the need at safety, the Rams certainly have some concerns at wide receiver and tight end, all along the offensive line, and outside linebacker. Snead talked about his mentality when it comes to addressing those areas saying: “You’re almost like, ‘If we really want that (position filled), we’re gonna have to either get him in free agency or it’s gonna run dry after the second round (of the draft).’”
Snead has already shown that he is more than capable of finding starters beyond the glamor rounds of the draft including wide receiver Chris Givens last year who was a 4th round selection. Also kicker Greg Zuerlein and punter Johnny Hekker were tremendous additions to the team and came in the 6th round and undrafted respectively.
There’s no doubt the Rams are taking the proper mentality into this year’s draft. There will be no reaching, no desperation, and that will lead to more sound decision making in the end. The strategy of drafting for want over need certainly paid off in 2012 so let’s hope the results continue in 2013.