Arguably the biggest difference between the St. Louis Rams of years past from the version that hit the field in 2012 (aside from their coach) was their rookie class. Several players in their first years contributed in a major way to the team’s success a year ago as would be expected from the NFL’s youngest roster. The man pulling the strings to orchestrate that phenomenal draft class was General Manager Les Snead. How can he duplicate that type of performance this April?
First things first, the Rams (thankfully) don’t have as many holes this time around as they did 12 months ago. As Snead said in an interview just a month or so ago, this year will be more about ‘wants’ and less about ‘needs’. That signals a real change in philosophy for the team heading into the upcoming draft and really has fans wondering just what the Rams may decide to do.
As for positions that have glaring deficiencies, safety headlines most lists for the Rams as no starters return at the position from a year ago. The same can be said for the wide receiver position though as well as running back. While the youth at the latter two positions leads one to believe that the team is much more content with those situations, what if they really aren’t?
One player that keeps coming up when pondering the possibilities for the Rams is Eddie Lacy, running back from Alabama. He certainly looks the part at 5’11” 231lbs. and many liken him to now former Rams ball carrier Steven Jackson in that regard. His build is ideal as a workhorse back and his patient running style as well as his fondness for contact make him a S-Jax clone. What if the Rams added Lacy given Snead’s ‘wants’ over ‘needs’ comments and put him in the backfield with their other youngsters to make a trio of dynamic backs?
Given the upgrades that the Rams have made already with tight end Jared Cook and left tackle Jake Long in free agency, it’s safe to say the offense is already much more dynamic on paper than it was last year. Having another back in the stable would only add to that increase in fear that opposing defenses will feel in the coming season.
What drafting Lacy would also do is it would allow the Rams to trade down in the first round and perhaps acquire an additional second round pick. In a draft this deep, Snead and company would love to have as many picks as possible in the second, third, and even fourth rounds. That is where this club will really find some hidden gems as demonstrated last year with Janoris Jenkins and Chris Givens.
While it’s easy to see that the Rams are much better off now than they were a year ago at this time, the strategy may be very similar in the upcoming draft. It would behoove the Rams to stockpile picks in the mid to later rounds and really hoard some talent to develop during the offseason. There is no reason to think the 2013 draft class can’t be just as good, if not better, than the 2012 version.