Every year the NFL Draft produces some extreme values. There are players who fall farther than you could have imagined, average college players who blossom into stars at the next level, undrafted nobodies who storm out of nowhere, or guys that can just do a little bit of everything. Barrett Jones falls into that final category, and he could prove to be quite a steal for the St. Louis Rams as a fourth round selection. It’s hard to believe he won’t find himself as a starter at one of the five positions on the offensive line when training camp breaks in late August.
Here is a look at the current depth chart for the Rams to get a feel for just where Jones could fit into the mix.
LT — Jake Long – Ty Nsekhe – Braden Brown
LG — Rokevious Watkins – Shelley Smith – Kevin Saia
C — Scott Wells – Tim Barnes
RG — Harvey Dahl – Chris Williams – Brandon Washington
RT — Rodger Saffold – Joe Barksdale
Obviously Jones was left off of this particular depth chart on purpose, but just which spot looks like the best fit for him in St. Louis? Clearly the two tackle spots are off limits with Long the prized free agent signing and Saffold the solid starter on either side. The center position is also pretty well taken care of as long as Wells can stay healthy in 2013 unlike his 2012 campaign.
That leaves the two guard spots up for grabs where Smith manned the left side in Watkins’ absence last year after a season-ending injury in week one and Dahl has been steady on the right. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Jones outplay all of those players given his experience going up against guys in the SEC who are literally minor league NFL players.
Where my attention would focus is on Dahl who was signed under the watch of former GM Billy Devaney and has a massive cap number in each of the next two seasons. At 32 years of age when camp begins, Dahl probably doesn’t fit into the long-term plans of the organization either. His $4 million cap hit in 2013 and $3.5 million in 2014 may make him a roster cut candidate if Jones can prove himself sooner rather than later.
Even if Jones isn’t rewarded with a starting gig in week one, it would be a shock if he doesn’t see a significant amount of the field this season. Injuries are an unfortunate part of the game, and last season they hit the Rams hard in the trenches. Thankfully this year they will have a versatile player capable of filling any hole in a pinch should the need arise again. Jones will prove to be a significant addition to the Rams roster in the 2013.