5 Irreplaceable St. Louis Rams Players for the 2013 NFL Season

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5 Irreplaceable St. Louis Rams Players for the 2013 NFL Season

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Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

With just 15 wins during a five-year stretch heading into last season, it seemed reasonable to say that just about everyone on the St. Louis Rams roster was replaceable. Much has changed in the past 12 months with the team now considered an up and coming squad in the ultra-competitive NFC West.

The Rams had the league’s youngest roster last season, and that figures to be true once again in 2013. This team is clearly building the right way with youth that can develop and become consistent contributors on the field for years to come.

Many would have deemed running back Steven Jackson irreplaceable just a short time ago, but this season the Rams will take on the daunting task of replacing him in their lineup. Rest assured that none of the running back by committee members will be on this irreplaceable list, but with a breakout season in 2013 much could change by this time next year.

St. Louis heisted numerous first round draft picks from the Washington Redskins in the Robert Griffin III deal prior to the 2012 NFL Draft, and there could be one or two of those picks on this list of irreplaceables.

For a team ripe with youth there really is no shortage of options when it comes to players who could be considered irreplaceable. The Rams have to hope that every player on this list can stick with the organization for the entirety of their careers and become Pro Bowl level players for their once depleted roster.

Although this team is still in the infancy stages of its rebuild, these five guys have to be considered pillars for the club moving forward. Here are the five most irreplaceable members of the St. Louis Rams.

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5. Tavon Austin

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Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

He may not have a played a down yet for the Rams, but Tavon Austinfigures to be an absolute nightmare for the 31 other NFL teams once he does. There’s a reason the Rams moved all the way up into the top-10 of this past April’s NFL Draft to snag him, and Jeff Fisher seems intent on using him in every possible way in the upcoming season. If that doesn’t define irreplaceable, I’m not sure what does.

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4. Robert Quinn

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Last season was a bit of a coming out party for Robert Quinn in his second-year, and the Rams have to hope that his first double-digit sack season won’t be his last. That shouldn’t be a concern given the explosion at the snap this guy has. Quinn is in the opponent’s backfield before they even have a chance to react, and he is quickly becoming a thorn in the sides of offensive tackles around the league.

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3. Sam Bradford

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Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

He has received much criticism during his three years since being the No. 1 overall pick, but Sam Bradford is irreplaceable for the Rams. He hasn’t received much help during his tenure in St. Louis with drops, injuries, and inconsistencies plaguing his targets. The oldest wide receiver on the roster now is just 25 years of age, so Bradford figures to have plenty of time to develop a rapport with his guys. Add in the fact that a quarterback’s best friend is a good tight end (cue: Jared Cook) and things are looking up for the still young signal caller.

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2. Chris Long

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Now I know what you’re thinking – another defensive end on this list? But trust me; these guys rushing the passer for the Rams deserve two representatives on the irreplaceable list. Chris Long is especially irreplaceable given his role with the club of knowing the pain of losing for his first few seasons and now finally emerging from the doldrums. Of course, his 24.5 sacks over the past two seasons don’t hurt either, but he is a key cog on this defense. Look for Long’s emotion to continue to lead these Rams to good things long into the future.

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1. James Laurinaitis

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

If you were to build a prototypical middle linebacker and set it loose on a football field, chances are it would like quite similar to one James Laurinaitis. The Rams clearly hit a home run with this kid in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft as all he has done is start every single game and accumulate in excess of 100 tackles each and every season. Oh, and did I mention somehow he has been inexplicably snubbed of the Pro Bowl all four seasons!? It’s really quite ridiculous how underappreciated Laurinaitis is league-wide, but he certainly doesn’t go overlooked in St. Louis. He is the most irreplaceable player this team has as the heart and soul of a really solid young defense.


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