Wednesday, April 21, 2010
St Louis: Still Going Quarterback
So did dealing Carriker make room for Ndamukong Suh as the first overall pick in the NFL Draft? Perhaps it did. The Rams were 27th against the run last season from a yardage perspective. However, stats also show that they weren't as bad against the run as most would think. Profootballfocus.com has them as the 14th best rush defense last season. The secondary and pass rush seemed to be the biggest problem in St. Louis.
However, Suh is a phenomenal pass rusher as well, and warrants the first pick overall for virtually any team. Don't forget that a successful pass rush helps out the secondary significantly. However, will one defensive tackle solve all of their defensive problems? Most likely not.
The debate since the end of the college football season has been Suh vs. Sam Bradford or Jimmy Clausen. Until the middle of February, most everyone had Suh as the first overall pick, being the best pick available.
The million dollar question is "Why wouldn't St. Louis draft a quarterback?". Many teams in St. Louis' position on draft day generally don't have the offensive situation that the Rams are 'blessed' with. You may ask me why I think they are 'blessed' despite being one of the most ineffective offenses in 2009, and I'm here to tell you why.
First off, not many teams drafting number one overall have a franchise running back like St. Louis has with Steven Jackson. Jackson is coming off of his 5th consecutive 1,000 yard season. Two of the last four seasons that Jackson has played 15 or 16 games, he's rushed for over 1,400 yards. He still eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark despite playing in only 12 games in 2007 and 2009. He's a workhorse running back who can carry the load.
The next thing to look at is the offensive line. While young, they have two potential bookend tackles. Jason Smith was drafted #2 overall in the 2009 to take over at the left tackle spot for Alex Barron who has disappointed in pass protection, and even worse with penalties. However, Barron is a very stout run blocker and could switch to the right side, while giving the left tackle spot to Smith, who looks to be a dominate pass blocker at the next level. The Rams didn't get to see much of Smith as he went down with an injury in the middle of the season.
Don't forget last off-season's free agent acquisition of reliable veteran Jason Brown, and the Rams have a respectable offensive line. The guards are what will hold the Rams down, but the Rams should look to find guard help in the second or third round of the 2010 NFL Draft.
The last aspect to look at are the wide receivers. Donnie Avery will be in his third season after having a solid year in 2009. Last season, rookie Brandon Gibson also made a small splash as a number two wide out after Laurent Robinson went down. Gibson had just five drops after being thrown at 64 times. The problem was the quarterback last season for the Rams. The last big piece of the wide receiver corps is Laurent Robinson who showed promise in his first few games after grabbing 13 passes. Robinson could be a very promising wide receiver. He a very good size and speed combo as well as hands of glue.
When you look at it, the Rams are in a very good position to draft a quarterback at number one. Many teams that are drafting with the first pick don't have a franchise running back, or a potential franchise left tackle. Looking at the Rams options of Jimmy Clausen and Sam Bradford, it's hard to tell which one they'll choose, however, it's looking like Bradford will be the guy.
Don't rule out Suh completely at number one overall, but with quarterback being the most important position on the football field, and given the Rams somewhat promising offense, they're in a good position to grab their franchise quarterback.