As another season comes to an agonizingly slow close for the St. Louis Rams and their fans, I will look into the my crystal ball to see how they will be going to get their future back into place.
To start, we need to know the positions of strength, so we can rule out those prospects.
We also need to know what makes the most sense going forward.
To me—and I am no expert nor will I claim to be—they need a franchise player to come in.
They have a more-than-dominant running back. Steven Jackson is a special player with amazing talent, but he needs help, and, more importantly, incentive to stay.
The Rams have looked better along the offensive line this year, only allowing 28 sacks, but more importantly helping get Jackson to over 1200 yards through 12 games.
Conversely, the defense has not played well against the run and they will need to address the situation in the off season.
There are some nice names that could be plugged into the defensive line and make an impact, more so than there is at the top of the draft.
That, and I really don't think the Rams are in a position where drafting another interior lineman will put them over the top.
So where do they go with their first pick?
I would love to see them take a quarterback, and this is a relatively strong draft at the position.
Jimmy Clausen is the most NFL-ready QB, and would be a welcomed addition to the Rams' team.
Jake Locker is the most intriguing of the prospects, as he possesses the most overall talent. But he has not shown enough, at least to me, to warrant a top-three selection.
Sam Bradford has been on many teams' radar for a long time, but there are still questions about his shoulder.
If the Rams are not completely infatuated with Clausen or Locker, they could look to trade the pick to a team that is and draft Bradford in the 6-10 range.
If a QB is not the pick, which I really think it should be, they would have a couple of incredible talents to choose from.
Tennessee defensive back Eric Berry is the best prospect in the draft. He will be a game changer from the time he comes into the league.
Ndamukong Suh has been the most dominant college defensive player this year, and would fit in nicely on the Rams' defensive front seven.
Beyond those five players, I do not think there is anyone that would address any immediate needs for the Rams.
But that is just the first round of the NFL draft. Where could they find help in free agency and round two of the draft?
A couple of names really stand out:
Johnny Jolly and Ryan Pickett. Both have been outstanding this season, and would thrive in a Steve Spagnuolo coached team.
One or the other would look great in a Rams uniform next year, and would immediately address the inability to stop the running game.
Can they get someone like Jolly or Pickett to come to St. Louis though?
If not, look for the Rams to draft a defensive lineman in one of the first three rounds of the NFL draft.
As I said, Suh would be great, but only if they are not sold on Clausen or, to a lesser extent, Locker.
Players like Marvin Austin, Arthur Jones, Sergio Kindle and Corey Wootton could all be available early in the second round.
The Rams are not as far away as their record indicates, and I really think the addition of a franchise quarterback could not just put them back on the path to respectability, but get them back in the playoff picture in a couple of years.
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