2013 NFL Offseason: St. Louis Rams
Draft Grades, Season Previews, Team Needs, Free Agents
St. Louis Rams (Last Year: 7-8-1)
2013 NFL Draft Grade: A-
Please note that the overall grade is not an average of all the individual grades. Other things are taken into account like team needs and goals.
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: The Rams are stuck with Sam Bradford for at least one more year, so they need to continue to bolster their offensive line to make sure their brittle quarterback is protected as best as possible. Bradford also needs help at receiver and running back. On the defensive side of the ball, St. Louis must find upgrades to its back seven.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: St. Louis pretty much accomplished all of its goals without reaching often, so this has to be considered a successful draft for them.
It started early when the Rams made a big splash to move up to No. 8 for Tavon Austin. There was no way Austin was making it to No. 16 - the Jets were reportedly set to take him at No. 9 - so St. Louis did a nice job of landing the top play-maker in the class. The front office then came back and recouped its traded selections when it moved down from 22 to 30, all while managing to land its intended target, Alec Ogletree. The Georgia linebacker has off-the-field issues, but the Rams have a strong coaching staff that has worked well with these types of players before. If Janoris Jenkins can thrive in St. Louis, so can Ogletree.
I really liked some of the Rams' other choices, most notably Barrett Jones. The versatile Alabama lineman was considered a first-round possibility once upon a time, but his medical sunk his draft stock. He'll eventually be healthy though, so St. Louis was lucky to land him at No. 113. Stedman Bailey, meanwhile, chosen at No. 92, should work well with Austin, considering that the two starred together at West Virginia. It's all up to Sam Bradford now.
St. Louis needed two more upgrades on its defense, both at the safety position. It was able to obtain only one safety, T.J. McDonald, who was chosen a bit too high for my liking because he can't cover. I was also disappointed that the Rams didn't spend an earlier selection on a running back, though Zac Stacy did provide some value at No. 160.
All in all, I really liked what the Rams did on Draft Day. They greatly improved their roster, giving themselves a chance to stay competitive in the NFC West.
2013 NFL Draft Individual Grades:
8. Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia: B Grade
I'm usually not a fan of teams moving up for players because if they end up drafting a bust, their depth is completely destroyed. However, the Rams had the resources to do something like this, and they really needed to find a weapon for Sam Bradford. Tavon Austin is the only player in this draft who has plenty of experience and can go the distance on any play. He'll help Bradford, but hopefully he can stay on the field, unlike Danny Amendola.
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30. Alec Ogletree, OLB, Georgia: A Grade
This is awesome work by the Rams. They would have considered Alec Ogletree at No. 16 if they couldn't move up (for Tavon Austin) or down to pick up some selections. St. Louis gambled and still got its man. The reason Ogletree fell is because of character concerns, but the Rams have shown that they don't care about that. Ogletree is extremely talented and will be a huge asset on the defense if he can stay out of trouble.
71. T.J. McDonald, S, USC: C Grade
The Rams are desperate at safety - they need two starters at the position - but there were better players available. T.J. McDonald probably should have been a fourth-rounder at best because he can't cover very well.
92. Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia: B+ Grade
The Rams already drafted Tavon Austin, but they needed a second wideout, given that they had only three on the roster entering this weekend (Chris Givens, Brian Quick, Austin Pettis). Stedman Bailey, who could have gone a bit earlier than this, is a solid prospect who should be able to push the disappointing Quick for a starting job across from Givens.
113. Barrett Jones, C/G, Alabama: A+ Grade
This is one of my favorite picks thus far. Barrett Jones would have gone much higher than this if he didn't have injury concerns. He'll eventually be healthy though, so this will be viewed as a steal. The Rams were desperate for offensive line help, and Jones can play pretty much every position up front, save for left tackle.
149. Brandon McGee, CB, Miami: B Grade
The Rams have their starting cornerbacks set, but they had absolutely no depth at the position. They had to spend at least one selection on a corner, and Brandon McGee is a fine choice in the middle of the fifth round.
160. Zac Stacy, RB, Vanderbilt: B+ Grade
I thought the Rams would address the running back position earlier in the 2013 NFL Draft, but with solid talents like Zac Stacy available in the fifth round, they could afford to be patient. Stacy could be the starter this season.
*** 2013 NFL TEAM NEEDS BELOW COMMENT BOARD ***
The Rams finished with a losing record, but they were extremely competitive, losing by more than two touchdowns only twice all year. Jeff Fisher did a great job in his first year in St. Louis. Now, he needs to concentrate on building around Sam Bradford because he already has a playoff defense in place.
- Offensive Tackle: Rodger Saffold actually played pretty well in the second half of the year after missing the first portion of 2012. He could be more effective at right tackle or guard though. Regardless, St. Louis needs an upgrade at offensive tackle. Eric Fisher will be an option with the 16th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Signed Jake Long
- Two Safeties: The Rams have made it known that they plan to upgrade the free safety position this offseason. This has to be a priority because Craig Dahl, a free agent, was brutal in 2012. Meanwhile, Quintin Mikell was released, so a new strong safety is needed as well.
- Wide Receiver: Danny Amendola is a great slot receiver, while Chris Givens served as a dangerous deep threat, but the Rams lacked a No. 1 receiver. Maybe Brian Quick can become that, but he didn't show any signs of being able to do so as a rookie. The front office could take a receiver with one of their two first-round picks.
- Strongside Linebacker: James Laurinaitis and JoLonn Dunbar played pretty well this past season, but no one the team tried at strongside linebacker did very well.
- Left Guard: Another upgrade that must be made up front. Sam Bradford is brittle and needs all the solid pass protection he can get. The front office likes 2012 fifth-round pick Rokevious Watkins, but he looked terrible in his only game last year. Re-signed Chris Williams
- Tight End: Lance Kendricks was chosen in the second round two years ago, but he has been a disappointment thus far. Another tight end could be an option early on this April. Signed Jared Cook
- Defensive Tackle: Kendall Langford signed with the Rams this past offseason, but disappointed in his first year with his new team. The front office should bring in competition for him.
- Running Back: Steven Jackson has a voidable year on his contract, so he'll be a free agent. If he doesn't come back to St. Louis, the team with have to add a veteran running back to compete with Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead.
- Defensive End: Depth will be needed if William Hayes isn't re-signed. Re-signed William Hayes
2013 NFL Free Agent Signings:
Jake Long, OT, Dolphins. Age: 28.
Signed with Rams
Jake Long has regressed just a bit over the past couple of years because of nagging injuries, but he's still considered one of the better left tackles in football.
Jared Cook, TE, Titans. Age: 26.
Signed with Rams (5 years)
Jared Cook has tons of potential, but has never developed. He hauled in 49 receptions for 759 yards in 2011, but regressed this past season. That could be blamed on poor quarterbacking though, so some team should take a chance on him.
St. Louis Rams Free Agents:
Salary Cap: TBA.
Steven Jackson, RB, Rams. Age: 30.
Signed with Falcons
Steven Jackson ran like he had plenty left in the tank this past season, averaging 4.1 yards per carry behind a battered offensive line. However, he turns 30 and has 2,385 career attempts under his belt. He could fall off at any moment.
Danny Amendola, WR, Rams. Age: 27.
Signed with Patriots (5 years)
Danny Amendola is one of the top slot receivers in the NFL, but he's incredibly brittle. He can't be trusted with a big contract.
Quintin Mikell, S, Rams. Age: 32.
Quintin Mikell will be 33 in mid-September, but he's still a very solid safety. He was released because he was due $6 million. He can still start.
William Hayes, DE, Rams. Age: 28.
William Hayes could start for some teams, but he can't crack the lineup in St. Louis because of Chris Long and Robert Quinn. He's terrific against the run and can get to the quarterback on occasion.
Titus Young, WR, Rams. Age: 24.
There's no questioning Titus Young's talent, but he's a major head case. He started off last season by punching teammate Louis Delmas. He then sabotaged a game against the Packers by intentionally lining up in the wrong spots. And to top it off, he continued to mouth off on Twitter during the offseason, indicating that he hadn't learned his lesson. I wouldn't touch him, but there might be a coach out there who can turn him around.
Barry Richardson, OT, Rams. Age: 27.
Kansas City fans remember Barry Richardson as an inept right tackle, but he actually improved with the Rams. I still wouldn't be comfortable with him as my starter, but he at least established himself as a top-notch backup and quality spot-starter.
Rob Turner, C/G/OT, Rams. Age: 29.
Signed with Titans
Rob Turner had a decent 2012 campaign for the Rams. He played center and guard, and he's capable of lining up at right tackle as well.
- Craig Dahl, S, Rams. Age: 28. -- Signed with 49ers (3 years)
- Brandon Gibson, WR, Rams. Age: 26. -- Signed with Dolphins
- Bradley Fletcher, CB, Rams. Age: 27. -- Signed with Eagles
- Rocky McIntosh, OLB, Rams. Age: 30.
- Chris Williams, G/OT, Rams. Age: 28. -- Re-signed with Rams
- Matthew Mulligan, TE, Rams. Age: 28. -- Signed with Packers
- Wayne Hunter, OT, Rams. Age: 32.
- Kellen Clemens, QB, Rams. Age: 30. -- Re-signed with Rams
- Trevor Laws, DT, Rams. Age: 28.
- Steve Smith, WR, Rams. Age: 28. -- Signed with Buccaneers
- Darian Stewart (RFA), S, Rams. Age: 25.
- Mario Haggan, OLB, Rams. Age: 33.
- Justin Cole (RFA), OLB, Rams. Age: 25.
2013 NFL Free Agent Positions:
QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K/P | FA Grades
2013 Fantasy Football Rankings - May 25
2013 NBA Mock Draft - May 22
2014 NFL Mock Draft - May 21
Charlie's 2014 NFL Mock Draft - May 20
NFL Picks - Feb. 3
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