The new look Rams will try and continue a very successful off season thus far into the 2009 NFL Draft this weekend, starting tomorrow with rounds 1-2 on Saturday.
Under new coach Steve Spanuolo the Rams are looking to forget a disatrous 2-14 season and get back to competing in the NFC West. So where do they begin to continue adding the necessary pieces? At the draft.
The Rams needs start on the offensive line. Last year they desperately hoped #1 overall pick Jake Long would fall to them, giving them a standout left takle for the next decade. Unfourtanely that wasn't the case and he got a deal done and was picked just one spot ahead by the Miami Dolphins.
This year the need at left tackle still remains. Long time Pro Bowler Orlando Pace was cut and signed with the Bears. Alex Barron, the only remaning tackle of note on the Rams roster, has been unimpressive during his tenure thus far in blue and gold.
So with the #2 overall pick in the draft, look for the Rams to target the two top rated tackles, Jason Smith or Eugene Munroe. Both have their strengths. Smith is known as having more of a mean streak while Munroe has more balance as both a pass protector and run blocker.
Either way the Rams should get a solid player to add to the o-line and big free agent sigining C/G Jason Brown from the Ravens. Defintely another strong piece to add to the puzzle.
In the 2nd round, look for the Rams to target one of the top corners. There should still be some good value there as not many corners could go in the 1st round. Darius Butler? Alphonso Smith? You can never have too many good corners, especially with the nickel being used so much against the multiple wide receiver sets.
Also look for the Rams to get some linebacking depth. Will Witherspoon is a better fit at OLB, so getting a man to line up in the middle would be a great addition. How about James Laurinaitis from Ohio State? Could be a possibilty at #35 overall in the 2nd round.
On day 2 Sunday, look for the Rams to get more depth. A backup to groom under starter Steven Jackson would be good. With Torry Holt gone, expect the Rams to select a wide receiver. How about 6'6″ Ramses Barden, a small school end zone threat? They could go for him in the 3rd round.
The draft is always a fun time. The wheeling and dealing and intrigue of rising and falling players is great entertainment. For the Rams, look for a more structured focus in getting players that fit Spagnuolo's vision for the team. Something which can only lend more hope to a resurgence in St. Louis sooner than we think.
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Written by Femi Fasoyinu