Written by: Barry Lewis on April 23, 2011
Last year, the Rams entered the year, after taking QB Sam Bradford with the #1 overall pick, as a team that no one expected to compete for the NFC West despite the fact that it was widely considered the weakest division in the NFL.
However, Bradford along with Stephen Jackson and a number of unsung “stars” like WR Danny Amendola and, for a short period of time, WR Mark Clayton, took the Rams and the league to the brink in week 17 and nearly pulled off the impossible as the first team in NFL history to secure a playoff spot with a losing record (7-9).
This year, the Rams will look to build upon last years’ “successful season” by continuing to build its squad.
This is not a team without holes. According to many pundits, the Rams need a #1 wideout, a right guard, a replacement for OJ Atogwe at free safety because he was released as well as a strong safety, a defensive tackle, a weakside linebacker, a #1 tight end, a backup running back for Stephen Jackson, depth at cornerback, and a defensive end that could potentially match James Hall’s 10 1/2 sack campaign.
From a talent perspective, the Rams did fantastic. In the first five rounds, they secured DE/OLB Cameron Jordan, WR Jonathan Baldwin, OG Will Rackley, rising RB Taiwan Jones, and TE DJ Williams. Jordan and Baldwin are 1st round talents and Jordan is big enough to play right DE as well as play OLB. Rackley is going to be a fixture at right guard. Jones is a burner who can quickly become a 2nd back behind Jackson and step in if Jackson gets hurt. To cap it all off, Williams is an underrated tight end who is probably going to start immediately for this team at both tight end and H-Back.
To finish the draft, the Rams selected DE Stephen Friday, Virginia Tech, who was their best pass rusher and may be a fit at weakside linebacker as a conversion project, and DT Damik Scafe, who could become a rotational defensive lineman.
The Rams have a lot of needs that still need to be addressed if this is the draft they actually end up with this coming weekend. A replacement of Atogwe, a starting defensive tackle, and depth at cornerback would be on the top of that list.
However, the Rams, when it came to addressing as many needs as possible with quality talent, may have had a top 5 draft in comparison to the other teams in the league. They are receiving a grade of A.