Feb 28, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; North Alabama defensive back Janoris Jenkins participates in pass interception drills during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

Eyes on Rookies

Rookie mini-camps will soon be underway. Jeff Fisher and co. will be busy evaluating a new crop of young players, 10 of which were drafted two weeks ago. It is imperative that the St. Louis Rams develop this young bunch. The flaw in the team for the past decade has been it’s ability to draft and develop it’s own talent. This failure was personified last year, as the team cut half of their draft picks and opted for journeymen instead. So what should the Rams be looking for?

First and foremost the Rams should be looking for talent and upside. They already found 10 players that were worthy of their affection, but there will be close to 30 undrafted rookies on the field that still have something to prove. The Rams would do well to find a few diamonds in the rough that can contribute this year. Every year several teams come up with undrafted rookies that fell through the cracks. This league is filled with starting UDFA’s and the Rams have  done a bad job developing these guys in the past. These players can be the backbone of  future depth.

The Rams will also need to keep a close eye on the linebackers and secondary for two completely different reasons. There is finally an infusion of talent in the secondary, so it’s time to monitor the battle among the rookies to see who is ready to contribute now. In terms of linebackers, the team needs to be looking for a guy who can play on Sundays. The Rams only drafted one linebacker, but are bringing in a few UDFA’s that received draftable grades from most pundits. It’s important that the Rams identify a guy who has the ability to play on the 53 consistently this year, and eventually be a starter, otherwise they will have to dig into the FA market for linebackers sooner rather than later.

Finally, The Rams will need to keep a sharp eye on the new WR’s drafted in the first 4 rounds. Brian Quick and Chris Givens were drafted to contribute this year. That starts with knowing the playbook, and perfecting technique. Their development will be based on how well they are coached. It’s important that the Rams take this very seriously, because the set-back here has been apparent for years.


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