Jan 6, 2014; Pasadena, CA, USA; Auburn Tigers tackle Greg Robinson (73) in action against the Florida State Seminoles during the first half of the 2014 BCS National Championship game at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

It Is Time For The Rams To Draft An Offensive Lineman In The First Round


Dec 31, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Texas A

It has been a scary trend with Rams general manager and head coach Jeff Fisher over their careers. Neither has ever drafted an offensive lineman in the first round of a draft. NEVER.

With quarterback Sam Bradford coming off of an ACL injury and running back  Zac Stacy ready for a breakout season, is it time for the team to reconsider that philosophy.

Last season the Rams gave up only 36 sacks which was the eighth best in the NFL. They also had 76 quarterback hits which was the 14th best. The stats are pretty good. It shows no reason that the Rams need to give up one of their first round picks to grab an offensive lineman, but let’s take it a step further at an individual level and compare them to that of the dominant NFC West.

One problem the Rams had, was getting any push offensively against teams inside their division which is one of the main reasons the Rams struggled, they failed to dominate the line of scrimmage which is how you win in the NFC West.

At tackle the Rams are pretty good. Jake Long came in and played at a pro bowl level until he tore his ACL. Joe Barksdale surprisingly impressed as well. Both of the Rams tackles were ranked inside the top 25 on pro football focus, something no other team in the NFC West can attest to.

This proves that IF the Rams can’t re-sign Rodger Saffold, the Rams should be able to get by. Where the Rams will need Saffold however, is at guard. Saffold became dominant at the guard position last season.

With Saffold at guard the Rams, once again have two guards in the top 25 on Pro Football Focus which is something only the Rams in the NFC West can say. Without Saffold, the Rams have Shelley Smith at 23 and then Harvey Dahl at 36.

With Saffold, those stats are pretty impressive and shows that the Rams do have a dominant offensive line, without Saffold however, the Rams just aren’t as dominant on the inside.

Where the Rams do need to improve however is at center. The Rams have Barnes who did alright last season when Wells got injured and then the Rams have Barrett Jones.  The problem is that every team in the NFC West has a center better than the Rams.

The Rams are solid at two of the three positions on the offensive line which is pretty good. However in the NFL, there is always room for improvement, and there is no doubt that the Rams can improve.

Jake Long is a dominant offensive tackle, but nobody can know how he is going to return from his knee injury. Joe Barksdale is a solid tackle, but why not draft a guy in the first round who can be another dominant tackle to play across from Jake Long.

The Rams have had some bad memories of drafting offensive lineman in the first round and I would hate to resurface those memories…Jason Smith *cough cough*. The Rams play against three dominant defensive lines six times a year and in order to compete against those teams, the Rams need to be able to get some “push” up front.

The Rams don’t necessarily have to draft an offensive lineman at number two overall, but they should definitely consider it at number 13. They should consider drafting Taylor Lewan, or maybe even consider trading up to get Greg Robinson.

At number two offensive line shouldn’t even be an option, that is putting too much investment in a guy that doesn’t make plays on the football field and put up points on the board. But at 13 it should be considered.

Another scenario, that many would prefer, is if the Rams trade out of number two and acquire a third first round pick from let’s say Cleveland. That’s when it should be a no brainer that the Rams draft an offensive lineman.

With Sam Bradford being called “injury-prone” and the Rams playing in the NFC West in which every team has a dominant defensive line. It may be time for Les Snead and Jeff Fisher to change their philosophy and draft an offensive lineman in the first round.

 

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  • John Bennett

    okay trade down with Cleveland take their 4th pic in the 26th pick in the first round.use the 4thpic to take the best available quarterback user 13th to get Greg Robinson user 26 pic to get haha nix use our 2nd round pick to get a good Center.and go from there!!! :-) thank God we got Greg Williams is our new defensive coordinator!!!

    • pboi619

      Thank god your not in the front office

      • John Bennett

        so what is your opinion on it you should we pick

        • John Bennett

          lol who not you spelling error

    • pboi619

      I like what your trying to draft but i feel that we don’t need a QB and this draft isn’t very deep with QBs….i would like Greg Robinson but i think you can get a good or great OG in the 2nd round…but for me in the first round i would like to get CJ Mosely LB and Ha Ha Cliton Dix SS i know there both from Alabama but they’re both at the top of there position and I think that would Sure up our LBs and Back end….like i said for second Round i would go with OG Gabe Jackson Mississippi state and WR Jordan Mattews Vanderbilt….i would like AJ McCarron or Tajh Boyd at back up QB

    • Gary Stewart

      john its wishful thinking to believe robinson will fall to 13 and even harder to believe that dix will fall to 26 scrap the qb plan take the choice of matthews or robinson at #4 then take dix at 13 grab a corner at 26 where a few good corners will still be available and take a power guard in the 2nd round a real road grader if not a stout DT in rd 2 would work. robinson is too good a talent to fall to 13. and dix is the best safety if he isnt gone at 13 and the rams dont take him i expect either chicago dallas or even philly all draft ahead of 26 and all could use the concensus best safety in the draft!!
      all that said if it falls the way you call it why not take clowney at #4 then robinson and dix at 13 and 26.

      • John Bennett

        Hey gary this is John maybe we should grab a QB in the 3rd or 4th round we do need a good back up quarterback and future quarterback if traffic doesn’t work out all I know is go Rams!!!

        • John Bennett

          Bradford not traffic lol

        • Gary Stewart

          i had a couple idea on the qb front. ive said this before but i believe the rams will trade down for more picks and i think we could use an extra 2nd round pick to trade with washington for kirk cousins, and if not the 3rd round is where we may be able to get garrappolo from eastern illinois

          • http://www.cnsqonline.com cesarnoel

            With Kyle Shanahan Signed with the Browns they might trade for Kirk Cousins. And I still prefer Either Zach Mettenberger or A.J. McCarron as our back up (both has played in pro-style offense which lessens the time to learn the Rams offense).

  • John Bennett

    Lol okay so the 4th pic is may be out there but you have to meet the rest of pics would be good

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  • http://www.cnsqonline.com cesarnoel

    Rams can get a pretty good versatile OT/OG in 2nd round in the persons of Morgan Moses and Zach Martin. The only time Fisher would break this trend is when a true ELITE OT ala Jonathan Ogden or Orlando Pace comes.

    • Gary Stewart

      love zack martin but he may have played himself into round 1 now cyril richardson struggled a bit in the all star game but he shows well on tape he will now most likely go in round 2-3 unless he kills at the combine!! cesar!!! here is my ideal mock…. use #2 on clowney then trade chris long to atlanta for their 6th overall pick and use it to take matthews or robinson and if they are both gone (which i doubt at #6) then take a linebacker barr mosely or mack whoever they have highest on their board. use #13 on haha dix and trade the 2nd round pick to washington for cousins to be the backup and to compete with bradford for the starting job!! every one worries about how sam will react to competition but we have not exactly been the killers we should have been when he had no competition!!

      • http://www.cnsqonline.com cesarnoel

        From what several scouting reports has mentioned, Clowney has a tendency to take plays off which is not what Gregg Williams and Jeff Fisher wants with his DLineman. And also I doubt it if the Rams would trade Chris Long as he has been solid as the team Left End and I believe his regression was due to his season long hip injury but honestly if not for Chris Long, Robert Quinn wouldn’t have 19 sacks. I’d still prefer the Rams trading down around the 8-10 range and draft either Sammy Watkins OR DT Ra’shede Hageman. Either player are freak athletes.

        Hageman provides the Rams the interior pass rusher they lack in Kendall Langford. He is basically a faster version of Kendall Langford. Having Hageman in the middle will surely free up both Long AND Quinn for more sacks. Brocker is also slowly becoming a force in the middle but his niche is more in stopping the run,

        Also Chris Long is a locker room leader, you don’t trade away core leaders unless they are detrimental to the team.

        I welcome the Cyril Richardson drop, Fisher like to draft OL in the later round other the 1st round anyway.

        Also with the news that the Browns just signed Kyle Shanahan to be their OC will only show that he might lean on getting a mobile QB like Johnny Football. There will be a higher chance for the Brown would become the Rams trade partner.

        • Gary Stewart

          cesar, no way to really tell but, its beginning to look like the 1st 3 taken would be qbs, by hou jax and clev that is if the rams trade down with cleveland. if that happens and the rams now own 4 13 and 26 i expect atlanta would want clowney bad enough to jump oakland and stay ahead of tampa we could move down to 6 taking atlantas 2nd round pick now we would have 6 13 26 38 and 45. (45 is our own 2nd rounder) atlanta takes clowney and whoever oakland takes barr mack robinson matthews mosely or a qb we would still have a fantastic pick at 6 could still take dix at 13 and fill holes depending who we took at 6, with a corner at 26 aaron donald may fall to the 2nd round cause hes a bit undersized but very disruptive, bottom line we could have 5 picks easily in the first 45 and while i am not suggesting we trade away chris long it does afford the rams a chance to get an extra 10 mil space for a free agent or two. and my take on clowney is he wont be getting double and triple teamed in the pros like he was in college and teams regularly ran to the opposite side to make him go all the way across the field, if they try that they will be running into quinn trying to avoid clowney not a great plan if you ask me!

          • http://www.cnsqonline.com cesarnoel

            Chris Long has been willing to restructure his contract several times now just to help the Salary Cap situations, If you say his production has not been great statistically, well injuries has been a factor the whole season (hip injuries has been recurring but he played on). His stats (33 Tackles with 8.5 sacks and 1 force fumble is not that bad while injured.) Yet he was the reason why Quinn was very productive this year.

            If the Rams can fortunately get a pick around 10 or 11 (or any pick just before Chicago or the Cowboys) using a trade down. the Rams can get a chance on Rashede Hageman. Rams did trade down several times in 2012 to get a chance to pick Michael Brockers.

    • John Bennett

      hmm I’m going to have to check out those moses and Martin thanks for the food for thought and I’ll say it again go Rams!!! :-)

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