The NFL Draft is a little more than two weeks away, and to get you guys ready for it we have been taking a look at every position on the Rams roster. Today we are going to wrap up the offensive side of the ball and discuss the offensive line. We will dicuss what the Rams have at each position, what the Rams need at each position, if they should draft somebody at each position, and lastly a group grade.
What The Rams Have
Center- Scott Wells, Tim Barnes, Barrett Jones(possible guard)
Guard: Brandon Washington
Guard: Rodger Saffold(Possible Tackle)
Tackle: Joe Barksdale, Sean Hooey
Tackle: Jake Long, Mike Person
If the Rams hadn’t re-signed Rodger Saffold after the Raiders debacle, quarterback Sam Bradford might as well have not even bothered coming back, because there would be nobody to protect him and his recently restructured knee.
The only other real for sure thing that the Rams have on the offensive line right now is right tackle Joe Barksdale. Barksdale is quite underrated and really played well for the Rams last season, grading as the 10th best right tackle in the NFL last season and the 25th best tackle.
Other than that however, the Rams offensive line is pretty shaky.
Jake Long should be ready by the beginning of the regular season, but he may not be 100%. Saffold is known to get hurt and the Rams don’t have a reliable guard to play on the other side of Saffold or play behind Saffold if he were to get hurt.
Scott Wells is a good center, but he has had his share of injuries as well, but if he goes down, Barnes did play well in his place last season. The other center on the roster, Barrett Jones sat out most of last season, but it will be interesting to see if the Rams give him quality snaps in 2014.
Overall, the Rams have some solid pieces on the offensive line, but they need to add a guard or two or three, as well as some depth at some point in the upcoming draft.
What The Rams Need
To be a contender year in and year out, you have to have good depth at really every position, and must be ready if a starting player goes down. This is especially true at the offensive line, and right now the Rams don’t have a lot of depth for an offensive line with a long history of injuries.
The Rams also need a starting offensive guard to play on the other side of Saffold and play in place of Saffold if he ends up having to fill in at tackle.
Should The Rams Address This Need In The Draft?
The Rams failed to address this need in free agency by letting Shelly Smith and Chris Williams walk. If they don’t address this need in the draft, I don’t know where they are going to address it.
Many experts have the Rams taking an offensive tackle in the first round, and even though the Rams don’t need a tackle, having them play in a rotation or have a guy like Barksdale switch over to guard so that the rookie could play tackle, might not be such a bad idea.
The Rams have 12 picks in the upcoming draft, which could turn into more barring any trades. Don’t be surprised if the Rams take multiple offensive lineman throughout the draft.
If the Rams didn’t have a Pro Bowl left tackle in Long, a Pro Bowl caliber guard in Saffold, and a solid right tackle in Barksdale, this grade would be even lower. Right now this group is simply average, but can be improved greatly in the draft.
As mentioned earlier, the Rams have some solid pieces in place of the offensive line, but they need to sure up the other pieces and add depth to get this grade up.
Rams offensive line coach, Paul Boudreau, is a great coach and can do a lot, but the Rams can’t expect him to perform a miracle, which as of right now, is what it would take to somewhat protect Bradford on game day.
Tags: St. Louis Rams