As with almost everything else in the NFL world, the media has quickly moved on from their most recent mass event and shifted their focus down the road to the next; in this case, the regular season. With free agency and the NFL Draft in the rear-view mirror, it is now “safe” to start making predictions about how teams with stack up in September; or, at least, that is how the media views it. So, with the Draft now a distant memory, the NFL has started to release their “Power Rankings,” the arbitrary ordering of teams, subjective based off of a nonsensical, undefined set of criteria. Per usual, despite understanding that these rankings mean absolutely nothing, we still get emotionally tied to where our favorite team gets slotted on the list. So, how did the Rams fair after a spectacular showing in both March and April?
NFL.com - 21st (Previously: 23rd)
Best haul in the NFC right here. Love the pick of defensive tackle Aaron Donald at No. 13. Imagine being an opposing offensive line coach prepping your squad to face the line Donald is joining, which also includes Chris Long, Michael Brockers and Robert Quinn … No worries, fellas, if you get your butts handed to you this week … Cornerback Lamarcus Joyner, scooped up in the second round, should help immediately.
ESPN – 18th (Previously: 20th)
Michael Sam is getting headlines, but snaps will be harder to come by. After drafting Aaron Donald, the Rams could start four top-20 picks on the defensive line this season.
Bleacher Report – 16th (Previously: N/A)
The St. Louis Rams face the impossible task of improving their standing in the NFC West. Well behind the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers and not much closer on the heels of the Arizona Cardinals, Rams head coach Jeff Fisher is no less set on trying to win now.
With the No. 2 and No. 13 overall picks, the Rams added prototypical left tackle Greg Robinson and interior pass-rusher Aaron Donald. Donald, together with defensive ends Robert Quinn and Chris Long, could help make one of the most dangerous defensive lines in the game. Second-round cornerback Lamarcus Joyner and third-round running back Tre Mason should get on the field sooner rather than later.
Beyond mercurial receiver Kenny Britt and (presumptive) backup quarterback Shaun Hill, though, the Rams didn’t do much in free agency.
So, basically, the St. Louis Rams didn’t even crack the Top 15 in the NFL, despite a consensus “A” grade from the NFL Draft and finishing the 2013 season at nearly .500 without their starting quarterback for most of the season. Meanwhile, the Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, and Seattle Seahawks are all sitting comfortably in the Top 10 on all of these rankings. As the saying goes, “You have to earn respect, to get respect.” It appears as though they’ll have to show the world that they can challenge for the crown in the NFC West before they are viewed as anything other than a “competitive” team.