Dec 1, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide offensive linesman D.J. Fluker (76) celebrates winning the 2012 SEC Championship game against the Georgia Bulldogs at the Georgia Dome. Alabama won 32-28. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
One of the very few downfalls of being a mad Rams fan while living in Australia is that I have to set my alarm at 4-5 o’clock most mornings to watch the Rams play on ‘game pass’. The only time my eyes aren’t on the computer watching the game, is when Rams are kicking for a field goal. This isn’t with any disrespect to Greg Zuerlein, because i’ve been doing since Jeff Wilkins was booting field goals for the Rams. Although Zuerlein has an amazing boot on him, there are times when questions could be asked about his accuracy. Being a kicker is very much a mental game, in the same way as golf – you can have your hot and cold days. Surely there were Ram fans wondering if ‘Young GZ’ had let previous misses get to his head. Well, what ever questions Ram fans had with him, Zuerlein has surely put them to sleep for now. Not once in the whole game, was there a hope for offense to score a touchdown. They just didn’t look dangerous. It was fantastic to see the offensive line hold its self against a formidable San Francisco 49ers defense. It was also great to see Sam Bradford creating good chemistry with Chris Givens. But lets all be honest, it’s evident that the Rams can’t win too many games with out Danny Amendola. Rams were lucky that the defense kept San Fran honest. Watching the Rams, there are still visible holes that need to be addressed.
Two players will be analyzed weekly (one from defense and one from offense) based on their current form in college football.
Position needs: OT, OLB, S, WR, TE
D.J. Fluker (6 foot 6, 340 pounds)
Offensive Tackle (University of Alabama)
The Rams offensive linemen have really held their ground in the last month. It has been great to see left tackle Roger Saffold mirroring any defender that comes his way and it’s also reassuring to see centre Scott Wells do his thing at the interior line. Robert Turner has been extra impressive at centre/guard this year for the Rams and he will eventually make his mark as a permanent starter for at least a few more years. Despite the improvement the Rams have had on the line, there is still a massive hole to fill at the right tackle position.
Fluker is a man mountain, who really exceeds as a run blocker. He is a current and natural right tackle who really man handles anything that is thrown at him. Rams would place Fluker straight into the right tackle position if he were to be chosen by them in the draft. Like many players coming out of college, many have their flaws. Yes, Fluker is a beast and yes, he is a power who can take down any defensive linemen, but many question his ability and speed to keep up with the elite NFL pass rushers. The NFC west is filled with speed pass rushers such as Aldon Smith, Bruce Irvin and Calais Campbell so the Rams must take this into consideration before choosing any offensive linemen.
Draft range – Late first/early second
Kevin Minter (6 foot 2, 245 pounds)
It’s safe to say that Jo-Lonn Dunbar has emerged as one of the premier outside linebackers in the NFL with 80 tackles, four sacks, three pass deflections, one interception and one force fumble. It still wouldn’t hurt to see the Rams upgrade on the strong side with another young talent on the Rams defense. The Rams are only a few positions short in becoming one of the most intimidating defenses in the NFL. If the Rams were to draft an outside linebacker in the early rounds, this would bring the Rams that one step closer to becoming a unbeatable force in the NFL.
Minter is an athletic, hard hitting linebacker, with great play making skills against the run. He’s also a great tackler out in space with the ability to also drop back in coverage. Minter is an explosive player with tremendous leg strength. He currently holds the most experience out of any Tiger linebacker on the roster. Although he does play middle linebacker, he will have the intangibles to play on the outside. Minter had a stout year collecting 111 tackles (which included a 20 tackle game with two sacks), three sacks, five pass deflections and one interception. Expect the Rams to have an eye on him, but also prepare for other teams who struggle at the middle linebacker position to be desperate to pick him up early.
Draft range – Mid/late first round
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