Feeling Drafty #14: St. Louis Rams

April 10, 2011 at 6:00 pm (Sports) (, , , , , , , , )

Steven Jackson has been the only star on this team for years, and he helped St. Louis finally get over the hump. He was named St. Louis Team MVP

It’s kind of shocking, if you think about it.

Back in 2009, there were only three people of any relevance on this entire team:  Steven Jackson, a super-talented veteran who was wasting away in a seemingly hopeless situation, James Laurinaitis and Oshiomogho Atogwe, two up-and-coming defensive stars who would probably jump ship the first chance they got (one of whom already has).  Other than that, they had nothing.  No quarterback, no wide receiver, no offensive or defensive line.  Nothing.  And just one year later, they are serious contenders to win the NFC West.

Then again, it’s not that hard to be a serious contender in the NFC West.  Heck, let me start a pickup team, and we could be a serious contender in the NFC West.  But, still they turned a 1-15 season everyone would love to forget into a respectable 7-9 season with even better seasons coming.  And that can be credited to their draft this season.

Sam Bradford is going to be the next great quarterback in the NFL.  He went #1 overall last season, and demonstrated why he deserved to go #1.  One thing I liked about how they Rams handled Bradford was the fact that they took the training wheels off almost immediately.  In his first career game, he threw the ball 55 times.  In most debut games, a quarterback may throw 20 times if the coach feels risky.  But, the Rams took chances with Bradford and he was in a position by season’s end to break every rookie record that Peyton Manning or Matt Ryan could fire at him.

It’s easy to give a team the title of best draft if they have the #1 overall pick, but Bradford wasn’t the only rookie that helped the Rams massively.  There was also the 2nd rounder at LT, Rodger Saffold, who started every game this season, and was considered the best tackle from last year’s draft class.  In the fifth round, they picked up their new starting TE Michael Hoomanawanui, who earned the staring job with a decent rookie campaign and is primed for a breakout season in the very near future.

After an impressive combine, California DL Cameron Jordan has earned himself a mid-first round draft pick, meaning St. Louis will be in prime position to pick him up at #14 overall.

So, where do the Rams go from here.  I think they need help along the defensive line, so California DE/DT Cameron Jordan could be the pick of choice.  Normally, D-ends in 3-4 systems like Cal’s don’t put up good numbers, but Jordan bucked that trend by going for 51 tackles and six sacks.  And if he goes to St. Louis and the 4-3 system they’re in, he could put up even better numbers than he did back in his college days.

Teams like last season’s St. Louis should give poor teams hope.  If the hopeless Rams can have a turnaround like they did, there’s no telling what other down and out teams like Carolina or Buffalo can do.  They might just turn into one of next season’s breakout teams.


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