Yes, the Rams had the second-worst run defense in the NFL last season. But they ranked 22nd overall on defense (average yards per game), and they were only ranked that low because the defensive players were constantly worn out late in games (as a result of an inept offense).
The defense is not the reason why they lost 14 games in 2011.
The offense, however, was 31st overall and scored just 12.1 points per game. They were the only NFL team to score fewer than 200 points on the season (193).
There's no sugarcoating it—the offense was flat-out pathetic in 2011.
You can't really blame Jeff Fisher and Co. for losing out on receivers Justin Blackmon and Michael Floyd. Unfortunately, that's just the way it played out. They didn't have any control over that.
But when offensive guard David DeCastro (aka Steve Hutchinson 2.0) is still on the board, a guy who is said to be a perennial Pro Bowler in the making, it's hard to explain passing on him.
So the Rams already lose points on their first-round selection without even mentioning the pick—defensive tackle Michael Brockers.
Did the Rams make a good pick at No.14?
Fortunately for the Rams, they got value for the pick. No. 14 overall seems like a reasonable spot for Brockers, so it's hard to say they reached.
Also, defensive tackle is a position of need, so they were certainly able to fill a hole with their top pick.
The complaint isn't that they reached for a player and lost value, or that they failed to address a position of need. The problem is that they're not going to increase their win total without addressing offense.
Brockers has sky-high potential, there's no denying that.
At 6'5" and 322 pounds he has the frame and size that you want out of a dominate defensive tackle. He'll surely make an immediate difference in their run defense.
And speaking of "potential", the Rams could have one of the best defensive lines in football within the next three years if Brockers can properly compliment Chris Long, Robert Quinn and Kendall Langford.
There's a good chance that Brockers will make an immediate impact in the run game simply because he's a massive human being.
However, I wouldn't expect much of a pass rush.
He won't be able to use his size to run over people in the NFL like he did in college. He will have utilize an arsenal of pass rush moves, which is something he doesn't have.
Also, it's unrealistic to expect an immediate impact out of a college player who only started one full year.
The Rams' primary goal in this draft was to improve their offense by providing weapons for Bradford. They'll have a chance to do that with their three second-round picks tomorrow, but they failed to exit round one with a top-tier offensive talent.
But things could have been worse.
At least the Rams stuck to their draft board instead of reaching for Stephen Hill or Kendall Wright. And they left the first round with someone who could potentially be the best defensive tackle in the entire draft.
Overall, their first-round selection was far from ideal, but it was hardly a total flop.