St. Louis Rams: Predicting Award Winners for the 2012 Season
There likely won't be any national award winning players for the St. Louis Rams.
Sam Bradford carried away the Offensive Rookie of the Year trophy in 2010, but there doesn't look to be enough star power on the roster to think the Rams will be able to put a player in the position to win one of these awards.
That doesn't mean you can't set personal goals. The Rams do have talent, and the first step is development and going bringing your game to the next level.
Who are the Rams top candidates?
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Brian Quick
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The Rams don't have a plethora of rookies that will stand out for this award. They drafted Brian Quick in the second, Isaiah Pead in the second, and Chris Givens in the fourth. Then a slew of undrafted players that may or may not make camp.
Brian Quick has a lot of raw talent, but not a lot of polish. Fortunately for him, the Rams need a playmaker on the outside and he's the only one on the roster that looks to fit that role. Part of being the best in the pack is having the opportunity, and Quick will have plenty.
Isaiah Pead could easily steal this award with an injury to Steven Jackson. The explosive back out of Cincinnati would immediately become a featured back with the ability to rip off big plays.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Janoris Jenkins
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The Rams took a serious load of defensive players in this draft, drafting Michael Brockers 14th overall, Jenkins 39th and Trumaine Johnson 65th. The two cornerbacks were considered excellent value where they were selected.
Brockers might be the obvious candidate as the highest overall pick for the Rams. However, he's currently a run-stopping specialist. He'll make a significant impact, but he's not going to be able to have the overall effect Jenkins will.
The Rams had over 10 players from their secondary on injured reserve last year. Now they have Cortland Finnegan, a true number-one corner, and Jenkins who was widely regarded as one of the best pure cover corners in this draft.
The Rams could have a vastly improved secondary, and with the prolific passing attack in the NFL, Jenkins will have the opportunity to show he was worth the pick.
Offensive Player of the Year: Steven Jackson
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Jackson is going be 30 this season, but should be given the benefit of the doubt until his production actually declines.
He's the heartbeat of this offense, and has produced seven-straight 1000 yard rushing seasons. At times he's the only productive player on the entire offense. He's a beast, and if he were on a true contender we'd likely still be talking about Jackson as a top-five back in the league.
Sam Bradford is a tempting choice because of his likely rebound, but a quarterback has to rely on his pass catchers and protection as much as his own ability. When it comes down to it, the Rams will be a run-first offense. That makes Steven Jackson an easy choice.
Defensive Player of the Year: Chris Long
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The Rams former first round pick, Chris Long has emerged as a very good defensive end in the NFL.
Long is a fantastic pass rusher, and the only reliable one the Rams have on their roster. If Robert Quinn starts and is productive, then Chris Long could improve on his 13 sack season.
The Rams defense has the opportunity to be anywhere from average to good. That starts with getting to the quarterback, and that's something Chris Long has proven he can do.
The other candidate could be Cortland Finnegan. Finnegan is a versatile corner, and likely one of the 10 best at his position. He can cover any type of receiver, on the outside and in the slot. That gives the Rams versatility at an important defensive position.
MVP: Sam Bradford
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It's hard to peg exactly what Bradford will be able to do this year.
I'm not comfortable calling him the "anything of the year" with his health issues from last year. And frankly note the abuse his offensive line forces him to take.
That doesn't undercut his importance as a player. Truly, if the Rams offense hopes to be even in the top half of league this year it will depend solely on Bradford. In terms of true value to the team, Bradford is how far this offense will go or how bad they will perform.
I'm predicting Bradford to be the Rams MVP and rebound. With Steven Jackson and Bradford it's almost a Drew Brees/Aaron Rodgers situation. Both of them will deserve the award. One of them will clearly be the key piece.