This is the Second installment of thirty-two reports on every teams' draft needs. I am writing a report for each team in preparation for a mock draft that I am working on. (Look for Shay's Mock Draft in about 32 days)
I had not planned on doing reports, but I collected all the information I need for them in my research for the draft so why not?
In these reports I have graded all positions I thought relevant to the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft. I did not give grades to special teams positions or fullbacks.
I first graded every player and then assigned all team's positions a letter grade based on the player grades and my believe of the level of security for each position when considering the NFL draft.
Great starters with great backups would get the highest grades and no talent/depth in a position would warrant a low grade. The lowest grades on each team would be that teams needs.
Report Card (unsigned free agents are assumed gone and not considered in grade evaluation):
Quarterback (QB)= C- The last two seasons have been rough on an aging Bulger (turns 32 in April). In those two seasons, Bulger has thrown only two more TDs than INTs, which is largely due to extreme lack of time.
Considering the punishment Bulger has been through and his age I would be surprised if the Rams are not looking toward the future at this position.
Running Back (RB)= C+ Stephen Jackson, when healthy, is an elite running back. It’s likely the Rams won’t draft this position but they will look to make Jackson’s life easier by bringing in someone to block.
Wide Receiver (WR)= F The release of Torry Holt leaves the Rams with a hole that they must fill before next season.
Tight End (TE)= C- There is some talent at this position and likely won’t be in early round consideration for the draft.
Tackle (T)= Orlando Pace’s release would likely lead most to believe that St. Louis is going to take OT Jason Smith with their second overall pick. I am not completely sold on that idea. The Rams have at least four tackles on their roster that are thirty years old or younger with some experience. Other holes on their roster may be more beneficial to fix.
Guard (G)= D+ I would anticipate an upgrade of some sort at this position but it would not be addressed, at the earliest, until the second round.
Center (C)= B+ The acquisition of Jason Brown elevates the center position to the highest rated on the team. Rams will give no draft consideration to this position.
Defensive Tackle (DT)= D Adam Carriker is good, but not enough. This is a large whole on their defense and is in need of more talent.
Linebacker (LB)= D+ Will Witherspoon is only proven talent at this position. Look for the Rams to spend a pick or two here.
Cornerback (CB)= C Ron Bartle is a solid corner, but would benefit greatly from the addition of a starter quality corner.
Safety (S)= C+ The addition of Butler is a nice upgrade at the safety position. Butleris young and along with Atogwe will have a nice career in St. Louis.
WR, LB, T, DT, G and QB are the holes that the Rams need to fill.
With the second pick of the draft the Rams have a chance to place a quality player and all of these positions except G. The guard position isn’t strong enough to warrant top five pick consideration but may be an option following the first round.
A popular idea for the Rams is to pick OT Jason Smith from Baylor. Recently, the Rams brought in Jason Brown from the Ravens to play center.
With Brown at center and Smith at tackle the Rams would have a formidable line. Bulger would have more time to throw and Stephen Jackson would wear less.
More time for Bulger is only a good thing if there is someone to throw to.
Donnie Avery, the Rams second round pick last year, had a solid rookie season, but he is only one receiver.
Drew Bennett drops a lot of balls and just isn’t what the Rams wanted him to be.
The Rams have a lot of options through the draft to improve their receiving corp.
They, of course, could take Micheal Crabtree with their first pick. It is unlikely, but Crabtree and Avery would make the Rams receivers feared again.
There is depth at the WR position in the draft, so a later round consideration for this position is more than likely the way the Rams are looking.
To fill a huge hole at DT the Rams should consider taking B.J Raji.
Raji is an animal that would greatly benefit a very boring defense. I don’t believe St. Louis will weigh this option as much as they should but they have a lot of holes so Raji is likely to be passed on.
QB and LB are the two positions that I believe the Rams should take the hardest look at.
If Stafford is not drafted by the Lions he would be a great fit for the Rams. Stafford would benefit greatly from a year or two under a veteran like Bulger. Stafford has a strong arm that could be showcased in a dome.
Aaron Curry, if passed on by the Lions, would also be a great fit. Pairing Curry and Will Witherspoon would be a great step toward solidifying the defense.
With Jake Long going into his second year and the addition of a young talented safety in Butler, the Rams defense would be well on their way to being one of the top defenses the Rams have seen in a while.
I hope that this report has been beneficial in preparation for your favorite teams draft. I will be publishing team reports daily until I have reached the Superbowl Champion Steelers.
Don't forget to look for my in-depth mock draft (about 32 days away) to see what direction your teams draft may go!
Coming Sunday: Draft Needs Report: The Kansas City Chiefs