The St. Louis Rams entered the draft hellbent on solidifying a secondary that was undoubtedly the weak spot of the defense in 2013, but it's safe to say that reinforcements have arrived.
The Rams used a second-round pick to secure Florida State cornerback Lamarcus Joyner. The team then added safety Maurice Alexander in Round 4.
In the sixth round, St. Louis added hometown favorite E.J. Gaines—a very talented cornerback out of Missouri.
The final addition was in the seventh round—Ohio State's Christian Bryant.
Bryant was one of the better secondary prospects remaining on the board in the final round, so the Rams made the wise decision of calling his name.
Bryant struggled to stay healthy throughout his career with the Ohio State Buckeyes. Last September, Bryan broke his ankle and was forced to miss the remainder of the 2013 season, according to ESPN.com.
When healthy and on the field, Bryant was an asset to the Ohio State defense. His stats were admirable, according to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Played in 36 games with 27 starts for Buckeyes. Had 70 tackles, 1 INT, 12 pass breakups for 12-0 Buckeyes team in 2012.— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) May 10, 2014
Had it not been for the ankle injury, it's likely that Bryant would have at least been a fourth- or fifth-round selection, with the potential to go even higher.
In the seventh round, it's ideal to find talented players who slipped for various reasons, such as injury or character concerns.
With Bryant, the Rams certainly found one of those guys—a player with talent who slipped due to an injury beyond his control.
How Bryant Fits with the Rams
Unlike Alexander, whom the Rams selected in the fourth round, the 5'10", 193-pound Bryant is more of a finesse coverage safety.
For the Rams, who already have a dependable hard-hitting safety in T.J. McDonald, that's exactly what they're looking for.
In fact, between McDonald, Alexander and Rodney McLeod, the St. Louis roster is loaded with players who fit the mold of a strong safety rather than a coverage safety.
Bryant's unique skills will help him stand out from the crowd and could eventually result in a roster spot.
It's always an uphill battle for late-round draft picks, but there are other options for Bryant if there are no openings on defense.
It's possible he'll begin his career as a contributor on special teams. If that doesn't happen, the Rams can always sign him to the practice squad and let him develop for a few years.
Bryant's primary threat to make the roster is second-year pro Cody Davis out of Texas Tech. Davis has underrated talent and showed potential in Year 1, so he'll be a tough player to beat out of the roster.
And of course, Bryant will also be competing against Alexander, another member of this draft class.
If Bryant has any plans of creating a solid NFL career, it will not be handed to him in any way, shape or form. He'll not only have to make plays and stand out in the eyes of the coaching staff, but also have to clearly outplay other safeties on the roster.
Either way, whether Bryant makes the team or falls just short, he is certainly a tremendous value in the final round and a solid pickup for St. Louis.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!