In 2008 the Rams-Examiner" target="_blank">St. Louis Rams entered another phase of their rebuilding efforts. After finishing 2-14 in last place in their division they fired their coaching staff and released long time team mainstays OT Orlando Pace, and WR Terry Holt. While they still have star running back Stephen Jackson, it is rather apparent he is going to need a lot of help to return this team to the glory of years past.
Picking second in the NFL-Draft-Examiner~y2009m7d31-NFL-Draft-101-Who-were-the-2009-first-round-draft-picks" target="_blank">first round the Rams really had the pick of the litter of any of the highly rated OT in this draft. Since the Detroit-Lions-worth" target="_blank">Lions had announced the night before they were set to take QB Matt Stafford, the Rams were in the position of taking the best OT on the board.
This was really a choice between three players: Jason Smith of Baylor, Eugene Monroe of Virginia, and Andre Smith of Alabama. Since Smith’s stock had fallen so far after his leaving the NFL scouting combine this was really a choice between just Smith and Monroe.
The Rams went with Jason Smith because he was ranked the most athletic of the bunch and apparently the most ready to step into the St. Louis offensive line and make big holes for RB Jackson. We must give this pick the grade of A.
In the second round the Rams got a steal as the linebackers in this draft kept falling. With the 35th pick overall Ohio State’s James Laurnaitis was a steal as the second highest rated LB in this draft class.
The Rams hope Laurnaitis will be the run stopper in the middle of their defense they so desperately need. We have to give that pick a B+ since James is a little undersized compared to the traditional NFL MLB.