Many thought Carriker to be the ideal 3-4 defensive end, while still being a guy that could shut down the run and get to the passer as a 4-3 under tackle.
Carriker was sent to the Washington Redskins for a seventh round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.
So did dealing Carriker make room for Ndamukong Suh as the first overall pick in the NFL Draft? Perhaps it did. The Rams were 27th against the run last season from a yardage perspective.
However, stats also show that they weren't as bad against the run as most would think. Profootballfocus.com has them as the 14th best rush defense last season. The secondary and pass rush seemed to be the biggest problem in St. Louis.
However, Suh is a phenomenal pass rusher as well and warrants the first pick overall for virtually any team. Don't forget that a successful pass rush helps out the secondary significantly.
However, will one defensive tackle solve all of the Rams' defensive problems? Most likely not.
The debate since the end of the college football season has been Suh vs. Sam Bradford or Jimmy Clausen. Until the middle of February, most everyone had Suh as the first overall pick, being the best pick available.
The million-dollar question is, "Why wouldn't St. Louis draft a quarterback?" Many teams in St. Louis' position on draft day generally don't have the offensive situation that the Rams are "blessed" with. You may ask me why I think they are "blessed" despite being one of the most ineffective offenses in 2009, and I'm here to tell you why.
First off, not many teams drafting No. 1 overall have a franchise running back like St. Louis has with Steven Jackson.
Jackson is coming off his fifth consecutive 1,000-yard season. Two of the last four seasons that Jackson has played 15 or 16 games, he's rushed for over 1,400 yards. He still eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark despite playing in only 12 games in 2007 and 2009. He's a workhorse running back who can carry the load.
The next thing to look at is the offensive line. While young, they have two potential bookend tackles. Jason Smith was drafted No. 2 overall in the 2009 to take over at the left tackle spot for Alex Barron, who has disappointed in pass protection and been even worse with penalties.
However, Barron is a very stout run blocker and could switch to the right side, while giving the left tackle spot to Smith, who looks to be a dominant pass blocker at the next level. The Rams didn't get to see much of Smith, as he went down with an injury in the middle of the season.
Don't forget last offseason's free agent acquisition of reliable veteran Jason Brown, and the Rams have a respectable offensive line. The guards are what will hold the Rams down, but the Rams should look to find guard help in the second or third round of the 2010 NFL Draft.
The last aspect to look at is the wide receivers. Donnie Avery will be in his third season after having a solid year in 2009. Last season, rookie Brandon Gibson also made a small splash as a No. 2 wideout after Laurent Robinson went down. Gibson had just five drops after being thrown at 64 times. The problem was the quarterback last season for the Rams.
The last big piece of the wide receiver corps is Laurent Robinson, who showed promise in his first few games after grabbing 13 passes. Robinson could be a very promising wide receiver. He has a very good size and speed combo as well as hands of glue.
When you look at it, the Rams are in a very good position to draft a quarterback at No. 1. Many teams that are drafting with the first pick don't have a franchise running back or a potential franchise left tackle.
Looking at the Rams' options of Jimmy Clausen and Sam Bradford, it's hard to tell which one they'll choose; however, it's looking like Bradford will be the guy.
Don't rule out Suh completely at No. 1 overall, but with quarterback being the most important position on the football field, and given the Rams' somewhat promising offense, they're in a good position to grab their franchise quarterback.
If you want more evidence as to why they should draft a quarterback, refer to this article.
That article shows that first round quarterbacks are more successful with two playmakers or more on offense, or a playmaker and an effective offensive line, compared to first round quarterbacks with one or fewer playmakers/ineffective offensive lines.
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