The Saint Louis Rams have a few holes that need filling this offseason, and none of those needs are more dire than that of a competent safety.
If the 2011 season were to start today, the Rams' depth chart at the position would look like this:
Obviously, some improvements are needed.
Butler and Dahl both have spent large portions of the past two seasons starting for the Rams, and while both have had their moments, neither plays to a level that amounts to anything more than an average safety.
Lewis, a former Pro-Bowler, was a late-season addition last year whose production has gone downhill over the past couple seasons. In three games with the Rams, Lewis only managed a sack and nothing else in limited playing time.
Stewart, meanwhile, will be entering just his second season in the NFL. He showed enough signs of potential last season to consider him a project, but he is still far off from being a starter at the NFL level.
Luckily for the Rams, there are plenty of safety options in free agency this season that would fill in nicely.
So who would be the ideal pickup for the Rams this offseason?
Former New York Jet and Cleveland Brown FS Brodney Pool.
During last offseason, when there was a possibility of losing OJ Atogwe to free agency, the Rams visited Pool and showed a large amount of interest in him. We all know the story though; Atogwe returned to St Louis, Pool signed with the New York Jets, and Ram fans everywhere didn't have a single complaint.
Fast forward one year. OJ Atogwe is in Washington DC playing for the Redskins, and the Rams are out a starting FS, building the possibility that they may take another look at Pool.
For those of you who aren't familiar with Brodney Pool, lets get you caught up.
Born in Corpus Christi, Texas on May 24th, 1984, Pool played college football at the University of Oklahoma (no, he never played with Sam Bradford). He was a two year starter at the free safety position and was named to the First-Team All Big-12 team his senior season. Pool amassed 171 tackles and 9 interceptions while there.
In 2005, Pool was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the second round to be their safety of the future. While he never completely lived up to his potential during his tenure, he did play proficiently enough that many teams were interested when he hit the free agent market in 2010.
He signed a one-year deal with the New York Jets and started twelve games for Rex Ryan's impressive defense.
Pool plays with good size at 6'2, 214 lbs. He is effective against the passing game, possessing nice fluidity when running with receivers. His hands are as good as most receivers, therefore giving him the ability to make plenty of impressive interceptions. Pool isn't the most physical safety and he won't come up and lay down a huge hit, but his athletic ability and wrap-up tackling more than makes up for it.
The only real concern with Pool is the fact that he has sustained four concussions during his football career. Two of them have caused him to miss time while the other two weren't as serious.
Stats (From NFL.com)
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