2011 NFL Draft: The 5 Biggest Needs for the St Louis Rams Come Draft Day

Ethan NovakAnalyst IIApril 12, 2011

2011 NFL Draft: The 5 Biggest Needs for the St Louis Rams Come Draft Day

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    ST. LOUIS - OCTOBER 3: Anthony McCoy #85 of the Seattle Seahawks is stopped by Larry Grant #59, Craig Dahl #43 and James Laurinaitis #55 all of the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on October 3, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Rams beat the Seaha
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    The Rams showed tremendous improvement last season in several areas. 

    The pass-rushing game started to look dangerous, the passing game finally showed some life behind rookie Sam Bradford and the offensive line began to come together for the first time in years.

    Despite all that, there were still glaring weaknesses in the Rams' roster. If the NFL could finally strike a deal with the NFLPA, there is a chance the Rams could address these needs in free agency.

    However, since it appears a deal isn't anywhere near being struck, the Rams are going to need to use the draft to fill all of their voids.

    Here are the Rams' top five needs heading into the draft.

5. Backup Running Back

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    BERKELEY, CA - NOVEMBER 20:  Shane Vereen #34 of the California Golden Bears warms up for their game against the Stanford Cardinal at California Memorial Stadium on November 20, 2010 in Berkeley, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Over the last few seasons, the Rams haven't been able to find a serviceable backup.

    Kenneth Darby, Brian Leonard, Keith Toston, Samkon Gado and Chris Ogbonnaya are all running backs who have had the chance to fill the void. 

    Most of them failed tremendously and the Rams will be in the market for finally finding a capable back to relieve Steven Jackson. 

    With a draft filled with mid-to-late-round prospects at the position, expect the Rams to use a fourth or fifth-round selection on one. 

    Potential Selections

    Shane Veneer, California

    Alex Green, Hawaii

    Jordan Todman, U-Conn

    Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State

4. Right Guard

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    ATHENS, GA - NOVEMBER 21:  Clint Boling #60 of the Georgia Bulldogs against the Kentucky Wildcats at Sanford Stadium on November 21, 2009 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The Rams offensive line was impressive last season. The additions of Roger Saffold and Jason Smith have greatly influenced the potential of this line and in a few seasons, they could be considered one of the better units in football.

    That being said, there is still one more position on the line that needs some consistency—right guard.

    John Greco looked the best at the position last season, providing a spark in the running game. In the passing game however, it was a position consistently exploited by the defense. 

    I expect the Rams to use a third-round pick on a guard in order to find the final missing piece of a line with incredible potential.

    Potential Selections

    Clint Boling, Georgia

    Andrew Jackson, Fresno State

    Benjamin Ijalana, Villanova

3. Wide Receiver

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    TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 26:  Julio Jones #8 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts after a long reception against the Auburn Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 26, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Most people want to see this as our biggest need. I disagree. 

    With Donnie Avery and Mark Clayton coming back from injury, this team actually has very capable receivers. 

    Danny Amendola is a receiver who will be even more effective when there are other weapons around him, opening up the slot and taking the double coverage. Danario Alexander should excel as well, when he isn't forced into the No. 1 receiver position. 

    If everyone can stay healthy, the Rams actually should be fine in the passing game.

    At the same time, it would be nice to add a premiere receiver that could launch this offense to new heights. The only receiver I could really see them adding in the draft is Julio Jones. After AJ Green and Jones, the talent level drops off tremendously and they'd just have another mid-level receiver on their hands.

    Potential Selections

    Julio Jones, Alabama

2. Outside Linebacker

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    PASADENA, CA - NOVEMBER 06:  Akeem Ayers #10 of the UCLA Bruins attempts to break free from James Dockery #4 of the Oregon State Beavers at the Rose Bowl on November 6, 2010 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Outside linebacker was by far the largest hole on the Rams last season. Once Na'il Diggs went down with an injury, it really became a rotation of ugly play.

    Former Mr. Irrelevant David Vobora struggled, Larry Grant was inconsistent and Bryan Kehl struggled to adjust to the Rams defense. 

    This is a position that I'm sure they'd much rather address in free agency, but it wouldn't hurt to take a look at the draft prospects. 

    Potential Selections

    Mark Herzlich, Boston College

    Scott Lustrus, UConn

    Chris Carter, Fresno State

1. Safety

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 1: Defensive back Quinton Carter #12 of Oklahoma works out during the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 28, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    This was never supposed to happen. 

    Sure, it would've been nice to add a solid safety in the draft, but with star-safety OJ Atogwe roaming the secondary for the Rams, they were supposed to be set.

    Now Atogwe is in Washington and the Rams don't have much at the safety position anymore. Craig Dahl will return as one of the starters, but he is by no means a long-term solution at the position, struggling to keep up with the speed of the NFL on occasion.

    The Rams are completely empty at safety at the moment and they are going to need to find some answers fast.

    Potential Selections

    Quinton Carter, Oklahoma

    Tyler Sash, Iowa

    Shiloh Keo, Idaho