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St. Louis Rams Team Needs

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St. Louis Rams Team Needs
By: Staff

The St. Louis Rams are in the midst of finishing up just their second losing season since 1999 and fans can look forward to an off-season that should be marked with changes both on and off the field. The Rams will look towards the 2006 NFL Draft knowing that while they have spent eight of their last ten first round draft picks on defensive players, only 1998 first round pick Grant Wistrom could be considered an impact player. The Rams number one priority should be defense. The following are a list of needs that should be addressed in the 2006 NFL Draft.

In yet another attempt to help shore up the Rams biggest sore spot, the team drafted a cornerback and two safeties with three of their first five picks in the 2005 draft. Since their Super Bowl victory in 2000, the Rams have also drafted DeJuan Groce (4th round in 2003), Travis Fisher (2nd round in 2002), Adam Archuleta (1st round in 2001), Jerametrius Butler (5th round in 2001) and Jacoby Shepherd (2nd round in 2000). It’s still too early to judge this years draft class, but aside from Archuleta and Butler, this group has for the most part been a bust. The Rams will again be searching for help in their defensive backfield this off-season. Free agent names like Nate Clements and Charles Woodson have come up but with a dearth of talented safeties and cornerbacks in the 2006 draft, look for the team to once again look this way within the first couple of rounds. A player such as Darnell Bing, Michael Huff, Laron Landry, Tye Hill or Jimmy Williams could be the one holding up a Rams jersey standing beside NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue this coming April.

It will be a hotly debated subject whether this or defensive back is indeed the teams biggest need. In reality they are both in desperate need of a talent upgrade. The Rams signed free agent linebackers Dexter Coakley and Chris Claiborne last off-season with hope that they had finally shored up a big weakness. Neither player has made any impact this season, although there are some who theorize that the scheme of defensive coordinator Larry Marmie may have more to do with it than anything. The Rams would probably jump at the chance to draft A.J. Hawk, then again who wouldn’t? Other first and second round possibilities include Chad Greenway, Abdul Hodge, DeMeco Ryans, Ahmad Brooks, Bobby Carpenter and D’Qwell Jackson. Any of these players would be an instant upgrade in what might be the weakest linebacking corps in the NFL.

Defensive End
The Rams lost two of their top defensive ends in successive years, seeing both the aforementioned Wistorm and Bryce Fisher sign with division rival Seattle. The team still has Leonard Little who has, unfortunately, made as many headlines off the field as on it is still a capable sack artist although his total has been in decline over the past couple seasons. Tyoka Jackson, Anthony Hargrove and Brandon Green have taken their turns this season opposite Little but that group has just seven sacks combined. An infusion of talent at the end spot would also help mask some of the deficiencies in the defensive backfield. Mario Williams and Mathias Kiwanuka are the top rated ends and would be welcome additions. Those two players will more than likely be gone within the first ten to fifteen picks so the team could elect to look at the next tier of ends in the later rounds which include Tamba Hali, Manny Lawson, Darryl Tapp, Elvis Dumervil and Ray Edwards.

Defensive Tackle
This was a group that came on strong towards the end of the 2004 season but has yet to play to that level in 2005. Former first round picks Damione Lewis and Ryan Pickett are free agents after the season as well as Tyoka Jackson. Lewis has been the biggest bust of all and will more than likely not be brought back. Jackson has shown some value and Pickett has shown glimpses of why he was a number one pick. Both Jackson and Pickett may be resigned. Jimmy Kennedy, another former first round selection, is the anchor of the line right now but he could use some reinforcements. Obtaining a run stopping defensive tackle might be easier to do in free agency but if player like Jesse Mahelona or Claude Wroten were to fall into the second round, the Rams would have to take a strong look at either.

Discuss the Rams team needs in our St. Louis Rams Forum.

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