With a week of both veterans and rookies engaging in offseason workouts at Rams Park behind them and organized team activities just a week away, Head Coach Jeff Fisher can embark on a 2014 season with one of the team’s most complete offseasons in recent memory in the rear-view mirror.
|REINFORCEMENTS HAVE ARRIVED|
Between free agency and the NFL Draft, the Rams have added the following players this offseason:
When the Rams dispersed following a season-ending loss at Seattle to conclude the team’s second consecutive seven-win campaign, the Rams entered the offseason with question marks at offensive line and in the secondary. Feel free to place a checkmark next to each of those positions, as they received upgrades in both areas through free agency and the draft, as part of an across-the-board roster upgrade that will be unfurled during OTAs next week.
With the Rams mired in a 1-3 start through the first four games of the 2013 season, Fisher and company re-tooled the team’s offensive outlook when then-rookie
The Rams doubled down on proficient run-blockers when they utilized their second overall draft pick on Auburn’s Greg Robinson, a tackle in college who could move inside to guard alongside left tackle
The Rams utilized the final round of the draft to build depth behind the veteran-most portion of the offensive line, as seventh-round selection Demetrius Rhaney could back up
Despite its distinction as arguably the team’s most effective position group from a year ago, the Rams further supplemented their defensive line. Veteran defensive lineman Alex Carrington became the first Rams free agent pickup this offseason to come from another team. A 3-4 defensive end in Buffalo, Carrington will move inside to tackle in St. Louis, where he’ll join veterans
The Rams also used a first-round draft pick to upgrade the position, as the team’s 13th overall selection went to defensive tackle Aaron Donald of Pittsburgh, giving the Rams four first-round defensive linemen for the 2014 season. After leading the nation with 28.5 tackles for loss last year at Pittsburgh, Donald joins
VIDEO: Aaron Donald Highlights
One area the Rams elected to stand pat during the draft was at receiver, a position the Rams focused heavily on during the draft a year ago, and supplemented further through free agency.
General Manager Les Snead and Fisher issued vocal support for the team’s current cast of receivers throughout the months leading up to the draft, words that were supported by their decision to not pick a wide receiver among the team’s 11 draft selections.
Last year’s incumbents, which include 2013 draftees
The development of Austin and Bailey played a key role in the Rams’ contentedness to elect against adding a member of this year’s receiver draft class.
Easily the most changed position from a year ago, the Rams placed a significant amount of their draft focus on the team’s secondary, which now is without a player with more than three full years of NFL experience. When the Rams take to the practice field for OTAs next week, they will do so with seven new faces among the team’s defensive backs. The Rams utilized second, fourth, and seventh-round picks on safeties and corners, converting a positional need to a surplus entering offseason workouts.
Headlining the group is former Florida State defensive back Lamarcus Joyner—who the Rams traded up to select in the second round—and safety Maurice Alexander, whose athleticism and superior tackling ability have made him a natural fit for a Gregg Williams-led defense.
The Rams were certainly not expected to make waves at either quarterback or at running back during the offseason, with
While Mason and Gilbert may not be charged with making an immediate impact in St. Louis, their selections pointed to a holistic approach to the offseason, one the Rams’ brass can take pride in as team activities near.
“We made the decisions,” Snead said in his first press conference following the completion of the draft.
“Obviously if you make them, you think they’re good. But, now is when all of us and the coaching staff and support staff, we’ve got to get together and spend energy making those decisions a success. I always say this: the work starts now, because these kids, they have ability and we picked them and we’re glad they’re here. Now it’s up to the organization to make them successful.”