Whether the Rams draft for need or follow a strict best-player-available strategy, at the end of the day Rams fans won't be happy unless the safety position has been markedly upgraded.
In keeping with Brennan's review of the top safety prospects for the Rams in the draft, an internal poll (taken before Brennan's article published) firmly places "please, please, please, anyone but Craig" at the top of our needs list. I would have ranked "fixing the defense" slightly below "fixing the offensive line" earlier this season, but it appears that the pair of problems at left guard and right tackle split the vote.
Votes and comments from five of our writers after the break. This also marks the debut of two new writers on the site, Andy Selvy and Michael Lasquero. Both will be contributing draft content over the next few months. As you can see, while we have a ranking, we don't have a consensus. What are your top five?
1. FS - The biggest hole on defense, and the one that most needs filling with an elite prospect.
2. LG - I'm being opportunistic here. Tackle is arguably a bigger need, but more top-shelf talent here.
3. RT - See point two. Must improve over Boo Richardson.
4. CB - Bradley Fletcher a likely cap casualty. I fully expect Fisher to draft a replacement.
5. WR - Let Givens & Quick develop, possibly resign Gibson for cheap, draft a slot guy as Danny Insurance.
1. FS - Craig Dahl is probably the worst starting defensive player in the league at his position. Grabbing a playmaking safety to compliment already talented defensive backfield would be huge.
2. OG - Left guard has seemingly been a problem since the GSOT days and any offensive line upgrade is a plus to help Bradford.
3. TE - Lance Kendricks made huge strides as a blocker and H-back, but offense still needs a pass catcher to create mismatches for Bradford.
4. RT - Still a huge need, but depth problems in the draft make me question if it's worth reaching on less talented prospects.
5. WR - Tons of depth in the second round to get a guy like Da'rick Rogers, De'Andre Hopkins or Steadman Bailey. Need a guy to push Quick and compliment Givens, especially if Gibson or Amendola leave.
I think it is hard to say until we see who gets resigned as a free agent and who is available for the first 3 picks. Trying to take that out of the equation I would go with:
1. FS – the fact that Stewart couldn’t get on the field over Dahl says enough about his development and I believe both will be gone. Even though there are some free agents at this position, the draft is so deep it would seem silly not to spend the 2nd first, 2nd or 3rd round pick on an upgrade. I wouldn’t be disappointed if they drafted 2 safeties (i.e. Vaccaro 1B, Rambo 3)
2. LG – Fisher wants to be a run first team. They need a road grader to open up some holes and by addressing this position it makes the RB need lessened as a great line can make a decent back a good one. I have been on the Warmack bandwagon all year.
3. SLB – I understand the argument that this position doesn’t play every down but they can do better than Haggan and McIntosh. Someone who can double as a DE in passing situations would have value in rounds 4-5
4. WR – I would not draft a truly developmental guy so this must be a round 1-3 pick a’la K Allen, J Hunter, D Rodgers, Bailey etc. I think one will fall and someone like Hunter in Rd 2 or Bailey/Rodgers in Rd 3 would be huge value and fill a need.
5. TE – I was tempted to go Tackle, but the high end depth is so thin people will be reaching. If there is no value match for receiver then I would be just as happy with a big TE, but only through the first few rounds. If you can’t get Eifert or Ertz, not sure the next tier offers good value over other needs.
Other notes – agree RT is a big need but with the weak group in the draft I would look for free agents instead. Could get lucky and someone like Ricky Wagner could drop to the 4th, but I wouldn’t count on it.
1. Safety - Craig Dahl had one pick and I don't recall Mikell getting a INT. we need playmakers at the safety position, guys that are effective in coverage and can free up JL to do his thing against the run.
2. RT - I think Saffold has showned to be an above average LT and I say give him one year to see if he is injury prone. Upgrading Right Tackle will help the run game and let Kendricks do more work catching the ball.
3. OG - Jeff Fisher wants to run the ball, nuff said.
(Talk about Jeff Fisher not taking a OL in the first round cracks me up. Rookie cap makes it not that big of a deal. We need our future OLineman to be youngsters because good teams don't let the good OL get away and the ones who do go into FA get ridiculous contracts. Imagine what our cap space could have been in years prior if we didn't sign Brown and Bell.)
4. CB - if we lose Fletcher, cornerback depth looks thin and we definitely do not a repeat of 2011
5. TE - a receiving tight end that will go up and get almost every ball. Would like them to have good speed too.
KR/PR - I don't want Danny, Givens, Jenkins getting injured returning kicks. Pead sucks too. Need to help our average starting field position
OLB - not necessarily important since we'll be in Nickel but I'd like to see an heir to Dunbar and someone to pair with JL for the future.
DT - later round pick on a physical specimen would be cool. Project player that we could coach up.
I always like to offer a different perspective, and in this case I will.
1. I am going WR because I think the position is no where near as strong as safety in this year's draft. Additionally, the position itself can have such a huge impact on our win total, much more so than safety. In fact, if we can score 14 more points per game, we can keep Craig Dahl who gives up at least 7 a game (yes, a slight exaggeration). Is Vaccaro that much better then the next 9 safeties. I say no.
2. With the 2nd first round pick, I would take a tackle and/or a guard. This is partially dependent on who is available.
3. I take a strong safety - Why? Our safeties are worse than smelling your grandfather shoes after a long day outside.
4. I take a free safety - Why? See point 3.
5. I take another offensive lineman. We want to run the ball and we want Sam Bradford to improve. If you want both, get more offensive lineman then you need. Then we will finally be able to play people we want and not just the person we have. (ex. Barry Richardson)