The St. Louis Rams finished the 2010 season with a 7-9 record, narrowly missing what would’ve been their first playoff berth since ’04. Things are looking up in the Gateway City with a franchise quarterback and young, bookend tackles to protect Sam Bradford in a weak division. But this is still one of the NFL’s least talented rosters.
WR: The Rams should be able to re-sign free agent Mark Clayton, but he is coming off a torn patellar tendon and hardly a lock for future impact. Danario Alexander has a five-times surgically repaired left knee and is a poor bet for a long career. Danny Amendola is a fine slot option, but he’s the only player at the position worth counting on for next season.
DE: Former No. 2 pick Chris Long has quietly developed into one of the league’s most effective pass rushers, but there’s little to speak of behind him. James Hall turned 34 in February, and he’s more likely to hit the skids than repeat his fluky 11-sack season. C.J. Ah You, George Selvie, and Eugene Sims are middling-to-poor talents.
S: The Rams released O.J. Atogwe, leaving a safety depth chart topped by former undrafted free agents Craig Dahl and Darian Stewart. Due a $3 million 2011 salary, burnable veteran James Butler could follow Atogwe out the door. Coach Steve Spagnuolo doesn’t highly value the safety position, but it’s undoubtedly one of the weakest spots on the roster.
G: St. Louis is theoretically set with Rodger Saffold and Jason Smith at offensive tackle, but guard is a problem area. The coaching staff has shown little trust in former third-round pick John Greco, and incumbent right guard Adam Goldberg was one of the worst linemen in football last season. The Rams are known to have interest in Baylor’s Danny Watkins.
Overview: Running back is another potential trouble spot after Steven Jackson averaged a career-low 3.76 yards per carry. Defensive tackle could also use replenishment. But we’ve tried to limit these write-ups to four need areas.
G.M. Billy Devaney has a lot of work to do. The Rams can remain competitive in their division with the roster as is, but they won’t make a move in the NFC without continuing to upgrade their top-to-bottom talent.