The St. Louis Rams have a long way to go. They have needs all over the 80-man offseason roster, and haven’t made the playoffs since 2004.
Wide receiver: Brandon Gibson. Mike Sims-Walker. Laurent Robinson. Mardy Gilyard. Austin Pettis and Greg Salas. Danario Alexander, Mark Clayton, Donnie Avery, and Keenan Burton. These are just some of the retread types St. Louis has trotted out at receiver since Torry Holt’s knees gave out. Alexander and slot man Danny Amendola would be the Rams’ starting wideouts if the season began today.
Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon will surely be a consideration with the sixth overall draft pick, but the Rams could pass if they deem another available prospect a better football player than Blackmon. As opposed to targeting particular positions, St. Louis just needs guys who are good at football. They don’t have many.
Offensive line: Former No. 2 overall pick Jason Smith has been a bust of epic proportions at right tackle, and left tackle Rodger Saffold played poorly last season. The Rams’ starting left guard job is wide open. St. Louis needs to give quarterback Sam Bradford more weapons, but also must upgrade his pass protection.
Linebacker: The Rams have annually struggled to defend the run, and their attempts to find outside linebackers have failed miserably in recent seasons. St. Louis needs two starting outside linebackers. Newly acquired Jo-Lonn Dunbar is ideally suited for special teams, and middle man James Laurinaitis is the club’s only starting-caliber linebacker.
Defensive back: The Rams can get the most out of $50-million man Cortland Finnegan by playing him primarily in the slot, where Finnegan can cause havoc on blitzes and make plays in the backfield. The addition of a legitimate shutdown outside corner would allow Finnegan to play closer to the line of scrimmage and between the hashmarks. A safety to push coverage liability Darian Stewart would also be welcomed.