As much as Lions DT Donkey Kong Suh is the better player and was the better prospect, the Rams made the right choice in drafting Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford. This kid looks amazing, and it shouldn't be a shock considering he looked amazing in college. It turned out going back to his senior year, hurting his shoulder, and essentially missing his entire last year didn't hurt him one bit. He still was the #1 pick in the draft and he still plays like nothing ever happened to him.
Bradford set the rookie record with the most completions, most pass attempts without an interception, and for most times me fawning over him in Box Score Tonight's. In the biggest game of his pro career, the Rams Week 17 game against Seattle, he looked amazing but his receivers were just awful. I don't think there's a synonym of "bad" that's strong enough to explain how putrid the Rams receivers are. (Although putrid is pretty darn close). The Rams two best receivers are Donnie Avery and Mark Clayton- who played a combined four total games. Both receivers should be healthy which can only help in Bradford's development. Illinois rookie tight end Michael Hoomanawanui also looked like a really good target for Bradford (in the few games he was healthy) and he's a guy whom the Rams really like. But even with those players back, the Rams still probably have the second worst receiving corps (right ahead of the Browns).
Steven Jackson is a stud but was hampered by an atrocious offensive line which ranked 25th in run blocking but 10th in pass blocking.
St. Louis improved their defense from 2009 to 2010, but it wasn't THAT hard to do considering they had the second worst defense two years ago. To be honest, I can only name two players on St. Louis's defense and that's only because 1) I looked up the defense and 2) both players were high first round draft picks in James Laurentis and Chris Long. According to Advanced NFL Stats, Laurentis was the 7th best linebacker and Long was the 8th best defensive end so these players are coming into their own and are becoming worth their first round draft pick. The team has some other nice complementary parts like cornerback Bradley Fletcher and safety Oshiomoghho Atogwe but all of those pieces can be replaced easily.
Despite the NFC West being wide open for the taking, the Rams first priority needs to be the development of Sam Bradford. Even if every Ram takes a huge step forward, this team is still not close to making it to the Superbowl. Winning the division and a playoff birth is nice, but this team needs to focus long term because they have the chance to make multiple playoff runs. So while an elite defensive player might help this term in the short run (granted also probably the long run) I think the Rams need to focus on Bradford first and the overall team second. Plus, there's no reason the Rams can't do both- they DO HAVE six more rounds after this plus free agency.
Therefore, I think the Rams need to choose between an offensive lineman or a wide receiver. An elite offensive lineman will ideally not only give Bradford more time to throw but also open up rushing lanes for Steven Jackson (and a more effective Steven Jackson should lead to a more effective Sam Bradford). But I look at the way Bradford played this year with his average line and the one obstacle in his way was his receivers. Plus, if Bradford becomes more effective that in turn will open up for rushing lanes for Jackson. That's why I think the Rams should go wide receiver here. And there's one prime for the taking: Alabama's Julio Jones.
While reading the scouting report in him there are some things that make me questioon why he's a first rounder. Things like
Flashes strong hands but has some inconsistency in this area. Can allow balls into his frame on occasion, resulting in drops. Also needs to do a better job of securing the ball in trafficBut at the other end things like a number one ranking for his big play ability and "Willing to work the middle of the field" are great skills that will only help Bradford. If Jones is an elite of a receiver as "experts" are making him out to be, then I can foresee Rick Blaine saying to them "This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship"
Despite the fact they were really two drops away from a playoff birth, this is still not that good of a team, and like all bad teams, they need any defensive player they can get
- Offensive Lineman