Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Brian Leonard's two-year run with the Rams ended when the team traded him to the Bengals for defensive lineman Orien Harris. The move, which the Rams confirmed, was another reminder that the team is rebuilding.
Two years ago, Leonard was a promising second-round choice, a player then-coach Scott Linehan thought had the size to hold in pass protection as a third-down back in addition to getting carries as Steven Jackson's backup. Linehan envisioned Leonard as a durable backup and situational player. Instead, injuries slowed and sidelined Leonard, limiting him to two games last season.
In retrospect, the coaching change from Linehan to Jim Haslett to Steve Spagnuolo diminished Leonard's value to the Rams. In Harris, the Rams are getting a 300-pound defensive tackle who played sparingly for the Bengals last season. Harris entered the NFL as a fourth-round choice of the Steelers under Bill Cowher in 2006. Is he a 3-4 end or a 4-3 tackle?
Harris has bounced from the Steelers to the Browns to the Saints to the Bengals to the Rams in less than four NFL seasons. Perhaps he can earn a spot in the Rams' rotation.
For the Rams, this trade appears to be about getting something in return for a player who didn't fit into the team's plans under a new staff. Leonard was listed as a fullback, but at 226 pounds, he wasn't a bruiser in the Mike Karney mold. The Rams used a seventh-round choice on Chris Ogbonnaya from Texas. They also have Antonio Pittman, Kenneth Darby and Sam Gado behind Jackson. Jerome Johnson, a rookie free agent from Nevada, gives the Rams two true fullbacks.