Scouts Inc.: Three concerns for Rams

February, 24, 2011
2/24/11
1:00
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Outside Linebacker: James Laurinaitis has become a rock in the middle of the St. Louis Rams defense and a great all-around player. But just imagine what head coach Steve Spagnuolo could do with a dynamic do-it-all outside linebacker to add to the defensive equation. To me, this is the one position that St. Louis should make the most significant upgrade. I am talking about adding a real difference-maker. David Vobora, Chris Chamberlain and Bryan Kehl are each adequate, and Vobora is a free agent.

Offensive Line: There is a lot of talent at offensive tackle and in time, St. Louis very well could have the best set of bookends in the league in Jason Smith and Rodger Saffold. But overall, the protection wasn’t great. That should improve, especially as quarterback Sam Bradford and the tackles mature. But this group really didn’t do a very good job of opening holes for running back Steven Jackson either. Adding more weapons on the outside to get defenders away from the line of scrimmage would help. Getting nasty versatile John Greco into the starting lineup at right guard might help, too. But so far, the talent here is far greater than the production.

Pass-Catchers: Many see wide receiver as the glaring No. 1 need for the Rams. I don’t totally disagree, but I think the foursome of Mark Clayton, Donnie Avery, Danario Alexander and Danny Amendola certainly can get the job done. Clayton is a free agent and I would very much advocate getting him locked up. It isn’t perfect and I don’t see a true No. 1 wide out in the bunch, so drafting a guy like Alabama’s Julio Jones would be hard to argue with. But to me, I would rather add a dynamic tight end (Owen Daniels and Zach Miller come to mind) in free agency for Bradford to lean on in the middle of the field. A quality tight end can be a young quarterback’s best friend.

Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.

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