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Friday, February 7, 2014
MVP replacements: St. Louis Rams

By Nick Wagoner

Whether it's a marquee QB or an interior defensive lineman, no team can afford to lose its most valuable player.

So, who steps in if the unfathomable happens? Our NFL Nation reporters and Scouts Inc.'s Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl have teamed up to identify each team's most important player and which player in the 2014 draft each team can target to groom as a potential replacement -- MVP insurance. For some teams, their future stars may be slightly younger than others as draft-eligible non-seniors are denoted with an asterisk.

Quinn
There is little doubt that St. Louis Rams defensive end Robert Quinn was the team’s most valuable player in 2013. His ascension in his third year elevated him to status as one of the league’s best defensive players.

Quinn has another year left on his rookie contract, and the Rams hold a team option for a fifth season, but they could find themselves in a spot where they have to make him the highest paid defensive player in the league or risk losing him.

Rams coach Jeff Fisher has long operated with the belief that you can never have too many pass-rushers, but he also doesn’t have any other players on the level of Quinn.

Behind Quinn, the Rams have one of the best third ends in the league in William Hayes, and a solid fourth end in Eugene Sims. The Rams could likely make do in the event of an injury to Quinn, but would undoubtedly miss his dominant presence.

The question for the Rams might not be whether they have enough insurance behind Quinn, but whether they can resist the temptation to add a piece that would make their backups better than most teams’ starters.

Potential pick: Kasim Edebali, DE, Boston College
General manager Les Snead will have an interesting decision to make regarding South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney with the second overall pick from a pure value standpoint if Clowney is still on the board. However, if Snead decides to address the position later on, Edebali could be an intriguing prospect in the late rounds. Though Edebali lacks ideal size and strength (6-1, 248) anchoring against the run, his quickness, hands and speed off the edge could allow him to make an impact as a situational pass-rusher early on.

-- Kevin Weidl