Thursday, June 28, 2012
Why the Rams need help at outside LB
By Mike Sando
The St. Louis Rams have been hurting at outside linebacker for some time.
One obvious reason: The team hasn't used higher than a seventh-round choice for an outside linebacker since using a 2006 third-rounder for Jon Alston, who played three games for the team and was gone after one season.
The trend continued this year when the Rams used a seventh-round choice, 209th overall, for Hawaii outside linebacker Aaron Brown.
The Rams are set at middle linebacker after using a 2009 second-round choice for James Laurinaitis, who has started all 48 games over three seasons.
The chart shows the Rams' starting linebackers over the past three seasons, according to Pro Football Reference. Of those listed, only Laurinaitis remains with the team. No other linebacker on the roster has started a game for the Rams. Some players listed in the chart started additional games for the team before 2009.
The Rams could not realistically address all their needs with the available resources this offseason. Outside linebacker remains a position they'll have to address in the future, presumably with something more valuable than the seventh-round choices they used for Brown (2012), Jabara Williams (2011), inside linebacker Josh Hull (2010), Chris Chamberlain (2008) and David Vobora (2008).
St. Louis is the only team to use no picks in the third through sixth rounds for a linebacker since 2007. The team has used a league-high five seventh-rounders for the position over that span. Free-agent additions Jo-Lonn Dunbar, Rocky McIntosh and Mario Haggan are among the leading candidates to start at outside linebacker.