Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Morning Ram-blings: Best up front?
By Nick Wagoner
EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Perhaps no team in the NFL has invested more in its defensive front seven than the St. Louis Rams.
Even after seemingly solidifying that group by using a first-round pick on linebacker Alec Ogletree in 2013, the Rams couldn't resist the temptation of defensive tackle Aaron Donald with their second first-round choice this year.
In the rough and tumble NFC West division, if you can't win up front then you have little chance of doing much damage. Fortunately for the Rams, they now have the pieces in place to be not only the best front seven in the NFC West but the NFL as a whole, at least according to Mike Tanier, of Sports on Earth.
It's no secret that the Rams employ one of the best defensive lines in the league led by ends Robert Quinn and Chris Long. That group isn't only talented but deep and Donald's addition adds a pass rushing element the interior previously lacked.
Middle linebacker James Laurinaitis and Ogletree were extremely productive in 2013 and though they have their limitations, should only be better as the defensive line continues to improve. The final piece of the front seven is linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar, who looks to return to his 2012 form after a down year in 2013.
In looking around the league, there are other teams better at linebacker and perhaps some with starting lines close to what the Rams are providing but in looking at the entire picture, including the depth on the defensive line, it's hard to argue with Tanier's ranking.
A roundup of Monday's Rams stories appearing on ESPN.com. ... In the Ram-blings, we began the week with a look at how defensive coordinater Gregg Williams will impact the team in 2014. ... From there, we examined how far along left tackle Jake Long is in his rehab and how the Rams are dealing with his absence in the meantime. ... Finally, we examined coach Jeff Fisher's comments on the idea of an NFL developmental league.
Field Yates provided the news that center Scott Wells reworked his contract and will be playing on a more cap-friendly deal in 2014.
Columnist Jeffri Chadiha writes that if the NFL wants to send a message to Colts owner Jim Irsay, it'll take away draft picks.
Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. takes an early look at next year's quarterback class.
At stltoday.com, Jim Thomas examines the early work of receiver Kenny Britt.
The Associated Press discusses Fisher's history of unconventional decisions.