EARTH CITY, Mo. -- The NFL draft is set to begin April 30 and the St. Louis Rams hold six picks in this year's selection process. For the next week and a half, we'll take a look at a different position every day with what the Rams have in place, what they need, when they might address it and some possible fits.
We continue the countdown with a look at this year's crop of safeties.
What's needed: This actually is the position on the defense that might have the most stability right now. While some might argue that the Rams could use an upgrade at free safety, they clearly are pleased with how McLeod has developed. They were impressed enough to give him a second-round tender as a restricted free agent and they could have designs on signing him to a long-term extension. McDonald is entering his third year and came on strong in the second part of the season. Barron still is finding his fit in the defense but the Rams used him more and more as the year went on. It wouldn't surprise to see more of the "big nickel" defense that Gregg Williams deployed late in the year with McLeod, McDonald and Barron on the field at the same time. Alexander and Davis remain as special teams contributors and the Rams still have hope for Alexander to develop into a defensive contributor. In the big picture, the Rams have a decision to make on Barron's fifth-year option before May 3 and must decide for sure if McLeod is indeed their long-term free safety.
Possible fits: It's probably a good year not to have any pressing needs at safety because, frankly, it's not a very good safety class. Alabama's Landon Collins is the highest-rated of the bunch and a likely late first-round pick. He's more of a box safety anyway and the Rams clearly are all set in that regard. Players such as Connecticut's Byron Jones, Miami (Ohio)'s Quinten Rollins and Utah's Eric Rowe are capable of playing either cornerback or free safety, but the Rams haven't expressed much interest in any of them.
Verdict: Barring someone the Rams have rated highly sticking out like a sore thumb on their board at some point in the draft, I don't expect the Rams to use one of their six picks on a safety. With five in place already and defined roles for all five, another safety simply doesn't make much sense at the expense of positions of more pressing need.