We’re a quarter way through the 2015 NFL regular season and just beginning to find out how teams might fare over the long road to the playoffs. In the meantime, team scouts and general managers are already feverishly planning for the 2016 NFL Draft in April. It’s never too early to take a peek at college football players, assess potential Rams needs and speculate about who the Rams may be interested in drafting come April.
St. Louis Rams Current Roster & Depth Chart
|C||Tim Barnes||Demetrius Rhaney|
|RG||Rodger Saffold||Garrett Reynolds|
|LG||Jamon Brown||Cody Wichmann|
|RT||Rob Havenstein||Andrew Donnal|
|LT||Greg Robinson||Darrell Williams|
|TE||Lance Kendricks||Cory Harkey|
|WR||Tavon Austin||Brian Quick||Bradley Marquez|
|WR||Kenny Britt||Stedman Bailey|
|RB||Tre Mason||Benny Cunningham|
|RB||Todd Gurley||Chase Reynolds|
|QB||Nick Foles||Case Keenum||Sean Mannion|
|DT||Aaron Donald||Nick Fairley|
|DT||Michael Brockers||Ethan Westbrooks|
|DE||Chris Long||William Hayes|
|DE||Robert Quinn||Eugene Sims|
|MLB||James Laurinaitis||Bryce Hager|
|OLB||Jo-Lonn Dunbar||Daren Bates||Alec Ogletree|
|OLB||Akeem Ayers||Cameron Lynch|
|CB||Janoris Jenkins||Marcus Roberson|
|CB||Trumaine Johnson||Lamarcus Joyner|
|SS||T.J. McDonald||Mark Barron||Maurice Alexander|
|FS||Rodney McLeod||Cody Davis||Christian Bryant|
|Practice Squad||Roster Exemption||Injured Reserve|
|DE Matt Longacre||RB Trey Watts||CB E.J. Gaines|
|DT Louis Trinca-Pasat||WR Isiah Ferguson|
|DT Doug Worthington|
|CB Melvin White|
|CB Eric Patterson|
|RB Malcolm Brown|
|FB Zach Laskey|
|WR Nick Toon|
|TE Justice Cunningham|
|OT Isaiah Battle|
St. Louis Rams 2016 Free Agents
Ranking The Rams’ 2016 Positional Needs
I ranked the Rams’ 2016 positional needs using the following criteria: potential Free Agent losses, potential position upgrades and potential for existing roster players reaching their potential/ceiling.
2016 NFL Mock Draft: St. Louis Rams – 4 Rounds
The accompanying chart presents the Rams’ 5 selections over 4 rounds in the 2016 NFL Draft:
|2.48||WR||Michael Thomas||Ohio State|
|2.52||CB||KeiVarae Russell||Notre Dame|
|4.112||FS||Deon Bush||Miami (Fla.)|
William Hayes and Eugene Sims are eligible for Free Agency in 2016. Chris Long will be 31 in March and is scheduled to have a $14.25 million salary cap hit in 2016 (the final year of his contract). It would come as no surprise if the Rams continued their recent history of drafting defensive linemen in the first round. Shawn Oakman is a physically imposing man (6’8″ – 280) who is freakishly athletic for his size. Oakman is by no means a finished product but has a very high ceiling. The Rams love drafting dynamic athletes.
Brian Quick becomes a Free Agent after the 2015 season. Chris Givens was traded for a 7th round draft pick. Thomas’ combination of size (6’3″ – 210), route-running skills and soft, dependable hands make him an attractive option for the Rams in the upcoming draft. His stock could rise rapidly between now and the draft.
The Rams will head into the offseason with much uncertainty surrounding the cornerback positions. Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson are eligible for Free Agency in 2016, and E.J. Gaines faces a long rehabilitation process after a season-ending ACL tear. Russell missed the 2014 season due to academic issues. As noted by CBS Sports draft expert Dane Brugler:
“Russell is a good-sized specimen with the profile to match up with bigger, physical targets as well as smaller receivers who rely on speed. He is a willing run defender with NFL-level ball skills, leading the Irish in passes defended (nine) in 2013, the last time he took the field for Notre Dame.”
The Rams devoted plenty of draft capital to the offensive line in the 2015 NFL Draft. The one position they neglected to address in the process was center. Tim Barnes is eligible for Free Agency in 2016 and Demetrius Rhaney is an unknown quantity. Voltz would represent an upgrade at the position and comes from a school known as an offensive line factory. Voltz follows in the distinguished footsteps of Peter Konz and Travis Frederick. Voltz excels at both run blocking and pass protection and has the size necessary to compete at a high level in the NFL (6’3″ – 312).
The Rams will have three safeties eligible for Free Agency after this season: Mark Barron, Cody Davis and Rodney McLeod. The Rams will need to add depth to a unit sure to be depleted by Free Agent losses. Bush is a tall (6′ 1″-205), physical and athletic specimen who should have little trouble making the leap to the NFL. The Hurricanes use him all over the field (on the blitz and in both run support and coverage). Just the type of safety the Rams covet.