We’re just past the mid-way point of the 2015 NFL regular season. There’s still a lot of football to play, with many teams still in the playoff hunt (including the Rams). In the meantime, team scouts and general managers of all 32 teams 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|
|LG||Garrett Reynolds||Cody Wichmann|
|RT||Rob Havenstein||Andrew Donnal|
|LT||Greg Robinson||Darrell Williams|
|TE||Lance Kendricks||Cory Harkey|
|TE||Jared Cook||Justice Cunningham|
|WR||Tavon Austin||Wes Welker||Bradley Marquez|
|WR||Kenny Britt||Brian Quick|
|RB||Tre Mason||Benny Cunningham|
|RB||Todd Gurley||Chase Reynolds|
|QB||Nick Foles||Case Keenum||Sean Mannion|
|DT||Aaron Donald||Nick Fairley||Doug Worthington|
|DT||Michael Brockers||Ethan Westbrooks|
|DE||Chris Long||William Hayes|
|DE||Robert Quinn||Eugene Sims||Matt Longacre|
|MLB||James Laurinaitis||Bryce Hager|
|OLB||Mark Barron||Daren Bates|
|OLB||Akeem Ayers||Cameron Lynch|
|CB||Janoris Jenkins||Marcus Roberson|
|CB||Trumaine Johnson||Lamarcus Joyner|
|SS||Tim McDonald Jr.||Maurice Alexander|
|FS||Rodney McLeod||Cody Davis||Christian Bryant|
|Practice Squad||Injured Reserve||IR-Designated To Return|
|DE Gerald Rivers||CB E.J. Gaines||OLB Alec Ogletree|
|DT Louis Trinca-Pasat||OG Rodger Saffold|
|LB Zack Hodges||WR Isiah Ferguson|
|LB Matthew Wells||Reserve/Suspended|
|CB Melvin White|
|CB Eric Patterson||RB Trey Watts|
|RB Malcolm Brown||WR Stedman Bailey|
|FB Zach Laskey|
|WR Nick Toon|
|OT Isaiah Battle|
St. Louis Rams 2016 Free Agents
The following 21 players are currently eligible for Free Agency in 2016 (after this season). ERFA’s (Exclusive Rights Free Agents) have two or less accrued years in the league. RFA’s (Restricted Free Agents) have three accrued years in the league. UFA’s (Unrestricted Free Agents) have 4 or more accrued years in the league. In each instance, their contracts will have been fulfilled at the end of this season.
Ranking The Rams’ 2016 Positional Needs
The Rams’ 2016 positional needs are ranked using the following criteria: potential Free Agent losses, positions potentially in need of upgrades and assessing the possibility of existing roster players reaching their potential/ceiling.
2016 NFL Mock Draft: St. Louis Rams – 6 Rounds
The accompanying chart presents the Rams’ 6 selections over 6 rounds in this 2016 NFL Mock Draft. The Rams forfeited their 5th round pick when they selected Isaiah Battle in the 5th round of the 2015 NFL Supplemental Draft. Their 7th round selection was traded to the Houston Texans for QB Case Keenum. The Rams received Philadelphia’s 2nd round pick in the Sam Bradford/Nick Foles trade. My preliminary calculations suggest the Rams will not be receiving any compensatory picks in the 2016 NFL Draft. The draft order (#18) is an estimate based on the Rams’ current record.
|4.114||FS||Deon Bush||Miami (Fla.)|
Brian Quick becomes a Free Agent after the 2015 season. Will the Rams attempt to re-sign him? Chris Givens was traded for a 7th round draft pick. Stedman Bailey’s future with the Rams may be in doubt after a second suspension for violation of the NFL substance abuse policy. The Rams’ wide receiver corps could end up being a little thin after the 2015 season. Treadwell sits atop my early WR board. Watching him in action reminds me of a couple of players (in some respects): Anquan Boldin and Dez Bryant. An injury in 2014 and lack of blazing speed might hold down Treadwell’s draft stock enough to keep him outside the top 15 come draft day.
Alternate Pick: WR – Michael Thomas – Ohio State
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 selecting defensive linemen early in the draft (three first round picks in the past five years). 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 with higher ceilings. Oakman may slide back into the early second round due to minor off-field issues.
Alternate Pick: G/T – Vadal Alexander – LSU
Jared Cook is scheduled to have an $8.3 million salary cap hit in 2016. He could become a cap casualty if the terms of his contract aren’t renegotiated. Cory Harkey is eligible for Free Agency after the season. The Rams could be looking for Tight End help in the draft. Henry may be the top tight end prospect in the draft. He combines size (6’5″ – 253) with toughness and athleticism; the complete package for an NFL tight end. Henry is a mismatch in coverage and is used as both an in-line and move tight end by the Razorbacks. The Rams will covet his willingness and capability as a blocker.
Alternate Pick: S/LB – Su’a Cravens – USC
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 is no better than an average player. Backup 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).
Alternate Pick: TE – Jake Butt – Michigan
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.
Alternate Pick: C – Evan Boehm – Missouri
The Rams under Jeff Fisher and Les Snead are quite familiar with the concept of double-dipping at WR in the NFL Draft (Brian Quick/Chris Givens in 2012; Tavon Austin/Stedman Bailey in 2013). Garrett has prototypical size (6’3″-221), long arms and good leaping ability. He’s one of my early sleeper picks in the 2016 NFL Draft (as is the alternate selection Antonio Morrison).
Alternate Pick: ILB – Antonio Morrison – Florida
Laquon Treadwell: Great move and great one-handed catch