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2013 ST. LOUIS RAMS PREVIEW

June 27, 2013
INDIANA SPORTS PAGE



2013 ST. LOUIS RAMS FOOTBALL PREVIEW

 

St. Louis Rams (2000 - Pres)

 

LAST YEAR: 7-8-1, 3RD IN THE NFC WEST 

HEAD COACH: JEFF FISHER, 2ND SEASON 

The Rams went 4-1-1 within the division in 2012 and Coach Jeff Fisher is making enough moves to make St. Louis even more dangerous, not just in the division, but overall in the NFL.   In his two seasons with the Rams, Fisher has done some great things to improve one of the worst teams in the league to a team that has become very respectable.  But before we put the Rams in the playoffs, they must find a way to survive without RB Steven Jackson.  Jackson wasn’t willing to hang around for the Rams to officially turn the corner and he bolted for Atlanta. 

QB Sam Bradford may not have Jackson but he has a new LT in Jake Long who signed as a free agent from Miami.  Long will give Bradford the kind of protection he hasn’t had since joining the Rams.  Bradford will also have a new TE in Jared Cook (Tennessee), WR Tavon Austin out of West Virginia and his college teammate Stedman Bailey.  Austin was perhaps the top playmaker in this year’s NFL draft and he can score every time he touches the football.  Bailey and Austin combined for almost 3,000 yards receiving in 2012.  So we know the Rams can throw the football but who will run the ball?  The names Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead will get the call.  Both were drafted in the 2012 NFL draft. 

Coach Fisher spent a tremendous amount of time in his first two seasons trying to rebuild the Rams defense, specifically the pass defense.  They improved to 15th in the NFL last season and should be better in 2013.  Veterans Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins will be joined by third round selection T.J. McDonald out of USC.  McDonald struggled last season at Southern Cal and that’s why he slid into the third round.  Jenkins had plenty of off-the-field issues a year ago, but matured under Fisher in 2012.  LB Alec Ogletree was taken in the first round out of Georgia and fills a need at inside linebacker.  Ogletree is has a lot of natural talent and could be a game impact player.  The Rams defense is led by DE Chris Long and LB James Laurinatis. 

Fisher is making all the right moves to put the Rams in a position to make a move in the NFC West.  The problem is, San Francisco and Seattle are also in that division.  Yes, the Rams played well in the division, but can they repeat their success in 2013?

St. Louis Rams (2000 - Pres) 

2012 IN REVIEW:

 

TOTAL OFFENSE: 329.0 (23RD)

 

RUN OFFENSE: 107.1 (19TH)

 

PASS OFFENSE: 221.9 (18TH)

 

TOTAL DEFENSE: 342.6 (14TH)

 

RUN DEFENSE: 117.5 (15TH)

 

PASS DEFENSE: 225.1 (15TH)

 St. Louis Rams (2000 - Pres)

 

2013 RAMS DRAFT: 

Round 1

No. 8 - Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia

Of all the picks this year, none had the kind of pre-draft build up that Austin did. The Rams loved what they saw from Austin, and he's the kind of playmaker this offense hasn't seen in almost a decade, with the exception of Steven Jackson.

Austin is the first wide receiver drafted in the first round by the Rams since 1999 when the team picked Torry Holt. He is only the fifth receiver drafted in the first round in the history of the franchise.

No. 30 - Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia

He isn't the hardest hitter in the draft at his position, but he might just be the most exciting. As soon as the commissioner announced his name, Ogletree became the most athletic linebacker on the roster. He rounds out a tough front seven.

Round 3

No. 71 - T.J. McDonald, S, USC

Some felt like McDonald was not the best safety available at the time. However, this front office and coaching staff has earned the benefit of the doubt when it comes to defensive backs. He's a big guy at 6'2 219 pounds. He also happens to be a pretty hard hitter. We'll get to know more about his role through spring workouts and camp, but it looks like he'll be a starter from Week 1 this year.

No. 92 - Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia

Tavon's teammate from a Dana Holgosen's dynamic Air Raid offense. He's only 5'11, but everyone says he catches like a guy who stands 6'3 based on his ability to go up and get balls with his hands. He also happens to run routes well. If he can get up to speed quickly, he could turn into the possession receiver this offense needs.

Round 4

No. 113 - Barrett Jones, C, Alabama

Outside of Austin, this might be my favorite pick of the entire draft. Jones is part of that other-worldly Alabama offensive line, and one of Nick Saban's favorite players. He's nasty in the trenches. Tenacious doesn't describe do his play justice. He was an All-American and All-SEC center last year, which was his first season at the position. Oh, he has played all five positions on the line. With the Rams, he looks set for the middle, and could be competing for a starting guard spot this year. With Harvey Dahl and center Scott Wells both dealing with injuries, he could wind up at any one of three spots in the middle.

Round 5

No. 149 - Brandon McGee, CB, Miami

Classic Fisher corner here ... less than 6'0 tall and physical as hell on the field. He's compared to Jason McCourty, who Fisher drafted in the sixth round of the 2009 NFL Draft during his days with the Titans. He'll be the fourth corner on the depth chart, but could see some playing time as a slot guy.

No. 160 - Zac Stacy, RB, Vanderbilt

Fisher's "big back" measures 5'9 216 pounds and packs quite a wallop. He did 27 reps on the bench press, while running a respectable 4.53 40. He was a top performer among running backs on the bench and three-cone drill at the Combine. He finishes his runs well and hits his hole, which should be perfect for a time-sharing guy to work between the tackles.

"Zac is a very explosive runner," Snead said. "He averaged, I think, over six yards per carry in that conference, which is something to be said. He's an outstanding young man. He's smart. He's good out of the backfield. He's a pass protector. He's a complete back. He's a strong inside power runner that kind of gives us a change of pace. You can't have too many of these guys."

Seven players. It's not a major haul as far as the number of picks are concerned. What's interesting about it is that all seven players take immediately project to make the roster in 2013. That's a huge difference from past drafts, especially those conducted by front offices we'd prefer not to talk about.

Fisher put this draft class into the bigger picture, starting with trading the second pick last year right up through free agency this year.

"Les and his staff did a great job, just getting started and then we got the coaches involved," Fisher said. "From top to bottom, it couldn't have gone better for us. We certainly took advantage of what we started last year with, with the Washington trade. Obviously, we're looking forward to continuing again that next year. We feel like, not only through free agency, but also through the last three days that we've improved this football team with players that have played positions that create problems and help us to get better."

 

St. Louis Rams (2000 - Pres)

 

2013 RAMS SCHEDULE

 

Sep. 8 vs. Arizona Cardinals 4:25 p.m.
Sep. 15 at Atlanta Falcons 1 p.m
Sep. 22 at Dallas Cowboys 1 p.m.
Sep. 26 vs. San Francisco 49ers 8:25 p.m.
Oct. 6 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars 1 p.m.
Oct. 13 at Houston Texans 1 p.m.
Oct. 20 at Carolina Panthers 1 p.m.
Oct. 28 Seattle Seahawks (Mon) 8:40 p.m.
Nov. 3 vs. Tennessee Titans 1 p.m.
Nov. 10 at Indianapolis Colts 1 p.m.
BYE
Nov. 24 vs. Chicago Bears 1 p.m.
Dec. 1 at San Francisco 49ers 4:05 p.m.
Dec. 8 at Arizona Cardinals 4:25 p.m.
Dec. 15 vs. New Orleans Saints 1 p.m.
Dec. 22 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1 p.m.
Dec. 29 at Seattle Seahawks 4:25 p.m

 St. Louis Rams (2000 - Pres)

2013 RAMS ROSTER

 

Active

                       

  

#

  
  

Name

  
  

Pos.

  
  

Ht.

  
  

Wt.

  
  

Age

  
  

Exp.

  
  

College

  

50

Armstrong, Ray-Ray

LB

6-3

227

22

R

Miami

11

Austin, Tavon

WR

5-9

174

22

R

West Virginia

5

Baer, Brett

K

5-11

194

23

R

Louisiana-Lafayette

12

Bailey, Stedman

WR

5-10

193

22

R

West Virginia

68

Barksdale, Joe

T

6-5

329

25

3

LSU

61

Barnes, Tim

C

6-4

300

25

2

Missouri

51

Bates, Daren

LB

5-11

212

22

R

Auburn

16

Blake, Emory

WR

6-0

196

21

R

Auburn

8

Bradford, Sam

QB

6-4

224

25

4

Oklahoma

90

Brockers, Michael

DT

6-5

322

22

2

LSU

96

Brodine, Mason

DE

6-7

270

25

1

Nebraska-Kearney

69

Brown, Braden

OL

6-6

300

24

R

BYU

57

Brown, Sammy

LB

6-2

242

23

2

Houston

71B

Brown, Terrell

T

6-10

385

24

R

Ole Miss

10

Clemens, Kellen

QB

6-2

220

30

8

Oregon

71

Conrath, Matthew

DT

6-7

290

23

2

Virginia

89

Cook, Jared

TE

6-5

248

26

5

South Carolina

93

Cudjo, Jermelle

DT

6-2

311

26

4

Central Oklahoma

45

Cunningham, Benny

RB

5-10

210

22

R

Middle Tennessee

62

Dahl, Harvey

G

6-5

308

32

7

Nevada-Reno

37

Daniels, Matthew

S

6-0

211

23

2

Duke

9

Davis, Austin

QB

6-2

221

24

2

Southern Mississippi

38

Davis, Cody

S

6-2

204

24

R

Texas Tech

58

Dunbar, Jo-Lonn

LB

6-0

226

28

6

Boston College

31

Finnegan, Cortland

CB

5-10

188

29

8

Samford

42

Ganaway, Terrance

RB

6-1

240

24

2

Baylor

27

Giordano, Matt

DB

5-11

204

30

9

California

13

Givens, Chris

WR

6-0

198

23

2

Wake Forest

69W

Goebel, Garrett

DT

6-4

292

24

R

Ohio State

81

Graham, Cameron

TE

6-3

244

24

1

Louisville

46

Harkey, Cory

TE

6-4

260

23

2

UCLA

95

Hayes, William

DE

6-3

272

28

5

Winston-Salem State

6

Hekker, John

P

6-5

227

23

2

Oregon State

84

Helmick, Andrew

WR

6-0

192

22

R

Lindenwood

64B

Hooey, Sean

T

6-9

295

22

R

Cincinnati

56

Hull, Josh

SLB

6-3

245

26

4

Penn State

49

Hus, Jorgen

LS

6-1

232

23

R

Regina

21

Jenkins, Janoris

CB

5-10

193

24

2

North Alabama

3

Jenkins, Timothy

QB

6-1

200

22

R

Fort Lewis

14

Johnson, Nick

WR

5-11

187

23

1

Henderson State

22

Johnson, Trumaine

CB

6-2

204

23

2

Montana

67

Jones, Barrett

OG

6-4

306

23

R

Alabama

88

Kendricks, Lance

TE

6-3

247

25

3

Wisconsin

98

Langford, Kendall

DE

6-6

295

27

6

Hampton

79W

Lapuaho, Al

DT

6-2

301

21

R

Utah State

55

Laurinaitis, James

LB

6-2

250

26

5

Ohio State

64W

LeBeau, Joseph

LB

6-1

245

21

R

Jackson St.

59

Lee, Ryan

G

6-3

308

24

1

Furman

91

Long, Chris

DE

6-3

270

28

6

Virginia

77

Long, Jake

T

6-7

319

28

6

Michigan

43

Lutzenkirchen, Philip

TE

6-3

258

22

R

Auburn

43W

Martin, Andre

DB

5-10

195

23

R

North Dakota St.

25

McDonald, T.J.

FS

6-2

219

22

R

USC

32

McGee, Brandon

CB

5-11

193

22

R

Miami

23

McLeod, Rodney

S

5-11

183

23

2

Virginia

89

McNeill, Mike

TE

6-4

235

25

3

Nebraska

44

McQuaide, Jake

LS

6-2

247

25

3

Ohio State

60

Nsekhe, Ty

T

6-8

325

27

1

Texas State

52

Ogletree, Alec

LB

6-3

242

21

R

Georgia

24

Pead, Isaiah

RB

5-10

197

23

2

Cincinnati

18

Pettis, Austin

WR

6-3

207

25

3

Boise State

33

Pointer, Quinton

DB

5-9

186

25

2

UNLV

87

Potter, Zach

TE

6-7

265

27

5

Nebraska

86

Prince, Colby

TE

6-5

257

24

R

Oregon State

83

Quick, Brian

WR

6-3

220

24

2

Appalachian State

94

Quinn, Robert

DE

6-4

264

23

3

North Carolina

84

Radway, Raymond

WR

6-3

204

25

2

Abilene Christian

34

Reynolds, Chase

RB

6-0

200

25

1

Montana

26

Richardson, Daryl

RB

5-10

196

23

R

Abilene Christian

99

Rivers, Gerald

DE

6-5

249

23

R

Ole Miss

76

Saffold, Rodger

T

6-5

314

25

3

Indiana

79B

Saia, Kevin

C/G

6-2

310

23

R

Louisiana Tech

92

Sims, Eugene

DE

6-6

265

27

3

West Texas A&M

48

Smith, Cannon

DB

6-0

205

22

R

Memphis

66

Smith, Shelley

G

6-4

297

26

3

Colorado State

30

Stacy, Zac

RB

5-8

216

22

R

Vanderbilt

36

Steeples, Robert

CB

6-2

190

23

R

Memphis

47

Stevens, Eric

RB

6-0

242

23

R

Cal

53

Steward, Phillip

LB

6-1

235

22

R

Houston

20

Stewart, Darian

S

5-11

214

24

3

South Carolina

59

Stewart, Jonathan

ILB

6-3

245

22

R

Texas A&M

41

Thomas, Drew

CB

5-9

188

23

R

UTEP

70

Washington, Brandon

G

6-4

320

24

R

Miami

92

Washington, R.J.

DE

6-3

270

24

R

Oklahoma

73

Watkins, Rokevious

G

6-3

338

24

R

South Carolina

63

Wells, Scott

C

6-2

300

32

9

Tennessee

65

Williams, Chris

T

6-6

320

27

5

Vanderbilt

52

Williams, Jabara

LB

6-2

238

23

R

Stephen F. Austin St.

35

Woodard, Darren

CB

5-11

175

23

R

UTEP

4

Zuerlein, Greg

K

6-0

187

25

R

Missouri Western


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