After finishing 7-9 and missing the playoffs for the ninth straight season, the St. Louis have plenty of issues to address this offseason, starting with the upcoming NFL draft. The Rams have two first-round picks, including the No. 2 overall.
Should they trade up? Should they stick with Sam Bradford? Who’s going to make an impact for them next season?
cover32 Rams’ managing editor Spencer Engel answers those questions and more in our latest Behind Enemy Lines divisional segment.
What’s the single biggest question surrounding St. Louis at this very moment?
Spencer Engel: What to do with their two first-round picks. Everyone (including myself) keeps speculating about whether the Rams should trade their No. 2-overall pick that Washington was nice enough to hand over, but the Rams actually have many more options than that. They could keep the No. 2 pick and trade their own No. 13 pick.
They could do something similar to last year’s draft in which they moved out of both of their slots (their own No. 16 and the Skins’ No. 22). In that draft, the Rams traded up to No. 8 to snag Tavon Austin and then down to No. 30 to draft Alec Ogletree.
The possibilities this year are limitless.
What’s the No. 1 issue the Rams must address in the offseason?
Spencer Engel: I’m almost 100 percent sure they will stick with quarterback Sam Bradford, but still, the Rams must address the quarterback position. If they do stick with Bradford, then drafting a talented rookie backup in either the second or third round becomes essential just in case Bradford regresses next season or isn’t fully recovered from his torn ACL. If the Rams’ front office suddenly changes course and decides to move on from Bradford, then drafting a top-flight quarterback obviously becomes the No. 1 priority by a country mile.
Who’s a player to watch next year who’s under the radar?
Spencer Engel: Most average NFL fans have heard of the first cornerback the Rams took in the 2012 draft, Janoris Jenkins, who had an up-and-down 2013 campaign but still seems to have a bright future. However, not as many people know about the second cornerback the Rams took in the 2012 draft, Trumaine Johnson.
A third-round pick, Johnson was thrust into a starting role this season thanks to a Cortland Finnegan injury/flameout. Like Jenkins, Johnson also had an up-and-down season but had some really nice moments and showed plenty of promise. Expect Johnson to be the entrenched starter going into training camp next season. It will be his third season, so he has a great opportunity to prove himself a worthy starter for years to come.
Who’s a player who most certainly won’t be in a Ram uniform next year?
Spencer Engel: Here’s a hint: I briefly mentioned him in the last answer — Cortland Finnegan of course!
Finnegan has been a full-fledged disaster since signing a free-agent contract with the Rams two years ago. In his two seasons as a Ram, Finnegan has been paid around $25 million and has ranked at the very bottom of Pro Football Focus’s cornerback rankings. Needless to say, general manager Les Snead will gladly cut Finnegan as soon as he can, which he can do without any cap penalties.