Let’s get straight to it!
What part of the defense needs the most attention in the offseason? – @cubbuenning
Good question. If we’re strictly talking about what do the Rams, on paper, need to improve the most, the answer is quite clearly the secondary. Despite a very good pass rush all season, the Rams’ secondary still ranked near the bottom in the league in completion percentage allowed and quarterback rating allowed to opposing teams.
I’ve already made the case that safety Rodney McLeod is not an NFL caliber starter, so you could see the Rams potentially draft a safety pretty high in the draft. Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix has generated a lot of buzz, for example. As for free agent options, Pro Bowl safeties Jairus Byrd and T.J. Ward might both hit the market, so if the Rams can find the cap dollars (not exactly an easy task), they might consider that option.
However, my colleague Ted Bryant recently wrote that the Rams should build their offseason strategy around beating Seattle (which would theoretically help the Rams be more competitive with San Francisco as well). Bryant argued that the Rams should beef up their offensive line as well as invest in some high-profile playmakers on offense, such as Sammy Watkins. I think you could go the other way though. Both the 49ers and Seahawks have proved that a team can never have too many pass-rushers. So don’t be totally surprised if the Rams stand pat at no. 2 and pick defensive end Jadeveon Clowney or if they trade back a few spots and select UCLA outside linebacker Anthony Barr.
Both those guys could immediately step in, learn from the already enormously productive pass-rushers the Rams employ, and help terrorize Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson for a quarter of the Rams’ seasons for years to come.
Are the Rams likely to make the Super Bowl in 2014? John Clayton thinks so.