Take a glance at the Rams’ roster and you’ll think two different people put together the offense and defense. The majority of the team’s core is on the defensive side, as are the Pro Bowl appearances and the quality of depth at nearly every position.
It’s no surprise that the defense will lead the Rams once again in 2015.
That said, the offense still needs attention.
Even after selecting four offensive linemen in the latest Draft, the Rams shouldn’t stop adding to the line this offseason.
A defense already stacked with five former first-round picks and plenty of pass-rush ability added Nick Fairley and Akeem Ayers in free agency, so why should the Rams shy away from seeking the services of veteran guard Justin Blalock on the other side of the ball now that the draft is complete?
St. Louis cast a wide net in adding offensive linemen in the 2015 Draft, taking Wisconsin offensive tackle Rob Havenstein in the second, Louisville guard/tackle Jamon Brown in the third, Iowa offensive tackle Andrew Donnal in the fourth, and Fresno State guard Cody Wichmann in the sixth.
The scouting reports on all four players show they’re more advanced in run-blocking than in pass protection.
This plays into the identity that coach Jeff Fisher seeks for his offense.
Assuming the Rams’ thought process was that if they drafted four offensive linemen, at least one immediate starter would emerge from the group, if not more.
Not a bad strategy, and it was encouraging to see them continue to draft O-linemen after adding Havenstein and Brown.
That said, if the Rams had addressed their needs in free agency, they could have concentrated on drafting the best player available in each round, as opposed to zeroing in on one position.
More on that here.
That doesn’t mean the Rams’ window of opportunity has closed, though. I’m not sure why Blalock remains a free agent, but if he’s seeking comfortability and a starting job, St. Louis offers both.
Bonus: Blalock is already familiar with offensive line coach Paul Boudreau from their days in Atlanta, and he could slide right into the team’s opening at left guard.
The Rams can’t afford to take the risk of starting second-year project Greg Robinson next to a rookie. The same can be said for starting rookies side-by-side on the right side if Rodger Saffold were to man the left guard position.
Fisher may feel as though Havenstein and Brown have all the potential in the world, but an offensive line combination of Robinson, Saffold, Havenstein, Brown and Tim Barnes/Demetrius Rhaney/Barrett Jones is a scary proposition for a team with expectations to win in 2015.
There’s not a lot of starting experience in that group.
Bringing back Scott Wells and/or Jake Long isn’t the answer. Both are injury risks that don’t represent upgrades.
Blalock, on the other hand, has only missed three games since entering the league in 2007 and would provide an immediate upgrade over Davin Joseph along the interior.
The offensive line would still be a question mark with the addition of Blalock, but at least Nick Foles could rest a little easier knowing the group in front of him would grow by 125 starts.
Whether starters or depth, winning teams never stop adding quality pieces to their roster.
The Rams understand this on defense, but fail to grasp the concept at times on offense. The man running the defense would look at Blalock and have zero hesitation signing him to a contract, because Blalock makes the team better.
Let’s see if the person running the offense feels the same way.