<
>

Morning Ram-blings: O-line options

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- As myriad mock drafts continue to roll out around the Internet and elsewhere, the common choice for the St. Louis Rams with the No. 2 overall pick has almost exclusively been an offensive tackle.

Texas A&M's Jake Matthews and Auburn's Greg Robinson have been regularly linked to the Rams. It's a logical thought process given the Rams' likely needs on the offensive line heading into the 2014 season.

As stltoday.com columnist Bernie Miklasz pointed out Wednesday, things may not be so simple given the track record of Rams coach Jeff Fisher and drafting offensive linemen early. To be more precise, Fisher's history shows that drafting offensive linemen early is something he simply doesn't do.

In Fisher's 18 drafts as a head coach, he's never drafted an offensive lineman in the first round. The highest one of Fisher's teams has taken one is the selection of Michael Roos in the second round of the 2005 draft.

As Miklasz points out, that's a pretty strong history of not taking a lineman early.

However, it should also be noted that Fisher has rarely had need to spend an early pick on a lineman. He was blessed with cornerstone tackles capable of staying on the field with guys like Roos and Bruce Matthews. The Titans also did a good job of developing tackles such as Jon Runyan and David Stewart.

In Tennessee and now St. Louis, the Rams haven't hesitated to build the offensive line through free agency, either. Jake Long and Scott Wells were high-priced veterans added to the offensive line under Fisher.

Make no mistake, Rams offensive line coach Paul Boudreau is one of the best in the business. He's absolutely capable of taking lower-rated talent and molding it into productive NFL players. He's made a living doing it.

But imagine what Boudreau could do if he was given elite talent to shape. What could he do with a player with the mega upside of, say, Robinson? If he's turning lower-round picks and undrafted free agents into starters, wouldn't it stand to reason he could take an elite player and turn him into a perennial All-Pro?

There's a lot of time between now and May's draft but when it comes to drafting an offensive lineman early, especially a tackle, that's something the Rams have to consider. Especially with the understanding that they'll have to face the dominant front sevens in the NFC West six teams a year.

I.C.Y.M.I.

A roundup of Wednesday's Rams stories appearing on ESPN.com. ... In the Ram-blings, we took a look at some comments from Torry Holt on how the Rams should approach this year's draft. ... Next, we explored some of the decisions the Rams have waiting before they get to free agency. ... Then came the long-awaited news that the Rams have finally named Gregg Williams as defensive coordinator. ... Finally, we looked at how Cleveland's hiring of Ray Farmer as general manager could have an effect on the Rams' draft.

Elsewhere:

At stltoday.com, Jim Thomas offers up more on the news of Williams' hiring.

At 101sports.com, Rams COO Kevin Demoff tells 101 ESPN that ticket prices will remain the same in 2014 along with some other tidbits.

Daniel Jeremiah, of NFL.com, provides his latest mock draft.