Originally Published: September 2, 2010
Scott Rovak/US Presswire JOHN CLAYTON QB RANKING (30): The No. 1 pick in this year's draft, Sam Bradford has big-time talent but will be handcuffed by a questionable supporting cast. He'll start Week 1.

Expert Picks (Consensus: 4th)

Intelligence Report

Five things you need to know about the Rams:

1. Sam Bradford will play early: The Rams have loved what Bradford has shown them during practices. They're not really in position to bring him along slowly. The organization has new majority ownership and the past three seasons have produced only six victories. The Rams' backup, A.J. Feeley, knows the offense well, but the team isn't going anywhere with Feeley under center. Developing Bradford quickly must be the top priority, and that's going to happen with Bradford in the lineup, taking his lumps.

2. Mardy Gilyard could be fun to watch: The rookie fourth-round choice has a swagger to him, something the Rams could use. Gilyard could contribute working as a slot receiver, but his best chance initially could come as a return specialist. Gilyard has been gaining momentum in practices. He's bold, brash and unapologetic. The Rams like that about him. They're tired of playing the role of victim, and they think players with Gilyard's attitude can help them break free from their losing ways. It's not going to happen overnight, but Gilyard should make a few big plays as a rookie.

3. The offensive line must be good, or else: The Rams have done things the right way, at least in theory. They invested tens of millions in their offensive line a year before selecting their franchise quarterback first overall in the draft. The line was gaining momentum last season until injuries blew it apart. The projected starting five finally began working together in practices most of the way through training camp. The line will improve if the same five guys can stay on the field together. Anything less could undermine everything the Rams are hoping to accomplish. That's where the "or else" part comes into play. Ownership expects to see results.

4. The Rams resemble an expansion team: Running back Steven Jackson enters 2010 as the only Rams player with a Pro Bowl on his résumé. The rest of the league averages eight such players. The Rams entered their third exhibition game with only four players remaining from their 2005, 2006 and 2007 draft classes. Only the Detroit Lions had fewer with three. The Rams were the only NFL team without a single one of their first-round choices still on the roster from those classes. The division-rival 49ers have a league-high five such players, for the sake of comparison. The Rams face a long road back.

5. Danny Amendola isn't all that bad: The undersized receiver was miscast last season, playing too many snaps at too many of the receiving positions. The Rams hope to make better use of him from the slot. They think Amendola can become a productive player there. Amendola was one of the more impressive players in training camp. He was a force in the return game last season; he had a 93-yard return in the preseason. Expect a career season from him if he stays healthy.

-- Mike Sando, ESPN.com

Scouts Inc.'s Fabulous Five


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