Rams remain open to all options for draft

BRISTOL, Conn. -- In the annual dodgeball game that is the pre-draft news conference, St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead didn't offer many clues to what they have planned for the 2015 NFL draft.

It's the same approach being taken all over the country by 31 NFL teams and all part of the misdirection that often takes place at this time of the year. So, when Fisher and Snead were asked about what they had planned, they provided the answer you would expect.

"We could move up, stay where we are or move down," Fisher said. "We have options."

Now that that's been cleared up, the next task is to use some deductive reasoning to figure out what might be most realistic. Fisher and Snead received plenty of questions on Tuesday afternoon but the answers remained the same from earlier in the offseason.

Of those, the most pressing issue remains the offensive line. At the NFL owners meetings in March, Fisher said he was unconcerned about a line that comes stocked with question marks. Greg Robinson is penciled in as the starting left tackle and Rodger Saffold figures to start at one of the guard spots.

From there, the Rams have options at center with Barrett Jones, Demetrius Rhaney and Tim Barnes. It's entirely possible one of those guys could start in the middle but only Barnes has any real playing experience in the NFL, so the Rams would be rolling the dice by banking on one of them.

That leaves two spots open, one at guard and one at right tackle. Fisher again reiterated the team is interested in bringing Joe Barksdale back, but clearly that's not going to happen before the draft, so it's possible the team has an eye on a potential replacement. And the team still needs a starter at guard with free agent Justin Blalock looming available.

Either way, Fisher and Snead still seem to be comfortable with how the offensive line situation is going to sort out.

"I feel good about it," Fisher said. "I feel good about the direction we're headed, and I'll feel much better when the weekend is over. I feel good about it. We have options, and there are still options out there. We're in constant communication with Joe Barksdale, for example. We have options out there. I think one of the perceived needs out there, outside our building from our perspective is O-line, and we feel good about where we are right now. We've got some good young players on our roster that you've not seen play or haven't played very much but we're developing players currently on our roster. We feel good about it."

While the Rams might believe they have some good young offensive linemen in place, Fisher is likely referring to the previously mentioned trio of centers. Otherwise, that would probably qualify as mostly coach speak.

At this point, it's pretty clear the Rams will be spending plenty of time looking at offensive linemen as the draft rolls on. They brought in more than a dozen college linemen during the pre-draft process and players such as Iowa's Brandon Scherff, Stanford's Andrus Peat and Miami's Ereck Flowers figure prominently in the discussion at No. 10.

And it wouldn't surprise if the Rams went for another offensive lineman on day two with names such as Duke guard Laken Tomlinson, South Carolina guard A.J. Cann and Pittsburgh tackle T.J. Clemmings as a few possibilities.

Regardless, it's clear the Rams believe they can patch many of their offensive line holes via the draft.

"You can rate the quality, but we felt depending on whether it's an 'A guy, B guy,' whatever it is, we thought there was a lot of linemen that could help any football team," Snead said. "I think that was a little bit of a guidepost as we went into the offseason."

As always, the Rams are open for business, though Snead offered his go-to line at this time of year Tuesday, saying the team is in the "flirting" stage of trade talks. There's no obvious choice that realistically figures to be available when they pick at No. 10 overall, which could mean they're left hoping for a trade down option. Given their recent history, a trade up can't be ruled out, either. After all, they've made four first-round trades in the past three years.

Either way, Snead and Fisher believe that no matter the avenue they choose to explore, they will be coming out with someone to help the team.

"When you're picking 10, there's going to be more than one good football player that you're staring at, just that's the nature of picking 10 versus somewhere a little bit later," Snead said. "There's flexibility and you fine tune it and like we said, best player available -- that's probably subjective based on what draftnik you ask and not counting the teams out there. Normally, at 10 there's going to be more than one good football player and I think at that point we'll try to make the best pick that helps this team."