2014 49ers' Opponents Review and Preview: St. Louis Rams

David Welker

We take a look at the St. Louis Rams in anticipation of the upcoming season.

The Rams confused me last season. I suppose this means the 7-9 record is fitting for the team; and frankly, if they were in a worse division, I think they would probably be somewhere closer to 9-7. But, the Rams could occasionally look like one of the best teams in the league when they would unexpectedly knock off a playoff caliber team (like the Colts or the Saints). However, they also lost to the Cowboys and the Falcons (and the Titans). It was a bit of an up and down team.

A big part of their problem last season, and a big question to answer this offseason, has to do with QB Sam Bradford. He clearly has talent and the team is financially invested in him. Moreover, he has demonstrated flashes that he has what it takes for be an NFL QB. I really can't blame the Rams for continuing to bet on him. It's likely the right move. But, because he can't seem to stay healthy for a full season, back-up QB is an incredibly important position for the Rams. As we will see below, QB Kellen Clemens is a free agent. The Rams may try to bring him back, but I think they will probably draft a mid-round QB to groom just in case, regardless of what they do with Bradford and Clemens.

Defensively, the Rams were pretty solid according to Football Outsiders, who ranked them the 12th best defense in the league. That said, look for them to upgrade in a couple of spots that caused them trouble last season, including safety and (since they released the expensive Cortland Finnegan) maybe even CB.

Free Agents:

Kellen Clemens, QB; Brady Quinn, QB; Adam Henry, WR; Rodger Saffold, OL; Chris Williams, OL; Jo-Lonn Dunbar, LB; Will Witherspoon, LB; Matt Giordano, S; Darian Stewart, S; Shelley Smith, OL

Because the Rams have a chance to make some pretty nice picks in the draft, I wonder if they will take it easy in free agency. The team is young, which can be difficult in certain respects, but usually youth is an asset in this league. I imagine the Rams might want to stay young.

The guy they really need to bring back, however, is tackle Rodger Saffold. With problems at the T position already (Jake Long is working through ACL and MCL tears right now), they need to retain the talent already on the roster along the o-line, particularly since Bradford is made of really nice china.

The Rams approach free agency with $6,396,233 in cap space.

Draft Picks:

First round - Redskins: 2nd (RG3 trade)

First round - own: 13th

Second round - own: 12th (44th overall)

Third round - own: 11th (75th overall)

Fourth round - own: 10th (106th overall)

Fifth round - own: 13th (141st overall)

Sixth round - own: 12th (172nd overall)

Seventh round - own: 11th (203rd overall)

Seventh round - Colts: 26th (218th overall) (Josh Gordy trade)

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