Petre Thomas

Rams' Draft Needs Include Upgrading Offense

The Los Angeles Rams could go into the 2016 Draft looking to upgrade an offense that ranked among the worst in the NFL this season.

The Los Angeles Rams will have several needs to address this offseason, either through free agency or the draft, and it starts with upgrading an offense that ranked among the worst in the NFL this season.

The Rams will pick 15th overall in the first round of the 2016 Draft and all signs point to the team needing to address its offense in the first round for the fourth consecutive year . 

In 2013 they made a deal with the Buffalo Bills to trade up to select explosive wide receiver Tavon Austin out of West Virginia University with the eighth overall selection. 

In 2014, the Rams had the second overall pick — the last remaining pick from the trade with Washington that the Redskins used to pick Robert Griffin III — and went with Auburn left tackle Greg Robinson

A year ago, St. Louis surprised many by using the 10th overall pick on Todd Gurley out of Georgia, a running back coming off a knee injury who turned out to be their best offensive player during the 2015 season.  

This year the Rams, coming off a 7-9 campaign, would be wise to use that first-round pick on either the best available quarterback or wide receiver. 

The early consensus is that three quarterbacks will be taken in the first round, with Jared Goff of California, Paxton Lynch of Memphis and Carson Wentz of North Dakota State as the likely candidates. Connor Cook of Michigan State and Christian Hackenberg of Penn State are also possible early-round picks. 

The Rams finished the season with Case Keenum, Nick Foles and Sean Mannion at quarterback, a trio that combined for 2,911 yards, 11 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. 

By comparison, the not-so-dynamic duo of Austin Davis and Shaun Hill combined for 3,658 yards, 20 touchdowns and 16 interceptions during the Rams’ six-win season in 2014. 

Rams coach Jeff Fisher has already said that Keenum, who will be a restricted free agent this offseason, will go into next year as the starter. But it makes sense for the Rams to add another quality quarterback if possible through the draft or free agency. 

If Los Angeles can’t upgrade at that position — it’s possible the top three QBs are all off the board when it is time for the Rams to pick — Fisher’s squad could also upgrade with a playmaking wide receiver. 

Austin led the Rams with 52 receptions in 2015. Kenny Britt led the team with 681 yards receiving, while tight end Jared Cook was next with 481 yards receiving.  

The Rams haven’t had a 1,000-yard receiver since Torry Holt in 2007. 

The top wide receiver prospects in the upcoming draft are Laquon Treadwell of Mississippi, Josh Doctson of TCU, Corey Coleman of Baylor, Mike Thomas of Ohio State, Will Fuller of Notre Dame, Tyler Boyd of Pittsburgh and Sterling Shepard of Oklahoma, among others. 

With three selections in the first 45 picks, it’s possible for the Rams to address quarterback and wide receiver as well as another possible need — defensive end and cornerback would probably be next depending on how re-signing their own free agents goes.

But if the Rams are going to break through in 2016 with their first winning season and playoff appearance in more than a decade, they are going to have to address an offense that ranked 29th in points (17.5) and last in both total yards (297.6) and passing yards (175.3) in 2015. 

You can follow Nate Latsch on Twitter at @NateLatsch or email him at natelatsch@gmail.com


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