Feldman: Rams must make protecting Bradford a priority

Feldman: Rams must make protecting Bradford a priority

Credit: Getty Images

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 22: Sam Bradford #8 of the St. Louis Rams throws against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on September 22, 2013 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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by by Brian Feldman / Football STL

KMOV.com

Posted on January 1, 2014 at 4:17 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 2 at 9:41 AM

Over the next few months you're going to hear a lot of different opinions.  You're going to hear why the Rams need this person or that person or they should do this with the #2 pick or that with the #2 pick.

The phrase "best player available" will be uttered at least 2.4 million times between now and May when the NFL Draft takes place in New York City.

Most, not all, points will have some validity to them.  Many will actually make a lot of sense.  But make no mistake about it.  Whatever the Rams do this offseason as far as upgrading their club, there is nothing more important than making the offensive line better.

Nothing.

I don't care if they take South Carolina DE Jadaveon Clowney with the second pick in the draft.  I don't care if they trade out of it for a boat load of selections later on or in future years.  But whatever happens, when all is said and done and training camp is slated to begin next summer, the St. Louis Rams offensive line better look a heck of a lot different than it does right now.

Sam Bradford can't reach his potential without having a solid running game to rely on and the time necessary to throw to his weapons.  There are many out there - myself included - who are starting to get a little bit antsy waiting for the former number one overall pick to play like he was supposed to when he was drafted back in 2010. 

Everyone typically delivers one of two things.  Either results or excuses.  But sometimes those excuses aren't actually excuses.  They're reasons.  And Sam Bradford has a few pretty good reasons why things haven't gone his way over the last couple years in St. Louis.

In addition, head coach Jeff Fisher is on record recently saying the Rams are good enough right now to compete in the tough NFC West defensively.  He said they need to score more points offensively to get where they need to be.  Think about that for a minute.  Jeff Fisher blatantly said this team is good as-is on defense. 

It's the offense that needs work.

Now, that doesn't mean they'll go this entire offseason and not touch the defense.  On the contrary, it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if they took Clowney or UCLA LB Anthony Barr in the top five.  But with Rodger Saffold a pending free agent and Jake Long coming back from a torn ACL and MCL in his right knee, the tackle position is anything but secure.  Plus, veterans Harvey Dahl and Scott Wells are anything but sure things either.

The free agent market could help alleviate some of the problems.  The draft certainly could as well.  But make no mistake about it.  There will be new faces along the offensive line in 2014. 

Lots of them.

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