Feldman: Rams must prove this regime can evaluate talent

Feldman: Rams must prove this regime can evaluate talent

Feldman: Rams must prove this regime can evaluate talent

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by Brian Feldman / FootballStL

KMOV.com

Posted on April 6, 2013 at 2:35 PM

(FootballStL) -- Seven wins in year one was great.  In fact, it was probably more than anyone not named Jeff Fisher could have predicted.  But in reality, this team won't take the next step until the overall talent level on the roster grows exponentially.
 
The disaster that was 15-65 was twofold.  It was a combination of little talent and even less leadership.
 
I think Jeff Fisher has proven one of those has been fixed.  Taking a team just a season removed from earning the number two pick in the NFL draft and having them on the cusp of the postseason a year later?
 
Um, ya.  He's a keeper.
 
Now what this organization must do - to really separate and distance itself from the 15-65 nightmare - is prove to the country and the city of St. Louis that it can draft well and develop impact talent.  There can be no more Adam Carrikers, no more Jimmy Kennedys, no more Tye Hills.
 
GM Les Snead and his scouts have to make these draft picks count.  And count big time.
 
The Rams have picks 16 and 22 in the first round courtesy of their blockbuster trade with the Washington Redskins last April.  If they don't get two bona fide starters, it will be a major fail and a step back.  Jeff Fisher can't do this alone.  He's a great coach, no doubt.  But he can't walk out onto the field and make plays.
 
As my old high school coach once said "I can lead you to water, but I can't make you drink".  It's so true.
 
In just a couple weeks when the draft occurs this organization needs to prove it can look at 19-year old college kids and figure out which ones can play in the NFL and which ones cannot.  Talent wins in this league.  Leadership and coaching are must haves, no doubt, but without talent you won't be doing much of anything.
 
This time of the year you hear many experts say how you have to draft the best player available regardless of position.  It cannot be stressed enough.  No one wants an inferior player simply because you have a perceived need at that position.
 
The Rams have strengths and they have weaknesses.  Would you rather have them draft a legitimate star who plays a position the Rams already have or get someone not quite that good who doesn't?  The answer should be easy.
 
These things have a way of working themselves out.  Take wide receiver for instance.  It's a need, no question about it.  With Danny Amendola gone it leaves just Brian Quick, Chris Givens and Austin Pettis as the primary pass catchers.  Another option is absolutely necessary.  But do you settle for, say, the fourth best wide receiver in the draft if the three you like (Tavon Austin among them) are already off the board?  Absolutely not.  You can find a receiver you like later in the draft where you'd get better value while going for someone who can help you more now in the first round.
 
What if St. Louis native and Mizzou DT Sheldon Richardson is still there?  Wide receiver is absolutely the more pressing need - especially compared to defensive tackle - but Richardson could easily take an already great pass rush and make it among the league's best.
 
Either way, this is where Jeff Fisher can't really help.  Sure, he knows talent.  But he hasn't been scouting these prospects for months upon months.  Fisher's job is to coach the players he's been given.
 
This is on Snead and his scouts.  If they deliver talent to Fisher, Fisher will deliver wins to the city of St. Louis.  Heck, maybe a championship.
 
But if they don't, I'm afraid there's not a whole lot the head coach can do other than what he's already done.

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