Feldman: Jason Smith the epitome of Rams' struggle

Feldman: Jason Smith the epitome of Rams' struggle

Credit: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

ST. LOUIS - SEPTEMBER 11: Jason Smith #77 of the St. Louis Rams takes the field against the Philadelphia Eagles at the Edward Jones Dome on September 11, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

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by Brian Feldman / FootballStL

KMOV.com

Posted on August 28, 2012 at 4:46 PM

(FootballStL) -- This trade tells you everything you need to know about the previous regime before Les Snead and Jeff Fisher.  This trade tells you everything you need to know about why the Rams have won just 15 games in the last 5 seasons.
 
Heck, this trade tells you everything you need to know about how far they have to go before they're playoff contenders once again.
 
Take a look at the 2009 NFL Draft.  The Rams made seven selections.  One in each round.  Well...we're entering the 2012 season where that crop should be the backbone of this team.  They've had two full years to learn the ropes of the league and now they should be ready to contribute.
 
After the Rams traded the 1st round pick from that year (2nd overall) Jason Smith to the Jets, take a guess how many are left?  And I'm not talking about how many are starting or even in the mix for playing time.
 
How many are left on this roster, period?
 
Two.  Though, to be fair, one of them is superstar MLB James Laurinaitis.
 
That's it.  Two players from a draft held just 41 months ago.  That's hardly enough time for most guys to simply get accustomed to life in the NFL.
 
Bill Parcells used to say after one disappointing season for a rookie you give them the benefit of the doubt because they're, well, rookies.  After two disappointing seasons?  You start to get concerned but don't completely give up hope.  After three?  That's it.  If you can't play after three years then you just can't play at all.
 
Well, five players the Rams took in 2009 didn't even make it the full three years.  Heck, a lot of them didn't even make it two.
 
If you're looking for reasons why the Rams are having problems digging their way out of a 15-65 hole...that's it right there, folks.
 
Bad drafting is bad drafting is bad drafting.  You can't build teams through free agency because too many players are older and overpriced.  And in the age of the salary cap, it's impossible to afford a full team of free agent pickups.
 
You have to have young, cost-effective draft picks who can play a big role in winning games while offsetting the higher priced veterans.   It's the only way to win.  If you don't draft well, you don't win.  End of story.
 
Billy Devaney lost his job because there was next to zero talent on the roster at the conclusion of last season's disaster.  I don't care if you've got Vince Lombardi as your head coach.  No one is going to contend for a championship with that little talent.
 
Owner Stan Kroenke hopes Les Snead and Jeff Fisher can reverse that trend and start bringing in actual NFL-caliber starters via the draft.  It is way too early to tell how they did in their first attempt.  1st rounder Michael Brockers will start right out of the gate at defensive tackle while 2nd rounder Janoris Jenkins will probably do the same thing at cornerback.  WR Brian Quick has the potential to be a good one eventually, as does RB Isaiah Pead, WR Chris Givens and CB Trumaine Johnson.
 
But until those guys have enough time to develop, it's up to the rest of the core to determine whether or not the Rams will win football games.
 
If Jason Smith is any indication, that could be a challenge.

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