ST. LOUIS -- Despite a win in week 13, the St. Louis Rams were eliminated from playoff contention Sunday thanks to a Seattle Seahawks victory over the Cleveland Browns.
With Seattle and Minnesota laying claim to the remaining wildcard playoff positions, the Rams will miss the postseason for a fourth consecutive time under Coach Jeff Fisher and for the 11th straight season as a franchise.
At 6-8 this season, Fisher has helped the Rams improve back to mediocrity, but has been unable to give over the hump with a defensively talented group.
With postseason aspirations in the rearview mirror, Fisher and the Rams will be playing the rest of the 2015 season to determine where the team will pick during the 2016 draft, which will be held April 28-30 in Chicago.
The needs for the Rams have been apparent this season, switching back-and-forth between quarterbacks Nick Foles and Case Keenum and losing multiple offensive lineman to injury, including starters Jamon Brown (leg fracture) and Rodger Saffold (shoulder) for the season.
The Rams receivers have also been less than stellar this season, ranking last in yards, touchdowns and receptions.
Unfortunately, this year’s draft class is not viewed to be as offensively talented as it has been in seasons past and may offer little help to the Rams in 2016.
This could be especially true if the Rams reach seven or eight wins this season and pick closer to the bottom of the draft than the top.
Quarterbacks should go high in the first round with Jared Goff (California), Paxton Lynch (Memphis) and Connor Cook (Michigan St.) all receiving first-round consideration from multiple NFL analysts, but the Rams current draft slot of 17th could leave the Rams without any of the three options available.
ESPN’s Todd McShay has the Rams selecting Ole Miss wide receiver Laquon Treadwell with what would be the 18th overall draft pick. Treadwell may be the Rams best shot at snagging a number one receiver in the middle of the first round, but there’s certainly no guarantee that the first receiver off the board will pan out.
The Rams could look to strengthen the offensive line again after selecting four lineman in the 2015 draft, but selecting an offensive lineman in the first round hasn’t worked very well for St. Louis in the Fisher/Snead era.
St. Louis’ second overall pick in 2014, Greg Robinson, has struggled since taking over at left tackle and leads the league in holding penalties. If Robinson isn’t able to figure it out soon he’ll be on his way to joining the likes of Jason Smith and Alex Barron as first round draft failures for the Rams. With questions popping up across the offense and talent in the upcoming draft class at a premium, the Rams may be forced to improve an already strong defense.
If St. Louis does choose to go the defensive route fans could be looking at an eerily similar offense in 2016, which could lead to the same results that doomed the team in 2015.