RamsHerd selects Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.
The Rams don’t lack for heart, and they don’t lack for grinders. If they were a hockey team, they’d be full of fourth-liners. But aside from Steven Jackson, the Rams don’t have a monster talent anywhere on the field. This pick addresses this need with the biggest monster available in the draft.
Suh is a transformative talent at defensive tackle, and is being matched up with the strengths of his young head coach. Suh is a disruptive force against the run or pass who must be double-teamed, and who therefore can change the entire dynamic of the Rams’ defensive line, and by proxy, the entire defense itself.
The Rams’ cornerbacks were some of the lowest-rated in pass coverage in the NFL, a direct reflection of how long opposing quarterbacks were given to throw. Additionally, the Rams routinely had to bring extra rushers from linebackers, without having the horses at LB to truly put fear into QBs. The net result was fewer defenders in space, and more defenders sucked up in the line of scrimmage, and a lot of easy first downs allowed.
Under Spagnuolo, the Rams dramatically improved in tackling, and in preventing big plays. It was the little plays, the long drives, third down conversions, and red zone percentages that did them in. Plug in a disruptive force to get opposing offenses out of sync, and the big plays — the sacks, the turnovers — follow.
The obvious argument is “What about the offense?” And yes, the Rams desperately need a quarterback. And a top-flight wide receiver. And a road-grader on the line to replace Richie Incognito. And a tight end. And… too many needs to address them all in a single pick, or even a single draft. There’s really no question of the Rams’ “drafting for need” because they have so many needs.
Their most desperate need is for transformative, monstrous talent. If there was a Peyton Manning in this draft, then he would be the logical pick above Suh. But there isn’t (sez me — expect an argument here), and Suh is the biggest monster around.