On Monday the St. Louis Rams more or less eviscerated 2010's strong defensive line, cutting aging stalwarts like James Hall and Fred Robbins. The major reason was cap space—Hall was due $3 million, and Robbins, a Steve Spagnuolo mainstay, another $4—but the side benefit will be exciting to fans of the Rams' 2011 NFL Draft haul, whomever they are: They clear the way for Robert Quinn, the 13th overall pick, to start full-time opposite Chris Long.â†µ
Quinn was surprisingly quiet for the Rams during his rookie season; in the first half he rarely managed regular playing time. But he forced Spagnuolo's hand in the second half, and finished the season with five sacks, not to mention three blocked punts. One way of looking at it—at 21, two years younger than Long was when he became the Rams' second overall pick in 2008, he had one more sack.
The moves leave the Rams without a lot of line depth heading into 2012, but they've still got two front-line pass-rushers in the mix.â†µâ†µ