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2011 NFL Draft Projections: St. Louis Rams Had Mixed Luck In 2010

Given some of the St. Louis Rams' invisible drafts of the pre-Billy-Devaney era it's hard to find a lot of fault with their performance in 2010, which produced, at a minimum, Sam Bradford and Rodger Saffold, but with a higher draft slot, at 14, and a goal of filling the gaps in a possible playoff contender, the 2011 NFL Draft will have to find the team exceeding their projections. 

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Bradford and Saffold both exceeded expectations—Bradford played every snap for the Rams and did it, eventually, at a high level, while Saffold was so good as to bump a former number-one pick, Jason Smith, in his rookie year. Unfortunately, the Rams' other picks were less immediately effective. Third-rounder Jerome Murphy fought through injuries to get some starting time at cornerback, and George Selvie, a seventh-rounder, saw significant time off the bench. But fourth-rounder Mardy Gilyard disappeared at wide receiver even when Donnie Avery, Mark Clayton, and Danario Alexander were all felled by injuries—he caught just six passes and spent most of the season on the sidelines. The only potential impact player in the back of the draft looks to be Michael Hoomanawanui, who proved to be a dynamic presence as a tight end when he wasn't dealing with one of about a hundred identical high-ankle sprains. 

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Two impact players is a nice haul for a draft, even a draft with the number-one slot. But the 2011 Draft will have to have depth, too—the Rams will need to fill the hole at wide receiver somehow, but they also need solid role players—for instance, at running back, where Steven Jackson shouldn't lead the NFL in attempts again, lest the Rams want him to go the way of Larry Johnson

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