The St. Louis Rams are heading into the 2012 NFL Draft with plenty of high picks, but they also have plenty of needs to fill. The offensive line is a particularly important area that requires an upgrade, but perhaps putting rookie pass protectors in front of Sam Bradford isn't the best plan. The Rams had looked into signing former Panthers offensive guard Travelle Wharton, but he recently got snatched up by the Cincinnati Bengals with a three-year, $10M deal.
Former Packers center Scott Wells did join the mix in St. Louis, but the needs at guard necessitate additional moves. Over at Turf Show Times, SB Nation's Rams blog, there is discussion of thinking outside the box and targeting young restricted free agents to sign to competitive offer sheets. Here is the meat of that analysis:
In particular, there are two young OG's that the Buffalo Bills currently have on a RFA tender. They are Kraig Urbik and Chad Rinehart. Both are younger guys, at 26 years old, but both are incredibly underrated and just coming into their primes.
According to our friends at Pro Football Focus (@ProFootballFocus for you twitter heads), both Urbik and Rinehart were among the top 10 guards (with at least 200 snaps) in pass blocking efficiency (FYI new center Scott Wells was 3rd among C's). In fact, Urbik ranked #1 and Rinehart #4. Combined, Urbik and Rinehart allowed only 12 pressures in 785 snaps. That information can be found here.
I spoke a bit with Pro Football Focus today about the OG's, and was informed that it would take a 3rd rounder for either guard. Buffalo may not be able to keep both of them.
Most people say the game is won in the trenches, so be sure to follow these under-the-radar moves closely.
Stay tuned to SB Nation St. Louis for more information, and for in-depth analysis on the St. Louis Rams be sure to visit Turf Show Times. Visit SB Nation NFL for more news and notes around the league.