The upcoming season has long been targeted as the year the Rams will be legitimate contenders. Accordingly, the team has “margin for error next to zero in the NFL draft,” says ESPN.com’s Nick Wagoner. The Rams have been quiet in free agency, instead relying on the development of their young team and the potential to bolster the roster with draft picks, including two in the top 13, the first of which (No. 2 overall) is on the auction block. Wagoner asserts the time is now for the team to close the gap on Seattle and San Francisco, especially in the trenches. “…the most glaring difference between the Rams and their NFC West foes last year was how overmatched they were on the offensive line,” says Wagoner, who mentions tackles Greg Robinson (Auburn) and Jake Matthews (Texas A&M) as potential plug-and-play, impact options.
Other morning news and notes in the NFC:
- The Redskins have signed three inside linebackers this offseason, but the linebacker corps isn’t settled yet, writes Mike Jones of the Washington Post: “The Redskins would like for [Perry] Riley to emerge as the leader of the defense, and become an extension of [defensive coordinator] Jim Haslett. But that could take some time. Riley led Washington in tackles last season, but he tended to disappear at times.” Meanwhile, the other inside linebacker spot is “up for grabs” with Adam Hayward, Akeem Jordan and Darryl Sharpton set to compete.
- With Miles Austin out of the Cowboys’ plans, the team is open to adding a veteran receiver, writes ESPNDallas.com’s Calvin Watkins, who calls free agent Nate Burleson a “perfect fit.”
- The Cardinals will look to add depth and size on defense in the draft, writes ESPN.com’s John Weinfuss. More specifically, the team is searching for a prospect to groom as Darnell Dockett‘s replacement, a taller, more athletic safety capable of matching with tight ends and another body at inside linebacker.
- The Falcons, in desperate need of pass rush, will have a private workout with with UCLA rush linebacker Anthony Barr before the end of the month, according to ESPN.com’s Vaughn McClure. Barr could be an option for the No. 6 pick if South Carolina’s Jadaveon Clowney is off the board. Buffalo’s Khalil Mack could also fit the bill, but he does not have a visit scheduled with the Falcons as of Friday.
- The Lions could have their pick of defensive backs with the 10th overall selection, speculates Dustin Hockensmith of pennlive.com.