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Top 5 most underappreciated Rams

Discussion in 'RAMS - NFL TALK' started by Prime Time, Jun 22, 2014.

  1. Prime Time

    Prime Time RODerator

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    Top-5 most underappreciated St. Louis Rams
    By Ted Bryant

    For today’s Top 5, I decided to take a shot at ranking the most underappreciated Rams as the team wraps up OTAs and heads into training camp. Some of these guys will be fighting for their roster spots in upcoming months, but their contributions in 2013 shouldn’t go unremembered. Let’s get started.

    5. Defensive end Eugene Sims (with a nod to William Hayes as well)

    For as much attention as the duo of Robert Quinn and Chris Long command at the defensive end position, the versatility and quality depth that both Sims and Hayes embody were major reasons for the defensive lines successes as a unit in 2013. Both lined up at end and tackle at times last season, and there wasn’t much of a drop-off in performance during their limited amount of time on the field. Look for them to continue to their roles as under-the-radar defensive contributors this fall.

    4. Tight end/fullback Cory Harkey

    As I wrote about in January, Harkey was one of those guys who always seemed to be in the right place at the right time last season. In his first full year on the roster, Harkey lined up at both fullback and tight end and made the most of the opportunities that came his way. As a matter of fact, eight of Harkey’s 14 career receptions have been for a first down conversion or a touchdown. And, for me,this was one of the highlights of last season.

    3. Running back Benny Cunningham

    While fellow rookie running back Zac Stacy was lauded for his breakout 2013 season (deservedly so), Cunningham showed burst of his own during spot duty. He received only 47 carries compared to Stacy’s whopping 250 in 12 games but averaged a fantastic 5.7 yards on each attempt. Exactly what you want from a spot back. With the presence of 2014 third round pick Tre Mason, Cunningham may have to fight for carries in the upcoming season, but look for him to resume a role in the return game.

    2. Defensive tackle Kendall Langford

    Outside of the no. 1 person on our list, no one starting spot was as quickly written off after this year’s draft than Langford’s. Obviously if a team takes a defensive tackle in the first round (in this case Aaron Donald), one would expect them to be among the starting lineup sooner rather than later. However, Langford has earned the right to at least be the starter next to Michael Brockers as the team heads into training camp. After a rocky first season with the team in 2012, Langford had a very solid 2013 campaign with 5.0 sacks, 18 quarterback hurries, and 36 tackles.

    1. Offensive tackle Joe Barksdale

    Without the presence of Barksdale, the revolving right side of the Rams’ offensive line would have been in serious trouble. Injuries to Rodger Saffold and Harvey Dahl meant the team had to keep experimenting with patchwork line rotations, but Barksdale emerged as a more-than-capable right tackle as a result. He started 13 of the team’s games and was the second-highest graded offensive lineman on the team (behind fellow tackle Jake Long), according to Pro Football Focus. Barksdale is the obvious opening day starter at right tackle barring unforeseen circumstances, even given the presence of second overall pick Greg Robinson.
    #1
  2. mr.stlouis

    mr.stlouis Well-Known Member

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    Boy, that is a very interesting list.
    #2
  3. Ramrasta

    Ramrasta The Knight Owl

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    I agree with this list. Great article.
    #3
  4. HE WITH HORNS

    HE WITH HORNS Well-Known Member

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    I for one know how good Cunningham his, I hope he gets a chance to win the starting job, I think he's the best RB on the team.
    #4
    NukeRam and lockdnram21 like this.
  5. theramsruleUK

    theramsruleUK Well-Known Member

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    He seems like a hybrid between stacy and mason.. Dangerous combo
    #5
  6. SierraRam

    SierraRam Recreational User

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    I'm guilty of not appreciating #1 Joe Barksdale. All he does is play every game at a high level, yet I still kick around the Robinson to RT and Joseph/ Jones to LG scenario. It's nice to have options, but Barksdale is our RT by merit.
    #6
  7. TShram03

    TShram03 New Member

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    I'll play. It's under-appreciated and/or undervalued by the average fan:

    5. WR Tavon Austin: Some fans seem disappointed with Tavon's rookie campaign due to the price required to acquire him. Fine if that's the case, it's your prerogative. I was extremely pleased with the flashes that I saw from Tavon in his rookie season. He scored six TDs, had two called back and always looked like one of (often the most) explosive players on the field when Brian Schottenheimer got better at creating the opportunities for him. I expect that trend to continue in 2014 and Tavon to improve on his numbers from his first year in the leauge

    4. T Joe Barksdale: Agree with Ted Bryant's assessment completely. I'm completely fine if he's the Rams long term answer at right tackle.

    3. DE William Hayes: The Rams are really lucky to have a player the caliber of Hayes be completely committed to fulfilling his role as a backup. He is what makes the Rams defensive line, arguably, the best and deepest in the league. Hayes is a complete player who I thoroughly enjoy rooting for.

    2. P Johnny Hekker: I don't think it's a stretch to say that outside Robert Quinn there's not a player on this roster who is better at his position relative to the rest of the league than the Rams punter. His 2013 was, literally, historically good when it comes to net punting. Credit the coverage teams as well, but Johnny's big leg gives that unit the hang time needed to get down the field and get in position.

    1. CB Trumaine Johnson: Janoris is usually the one who gets all the attention -- for better or worse -- due to his high-upside potential. Johnson, though, was the better player (more consistent) in his 2nd year. I expect the steady improvement to continue in 2014.
    #7
  8. jjab360

    jjab360 Well-Known Member

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    I think Eugene Sims is overrated, tbh. I say that because lot of people try to put him on the same level as Hayes, but it's not even close, imo. Hayes is one of the best, if not the best, backup DEs in the league, Sims is relatively ineffective as a pass rusher and only average as a run defender.
    #8
    Memphis Ram likes this.
  9. CanadaRam

    CanadaRam No guts, No glory.

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    Very good list. Only one that I could see added is Lance Kendricks.
    #9
    rhinobean likes this.
  10. Dodgersrf

    Dodgersrf Well-Known Member

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    That's not a bad call.
    Kendricks got into a lot of fans doghouse his first year with numerous dropped passes.
    He has since improved and is a good blocker as well.
    #10
  11. Dodgersrf

    Dodgersrf Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to rod.
    #11
    CanadaRam likes this.
  12. Thordaddy

    Thordaddy Binding you with ancient logic

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    After those two TD's in preseason he looked like Gronk, I still think he's got it, but looks like I'm alone
    #12
    rhinobean likes this.
  13. Dodgersrf

    Dodgersrf Well-Known Member

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    I'm on board with you.
    I was pretty down on the guy his rookie year. That has since changed.
    I think he'll be in the league a long time.
    #13
  14. CanadaRam

    CanadaRam No guts, No glory.

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    Being a power team, having Kendricks at TE allows much flexibility. If he stays consistent catching the ball, could become extremely valuable, especially with Bradford who is comfortable with the short check-downs.
    #14
    Zaphod likes this.
  15. Oldgeek

    Oldgeek Jack Snow-Rams history to St Louis

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    I agree, he got overlooked because he is called on to block so much and fans think that is all he can do. He is solid in the passing game as well.
    #15
  16. lockdnram21

    lockdnram21 Well-Known Member

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    i still think Barksdale is overrated. he may be decent in pass protection but hes mediocre in the running game. i hope he improves that this season
    #16
  17. OldRock

    OldRock Well-Known Member

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    I have to agree with you there. I mentioned before in another thread that I thought him and Hekker were examples of our present staff finding gems in the UDFA's. You just know it when you see it. Refreshing!
    #17
  18. El Juggernauto

    El Juggernauto Your Best Friend

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    Barksdale has earned his job. He played great, shut down some good players...Also, some of you new guys may not know, Joe is a Friend of the ROD
    #18
  19. den-the-coach

    den-the-coach Well-Known Member

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    Loved Corey Harkey at UCLA and I knew he would make the Ram squad because he was the best blocking TE in the draft that year and has shocked everyone with his ability to catch the football as well. Joe Barksdale the jury is still out IMO...Seemed to get beat around the end more often than not, however, maybe being the number one guy from day one will give him more confidence. There is a reason the Rams thought about trading up for Zack Martin and that was to play RT!
    #19
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  20. Memphis Ram

    Memphis Ram Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
    #20
    den-the-coach likes this.