Best Immediate Impact Rookie: St. Louis Rams


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Jeff Fisher and Co. will be looking to improve and build on last season’s efforts. The hope throughout the team and their fan base is that both starting quarterback Sam Bradford and the rest of the offense can finally put together a successful and winning season.

Luckily, Bradford has been surrounded by tremendous talent with both his offensive line and his arsenal of receivers, tight ends and running backs.

Not only have the Rams done their best to surround their starting quarterback with the talent that he needs to potentially be successful in the NFL, but they have also done a lot to develop their defense into a formidable one. With great talent on both sides of the ball, St. Louis will be looking to compete in an already insanely tough division in the NFC West.

Can the Rams pull out a few wins against division rivals like the Seahawks and 49ers? Who knows, but we are drawing closer and closer to the start of the 2014 regular season.

Again, the Rams have done an excellent job of bringing in the right personnel to help give their quarterback all the tools he needs to be successful. So, where does that bring in this year’s draft class for St. Louis?

Entire Draft Class: Greg Robinson, Aaron Donald, Lamarcus Joyner, Tre Mason, Mo Alexander, E.J. Gaines, Garrett Gilbert, Mitchell Van Dyke, C.B. Bryant, Michael Sam and Demetrius Rhaney.

Best Immediate Impact Rookie: Lamarcus Joyner, CB/S: 5′ 8″, 184 lbs

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This may come off as a bit of a surprise, but looking closely at how this offseason has played out for a few players it is easy to see why Joyner is in the best position to contribute early.

With the Rams second overall selection, they were able to take mammoth offensive tackle Greg Robinson to help bolster their offensive line and keep Bradford off of his back. Unfortunately, tackle is not the spot that Robinson has been practicing at since joining St. Louis. Instead, the Rams have the former Auburn Tiger practicing at guard to start out his NFL career and it doesn’t sound like he is having an easy transition.

Their second first round pick was used on defensive tackle Aaron Donald, an addition that will bring excellent talent to an already loaded defensive front line. In fact, it might be that the Rams line is so talented that Donald’s production might not be what it would if he were the focal point of the defensive front.

With other guys like Michael Brockers, Chris Long and Robert Quinn, it would be hard for any rookie to make a huge difference, but I do expect some good play from Donald.

Now, onto our player of emphasis. Lamarcus Joyner was my choice in this category because of the versatility that he brings to the Rams secondary. Regardless of what side of the ball that they should play on, anybody who is able to come into the league and onto a team that can offer good value and play at multiple positions is going to get a lot of looks and opportunities.

That is where Joyner comes in.

Trading up into the second round to grab Joyner, St. Louis got a guy who has a lot of experience and production at the safety position, but also offers the type of aggressiveness, quickness and athletic ability to play the nickel corner spot.

The best part about Lamarcus Joyner is the fact that he can make plays and level players with hard hits from either spot. Watching his Florida State tape is a joy and a pleasure as he goes all out each and every snap and can get to the ball from anywhere on the field in a hurry.

Something that the Rams secondary has lacked is physicality and Joyner brings plenty of that.

Though it might be hard to really figure out what position will work out best for Joyner at first, there is no doubting that we will be seeing plenty of him at both. His size may make it hard to stick at the safety spot, but it is hard to count him out of anything due to his talent.

Looking at how he fits into Gregg Williams scheme and all of the various looks that he gives opposing offenses, it is not hard to imagine Lamarcus racking up several big plays and turnovers. By the end of the season, I would not be surprised to see Joyner with 1-2 interceptions and over 40 tackles.