Needless to say, the Rams have concerns galore coming off a one-win season, and one of the biggest, our sources agree, is the continued lack of a decent complementary running back behind workhorse Steven Jackson. Since selecting Jackson in the first round in 2004, the Rams have drafted only two running backs — Brian Leonard in the second round in '07 and Chris Ogbonnaya in the final round last year. Leonard never panned out and was traded to the Bengals last year, while Ogbonnaya is one of only two veterans currently on the roster — third-year pro Kenneth Darby, who has been ordinary at best, is the other — in the mix to back up Jackson this season after the Rams failed to draft any RB reinforcements this season.
Said one team source: "Spags (Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo) said it was no big deal (not drafting a RB), but Jackson is coming off (April 15) back surgery, and you just never know when running backs might hit that wall. It's been two years now that they've had to run Jackson to death, and it just seems very puzzling that they haven't made more of an effort to find a decent backup."
The way we hear it, the best backup option at present could be rookie free agent Keith Toston out of Oklahoma State. "I think he's better right now than either Darby or Ogbonnaya," the source said of Toston, whose style is considered very similar to that of Jackson. The Rams have contemplated signing former Eagles star Brian Westbrook, going as far as to bring him in for a physical exam in April. Westbrook would seem to be a no-brainer addition if he were healthy enough, but we hear the two concussions he suffered last season, in addition to a problematic left knee that might not react well to the Rams' playing surface, continue to make him a long shot to be wearing a St. Louis uniform in 2010 — or any team's uniform, for that matter.
For authoritative coverage and analysis of NFL news, free agency and fantasy football, visit ProFootballWeekly.com.