Marshall Faulk

Rams running back

Last season, the Rams were 29th in the NFL in rushing at a paltry 87 yards per game.

They also went 4-12, as June Henley led the team in rushing with only 313 yards -- the lowest total for a NFL team leader since Michael Haddix led the 1990 Packers with 313. Acquiring a capable running back during the offseason was a primary goal, and the Rams considered using the sixth overall pick in the draft on Ricky Williams or Edgerrin James.

But the Indianapolis Colts intervened.

The Colts also wanted to draft James, thus making incumbent RB Marshall Faulk expendable. So, one day before the draft, for the relatively meager price of second- and fifth-round picks in 1999 (Nos. 36 and 138 overall), the Rams got Faulk, a five-year veteran and three-time Pro Bowler who last season was only 92 receiving yards shy of becoming the second player in NFL history to have at least 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in the same season.

Faulk, 26, accounted for an astounding 43 percent of the Colts' offense last season and compiled 2,227 total yards from scrimmage, the fifth-best single-season total in NFL history. After last season, he demanded that his salary be re-negotiated, but Indianapolis refused and shipped him to St. Louis.

St. Louis locked up its commitment to Faulk by signing him to a seven-year, $45 million contract that included a $7 million signing bonus -- the largest in Rams history. Faulk will carry an even greater load now that quarterback Trent Green is lost for the season with a knee injury.