When NFL personnel departments prepare, grade and stack their free-agent boards, there are four areas of major concerns when adding players to a roster. This includes both NFL unrestricted free agents and college free agents as well:

Character: Check character history, complete background with all prior teams and any criminal activities, suspensions with the league and how they fit in the locker room and professionals that work hard on their craft (weight room, offseason workouts, punctual to all meetings).

Playtime: The percentage of playtime is huge and could provide a glimpse into the future. It is also extremely important that the player has special teams playtime as well.

Production: It is hard to have good production without playtime.

Injury History: Gather all documented previous injury history from combine data moving forward to most current.

Below I have listed key free agents that will command big dollars and possibly a bidding war from several teams driving up the cost of the contracts. Also others that will be key in the prioritization of many NFL free-agent boards. Any number of these players could help the Rams immediately.

Darren Sproles, RB/KR/PR, Chargers: This player is a triple threat and might be the best fit for the Rams. He is not interested in a starting role and would be a key contributor as both a kickoff and punt return specialist. He is a third-down back that is tough, competitive and plays the game with passion. He is quicker than fast and would be a great complementary back to Steven Jackson. Has a great level of toughness.

Reggie Bush, RB/PR, Saints: All-purpose running back, can string several moves together in a single run, stick and go change of direction with burst and acceleration. Natural receiving skills with home run and game changing skill set. A triple threat as a runner, receiver and punt return man. Injury history is a concern.

DeAngelo Williams, RB, Panthers: Williams, now an unrestricted free agent, becomes a very attractive starter or change of pace running back. I helped draft Williams before taking a front-office job with the Rams. He is a class act off the field and an excellent all-purpose running back on the field. Medical is the only concern for me, as he has soft tissue injury history the past several seasons.

Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Giants: He should be re-signed by the Giants, but if not he fits as a great one/two punch. He’s an all-purpose dual threat. Despite some ball protection issues in 2010, he rushed for 1,235 yards (4.5 per attempt) and eight touchdowns. He has a natural receiving skill set with 47 receptions for 314 yards. Has some injury history but they all do.

Tim Hightower, RB, Cardinals: An NFC West divisional threat, Hightower always had good games against the Rams. I liked this player coming out of college, but the Rams’ brain trust turned their heads when he was still on the board. He is a classic change-of-pace running back. He has pick and slide running skills to bounce to open space with big-play ability and solid receiving skills. Player that is restricted, but extremely interesting.

Barry Cofield, DT, Giants: Cofield has developed into one of the league’s best interior defensive linemen. He has explosive use of his hands with quickness out of stance and plays behind pads. Good run stopper with football instincts and a nose for the ball. Solid lateral movement over and around trash, a dominant interior lineman with some nasty in his play. Pass rush is adequate, but reacts well to screens and hustles to second level.

Brandon Mebane, DT, Seahawks: Mebane went public saying he isn’t feeling the love from the Seahawks’ organization and coaching staff. A short fire plug that is aggressive and competitive. His quickness and ability to stop the run inside is very good. A three-down defender that is equally competitive against the run and the pass with solid production.

Cullen Jenkins, DE/DT, Packers: While Jenkins is not as athletic and lacks the girth like his brother Kris, he dominates the interior line with quickness out of his stance and a motor that doesn’t stop until the whistle. Inside pass rush skills are off the charts, has the skill set to get skinny in hole, defeat single and double teams with burst to the quarterback with good sack and tackle for loss production. While injury history is a concern, as is borderline age, this player would bring depth and big play ability. With the Rams drafting a much needed pass rusher in Robert Quinn, securing an interior defensive lineman is the key for the Steve Spagnuolo defense to bulk up against the run. The time is now for this very important centerpiece of the defense to be added.

The Rams have one of the best young elite quarterbacks in the NFL in Sam Bradford, a Pro-Bowl running back in Steven Jackson and the most consistent receiver on the team is Danny Amendola. After that the list of names on the Rams’ roster is long. These players either haven’t been able to stay healthy (Donnie Avery, Danario Alexander) or are coming off knee injuries (Avery and Mark Clayton). The team drafted two possession receivers (Greg Salas, Austin Pettis) with high ceiling and upside to stretch a defense laterally. There are a few players that lack consistency (Laurent Robinson, Brandon Gibson) along with a second-year player that struggled to find his way as a rookie and stay healthy despite some very good special teams play (Mardy Gilyard).

Adding a receiver with size and length, not to mention vertical speed to stretch the secondary and develop into a red-zone threat brings immediate value to any offense, especially the Josh McDaniels spread offense. The question is whether the Rams should groom the picks for the future or add a top-flight receiver to the mix that will take a roster spot and reps away from young players.

Sidney Rice, WR, Vkings: When you look for a big-ime receiver in the NFL you look for size, speed, the ability to catch the ball outside the frame with soft hands. Has good route running skills deep, toughness across the middle, both of which are very important and this player has all those attributes. Rice has good production when the ball was thrown his way. The Vikings franchised linebacker Chad Greenway and should make Rice theietop priority, if not the list of teams is long for his services. All teams will give him a ysical on his hip. A perfect fit for the Rams, but unless the Vikings lose theieminds, he should remain in the Twin Cities wearing the purple and gold.

Braylon Edwards, WR, Jets: Good size and wing span. A vertical receiver with big-play ability. Slight stiff in hips to breakdown to get in and out of cuts but really not a negative based off playtime and past production. Soft hands and toughness to compete for balls at the highest point. Has a nose for the goal line and is competitive to leave feet and make plays diving for balls. Good awareness and ability to track balls over shoulder with tap shoe concentration.

Plaxico Burress, WR, Giants: A tall possession receiver that is a threat with short to intermediate production. He was a playmaker and difference-maker with the knack for making the big catch in prime-time games, and dominating the red zone. The big question is that he has not played football in two seasons after being incarcerated for gun charges. Has he lost a step? He wasn’t fast to begin with. Route-running skills are like riding a bike but regaining your football balance and quickness takes a while. Just ask Michael Vick, who didn’t get his back until last season, a year later. Good toughness across the middle.

With the departure of team captain and the bell cow of the secondary Oshiomogho Atowge, there is a hole in the secondary of the Rams defense when it comes to play-making ability as well as leadership and knowledge of the game. The following defensive backs would add youth and juice to a secondary that needs some spark.

Eric Weddle, S, Chargers: Weddle is a jack of all trades, and has developed into a master of opportunistic production. Football instincts put him into position to make plays. While coverage skills are adequate and he is not a thumper safety, you can’t argue with his overall production.

Dawan Landry, SS, Ravens: Landry has an excellent combination of size and speed. A downhill safety with collision tackling skills in both open and tight space. While coverage skills need improvement, he brings aggression to a secondary that lacks thumpers.

Gerald Sensabaugh, SS, Cowboys: Sensabaugh is extremely athletic with good skill set and ability to cover since he was a collegiate player at North Carolina. He tracks balls in flight and has strong tackling skills in space. This player will upgrade the starting position and help as a core player on special teams.

Danieal Manning, SS, Bears: Manning is a versatile player that aligns at strong safety. He is not only productive as a defender; he contributes on special teams as a kickoff man with production. He is the kind of returner the Rams are looking for, who looks to hit the crease on returns.

NFL roster have been expanded to a 90-man limit for training camp. With the large influx of players, look for all teams to scramble for college free agents signing while working to sign their 2011 draftees as well, along with their own restricted free agents. Teams can negotiate and sign their own drafted rookies and any undrafted rookie starting Tuesday. Clubs may have such players report to the club’s facilities for physical examinations prior to signing.

The college free agents listed below have been whittled down from the 200 players I took a peek at during 2011 draft preparation. These players will be heavily targeted by all teams in my opinion, because of their skill set and athletic ability along with other positional attributes that make them attractive. While these players fell through the cracks and went undrafted for several reasons (injuries, size, speed, medical conditions etc), this is their chance to prove teams wrong with a strong preseason performance. The players listed in bold type are the ones I feel could contribute.

Alexander Linnenkohl C 6’2″ 304 Oregon St.

Ryan Bartholomew C 6’1″ 302 Syracuse

Deunta Williams CB 6’2″ 205 North Carolina

Andrew McGee DB 5’11” 195 Oklahoma St.

David Sims DB 5’9″ 200 Iowa St.

Devon Torrence DB 6’0″ 199 Ohio St.

Joe Lefeged DB 6’0″ 210 Rutgers

Kendric Burney DB 5’9″ 186 North Carolina

Kevin Rutland DB 6’0″ 190 Missouri

Mario Butler DB 6’0″ 182 Georgia Tech

Niles Brinkley DB 5’10” 193 Wisconsin

Vance Cuff DB 5’10” 178 Georgia

Wayne Daniels DE 6’0″ 260 TCU

Adrian Taylor DL 6’3″ 311 Oklahoma

Brandon Bair DL 6’6″ 276 Oregon

Cedric Thornton DL 6’3″ 309 Southern Arkansas

Colby Whitlock DL 6’2″ 302 Texas Tech

Demarcus Dobbs DL 6’2″ 281 Georgia

Ian Williams DL 6’1″ 319 Notre Dame

Kentrell Lockett DL 6’5″ 241 Mississippi

Ladi Ajiboye DL 6’1″ 297 South Carolina

Martin Parker DL 6’2″ 303 Richmond

Pierre Allen DL 6’4″ 273 Nebraska

Ryan Winterswyk DL 6’4″ 268 Boise St.

Ugo Chinasa DL 6’5″ 264 Oklahoma St.

John Graves DT 6’3″ 286 Virginia Tech

Sealver Siliga DT 6’2″ 305 Utah

Henry Hynoski FB 6’0″ 257 Pittsburgh

Jerrard Tarrant FS 6’0″ 204 Georgia Tech

Will Hill FS 6’1″ 202 Florida

Justin Boren G 6’3″ 309 Ohio St.

Dan Bailey K 6’0″ 193 Oklahoma St.

Jacob Rogers K 6’2″ 213 Cincinnati

Joshua Jasper K 5’10” 174 LSU

Kai Forbath K 5’11” 197 UCLA

Reid Forrest K 6’0″ 189 Washington St.

Ryan Donahue K 6’2″ 193 Iowa

Adrian Moten LB 6’2″ 228 Maryland

Derrell Smith LB 6’0″ 243 Syracuse

Elijah Joseph LB 6’1″ 243 Temple

Jeremiha Hunter LB 6’1″ 239 Iowa

Mark Herzlich LB 6’4″ 244 Boston College

Nick Bellore LB 6’1″ 245 Central Michigan

Orie Lemon LB 6’1″ 242 Oklahoma St.

Scott Lutrus LB 6’2″ 241 Connecticut

Adam Grant OL 6’6″ 325 Arizona

Carl Johnson OL 6’5″ 361 Florida

Daniel Aiken OL 6’4″ 244 Virginia

Garrett Chisolm OL 6’5″ 312 South Carolina

Isaiah Thompson OL 6’3″ 300 Houston

Jarriel King OL 6’5″ 317 South Carolina

Joshua Davis OL 6’7″ 313 Georgia

Kevin Hughes OL 6’4″ 302 Southeast Louisiana

Kristofer O’Dowd OL 6’4″ 304 USC

Kyle Hix OL 6’7″ 318 Texas

Ray Dominguez OL 6’4″ 334 Arkansas

Richard Lapham OL 6’8″ 315 Boston College

Willie Smith OL 6’5″ 310 East Carolina

Zachary Hurd OL 6’7″ 316 Connecticut

Zane Taylor OL 6’3″ 309 Utah

Chas Henry P 6’3″ 215 Florida

Jeff Van Camp QB 6’5″ 218 Florida Atlantic

Jerrod Johnson QB 6’5″ 251 Texas A&M

Joshua Nesbitt QB 6’1″ 217 Georgia Tech

Patrick Devlin QB 6’3″ 225 Delaware

Ryan Colburn QB 6’3″ 223 Fresno St.

Scott Tolzien QB 6’2″ 212 Wisconsin

Armando Allen RB 5’8″ 199 Notre Dame

Brandon Saine RB 5’11” 220 Ohio St.

Damien Berry RB 5’10” 211 Miami

Darren Evans RB 6’0″ 227 Virginia Tech

Derrick Locke RB 5’8″ 188 Kentucky

Graig Cooper RB 5’10” 205 Miami

John Clay FB/Hbac 6’1″ 230 Wisconsin

Matt Asiata RB 5’11” 229 Utah

Noel Devine RB/RS 5’8″ 179 West Virginia

Shaun Draughn RB 5’11” 213 North Carolina

Vai Taua RB 5’10” 213 Nevada

Deandre McDaniel SS 6’0″ 217 Clemson

Jeron Johnson SS 5’10” 212 Boise St.

Nate Williams SS 6’0″ 211 Washington

Allen Reisner TE 6’2″ 248 Iowa

Cameron Graham TE 6’3″ 244 Louisville

Charlie Gantt TE 6’4″ 252 Michigan St.

Schuylar Oordt TE 6’6″ 261 Northern Iowa

Weslye Saunders TE 6’5″ 270 South Carolina

Zack Pianalto TE 6’3″ 256 North Carolina

Andre Holmes WR 6’4″ 210 Hillsdale

Armon Binns WR 6’3″ 209 Cincinnati

Dane Sanzenbacher WR 5’11” 182 Ohio St.

Darvin Adams WR 6’2″ 190 Auburn

DeAndre Brown WR/TE 6’6″ 233 Southern Miss

Jamar Newsome WR 6’1″ 200 Central Florida

Jamel Hamler WR 6’1″ 193 Fresno St.

Jeffrey Maehl WR 6’1″ 190 Oregon

Jimmy Young WR 6’0″ 204 TCU

Joe Morgan WR 6’1″ 189 Walsh

Keith Smith WR 6’2″ 214 Purdue

Lestar Jean WR 6’3″ 215 Florida Atlantic

Mark Dell WR 6’0″ 193 Michigan St.

Marshall Williams WR 6’1″ 188 Wake Forest

O.J. Murdock WR 5’11” 197 Fort Hays St.

Owen Spencer WR 6’2″ 195 N.C. State

Ricardo Lockette WR 6’2″ 211 Fort Valley St.

Terrance Turner WR 6’2″ 220 Indiana

Terrence Toliver WR 6’4″ 212 LSU

Tori Gurley WR 6’4″ 216 South Carolina