Post 528 – NFL Draft Needs: Los Angeles Rams

The Rams are without their first round pick, the twentieth, trading it to Jacksonville in the Jalen Ramsey deal. They were 9-7 after reaching the Super Bowl the year before. One thing needed is a return to form from quarterback Jared Goff and the offensive line. 

LA has seven picks in the draft: no first, two seconds, two thirds, a fourth, no fifth, a sixth, and seventh. The first round pick goes to Jacksonville, they receive a second from Houston for Brandin Cooks, and their extra pick in the third round is compensatory.   

I list the needs below, including major, for depth, and areas they are unlikely to look at. I may add categories for a particular situation. 

Major Needs (No Particular Order): 

Running Back: The departure of Todd Gurley leaves things wide open.There is talk of having a backfield-by-committee and there are only three backs on the roster. Malcolm Brown saw the most time after Gurley and he will be joined by last year’s third-round pick, Darrell Henderson, and John Kelly. There is a chance the Rams make a pick at this position that can also have playing time.

Offensive Line: The unit was not as effective as it was the year before and they will determine how successful the offense is. Andrew Whitworth is the anchor of the line at left tackle, but he’s 38 and a replacement will be coming in another year or two. Rob Havenstein had a bad year at right tackle and needs to bounce back. When he was injured, third-round choice Bobby Evans filled in and played well. The middle became a mess with injuries. Austin Blythe began the year at right guard and moved to center when Brian Allen was injured, while fifth-round pick David Edwards played at guard. Joseph Noteboom began the year at left guard before tearing his ACL and was replaced by Austin Corbett, who was acquired by Cleveland. Also on the roster is guard Jamil Denby and center Coleman Shelton. There will be a lot of competition in training camp and Whitworth is the only certainty to remain at his position. Some of the players may bounce back, but a lineman or two may be selected.

Edge Rusher: Dante Fowler and Clay Matthews are no longer with the team, making way for new players. Signed as a free agent and a probable starter is Leonard Floyd, a #1 pick of the Bears in 2016. Samson Ekubam started five games and is another frontrunner to start. Obo Okoronkwo and Justin Lawler are available, while Jachai Polite is an intriguing player, who was a third-round pick of the Jets last year and already on his third team. A pass rush is always important and one may be taken early in the draft. 

Interior Defensive Line: All talk about this unit starts with Aaron Donald, possibly the game’s best defensive lineman. Michael Brockers re-signed and returns to one end, while Sebastian Joseph-Day is the nose tackle and he may be pushed by second-year man Greg Gaines. A’Shawn Robinson signed as a free agent, coming from the Lions. Others on the roster are Morgan Fox, Tanzel Smart, and Marquise Copeland. A choice for depth may happen.

Inside Linebacker: With the defection of Cory Littleton for Vegas in free agency and Bryce Hager being unsigned, there is a complete turnover of starters. One starter is expected to be Micah Kiser, who was expected to start last year before missing the season with a torn pectoral muscle. One player who can play next to him is Kenny Young, who was acquired in the Marcus Peters trade and goes into his third year. Troy Reeder, who started some games, and Travin Howard are the others on the roster. There could be a pick in the middle rounds to address this area. 

Cornerback: Jalen Ramsey is a premier shutdown corner and Troy Hill took over after Aqib Talib was traded and held his own. David Long, one of the Rams third-round picks, will see more time with Nickell Robey-Coleman leaving in free agency. The other corners are Darious Williams, Donte’Deayon, and Adonis Alexander. They have the makings of a good group, but another good cornerback is always in demand and one can be chosen.

Safety: This is another good and young pair with last year’s second-round pick, Taylor Rapp, at free safety and John Johnson on the strong side. The backups are Nick Scott and Jake Gervase, both going into their second year. A pick for depth may be used. 


Quarterback: Jared Goff took a step back, but has the ability to return to his 2018 form. The backup situation is unsettled with Blake Bortles unsigned and John Wolford is the only other quarterback on the roster. The Rams need a backup because an injury to Goff could spell disaster as things currently stand. 

Wide Receiver: Two very good receivers are in the house with Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods, but a long threat is needed to replace the traded Brandin Cooks. In addition, Kupp’s contract expires after the season. The only reserves on the roster are Josh Reynolds, Greg Dortch, and Nsimba Webster. Reynolds might be able to pick up the slack from Cooks’ departure, while Dortch and Webster were rookie free agents last year. A receiver may be taken here to shore up the depth.

Tight End: All signs point towards the Rams employing more two-tight-end formations this year. Tyler Higbee came on late in the year catching the ball and Johnny Mundt is both a good blocker and special teams player. What they want to do is get Gerald Everett more involved in the passing game. Others on the roster are Kendall Blanton and Ethan Wolf. Both Everett and Mundt are on expiring contracts and a selection here would make sense.

*Information from various sources, including Pro-Football Reference, Sportac, and ESPN. 

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