For the second straight season, the Los Angeles Rams do not have a pick in the first round of the NFL Draft. This shouldn’t be a problem at all.
The Los Angeles Rams had an amazing 2017-18 season under new hot shot head coach Sean McVay and second year gunslinger Jared Goff under center.
It ended in disappointing fashion, however, as they were upset in the first round of playoffs by the Atlanta Falcons. The team didn’t look like it needed very many pieces to get much better to make another run at the Super Bowl this upcoming season. Nevertheless, the Rams are clearly on a mission and this offseason’s acquisitions are a clear indicator that they mean business.
The champs of the NFC West have made the biggest splash out of all 32 teams in the offseason. They made huge moves in acquiring Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib, making the duo arguably the best corner tandem in the game. Adding Sam Shields also helps bring another veteran into a young secondary. Then, the addition of All Pro defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to work beside All-Pro Aaron Donald will be leaving offensive lines questioning whether or not they should take the field when they see the Rams on the schedule.
There’s no way the offseason could get any better for the Rams, right? Wrong. To round out the offseason acquisitions, lightning-fast wide receiver Brandin Cooks was added through a trade with the New England Patriots. This resulted in the Rams trading away the No. 23 overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft. It’s well worth it for a relatively young receiver who has a lot of game left in him.
What does that leave for the Rams regarding their draft strategy? Although the Rams sound stacked on paper, there is always room for improvement. They currently have a third-round pick (No. 87 overall), three fourth-round picks and four sixth-round picks. With the loss of some key defensive guys in Robert Quinn and Alec Ogletree, an edge rusher or linebacker are the team’s key needs at the moment. Let’s take a look at what areas of the field the Rams will try to add some insurance in through the NFL Draft.
With the draft just days away, here is a short mock draft for the Rams.
Round 3, pick 87
Josh Sweat, DE, Florida State (6’5″, 250 lbs)
Drawing comparisons to former first-round pick Barkevious Mingo, Sweat’s length and sheer natural athleticism should make him a solid pick at 87, giving the Rams the edge rusher they desperately need.
Round 4, pick 111
Shaquem Griffin, OLB, Central Florida (6’1″, 213 lbs)
He’s Not just the “feel good” story of the draft. Griffin can seriously ball. The 4.3 he ran at the combine in the 40-yard dash is the fastest ever by a linebacker and should have scouts thinking edge blitzer all day long.
Round 4, pick 135
Fred Warner, OLB, BYU (6’3″, 235 lbs)
Warner looks like the type of hybrid player who can hit at linebacker but can also use his speed and athleticism to make plays in coverage in a safety position.
Round 4, pick 136
Armani Watts, S, Texas A&M (5’10″, 202 lbs)
Watts is a superior athlete with four years of starting experience under his belt. His playmaking ability, understanding of the position and athleticism make him a real nice look in the fourth round.
Round 6, pick 176
Hercules Mata’Afa, DE/OLB, Washington St. (6’2″ 250, lbs)
Although he was a interior defensive lineman in college, scouts and experts are saying his size will not let him play that in the NFL and his real value could come at linebacker or as a special teams juggernaut. His second to none work ethic and tough nose style make him an interesting prospect.
Round 6, pick 183
Bradley Bozeman, C, Alabama (6’5″, 320 lbs)
The Crimson Tide constantly produce great linemen, and Bozeman, with his ideal size and experience, would make a nice fit on a team whose O-line needs will be pressing soon.
RD 6 – Pick 194
Taylor Hearn – OG – Clemson – 6’4 325
Hearn is a big, strong prospect with long arms. He could be an interesting project who will definitely need work, but the potential is definitely there.
Round 6, pick 195
Trayvon Henderson, S, Hawaii (6’0″, 200 lbs)
A very aggressive safety, Henderson makes a lot of nice plays around the line of scrimmage and could be used a lot as a special teams guy. However, h needs to work on his speed if he wants a big time shot at playing the safety position.
The Rams aren’t going to be drafting any Day 1 guys, but with what looks like an absolute football guru in Coach Sean McVay leading the way, the Rams can turn these no-name picks into sleeper gems.
Sure, the Los Angeles Rams don’t have a first- or even second-round pick this year. But that’s no problem, no problem at all.