Despite a 10-6 year, the Los Angeles Rams have major questions within their roster entering the offseason. A wild-card weekend upset of their NFC West foe Seattle Seahawks highlighted their campaign before a defeat to the much superior Green Bay Packers.
The Rams enter the draft without a first-round selection following the Jalen Ramsey trade, which has left some Los Angeles fans with a sour taste in their mouth following the performances of Davante Adams and Allen Lazard on Saturday. More was expected from the NFL’s No.1 ranked defense against Green Bay, which has a trickle-down effect to Ramsey on the outside.
There are holes offensively up front as well, and the patch job conducted by general manager Les Snead on an aging offensive line must be addressed. The future of the franchise leans on the right arm of Jared Goff: protect your most valuable asset.
So, let’s get right to it. Using our Mock Draft Machine, I looked at which prospects Los Angeles could target this April when the annual draft rolls around. Here is my seven-round mock, including scheme fit, on each prospect:
Round 2 (No. 57 overall): Creed Humphrey, IOL, Oklahoma
Two outliers here.
First, I do think general manager Les Snead adds a veteran offensive lineman in free agency. Second, in this scenario, there was a run on interior offensive linemen before this selection. Although the likes of Trey Smith (Tennessee) or Landon Dickerson (Alabama) could prove to be a better fit, you can’t deny the pure talent the former Sooner exemplifies on a weekly basis. He’s durable—36 straight starts at Oklahoma—and is one of the smartest football players in this year’s class—a must at the center position.
How he fits: Humphrey isn’t uber-athletic, but what he lacks in agility and movement skills he makes up for in hand position and strength. He’s “country strong,” and his addition within Sean McVay’s offense would provide a shot of youth-infused talent into an offensive line that is in dire need of improvement.
Round 3 (No. 88 overall): Walker Little, OT, Stanford
It was need over fit here in the third round. I really wanted do-it-all linebacker Jabril Cox out of LSU, but the front-five of Los Angeles simply can’t be ignored. Andrew Whitworth looks to be finished in Los Angeles. Fresh legs are needed on the outside for a Rams offense that does so many things schematically. An individual with the build (6-foot-7) and talent of Little would thrive in the Rams’ offense.
How he fits: A former 5-star recruit in high school, Little possesses prototypical size at left tackle with strong hands and excellent feet to counter stunts and twists. Despite suffering a knee injury in 2019 and opting out in 2020, there have been zero concerns of the potential effectiveness of Little within an NFL offense. He will be a day one starter.
Round 3 (No. 100 overall): Charles Snowden, LB, Virginia
Similar to the Micah Kiser selection in 2018, Los Angeles grabs another rangy linebacker out of Charlottesville with the hope of immediate production next fall. The loss of Cory Littleton in free agency loomed large as Los Angeles’ defense lacked punch at the second level. Snowden is beyond-wiry at 6-foot-7, but uses his length to his advantage.
How he fits: He’s active in the run game pressing gaps while his hands work to elude offensive linemen. In the passing game, he’s a sideline-to-sideline defender who uses long strides to cover opposing backs and tight ends. He also has shown skill in rushing the passer, using an elite inside move that should translate well to the next level.
Round 4 (No. 103 overall): Keith Taylor, CB, Washington
With outstanding length at 6-foot-3, Taylor would join a budding Rams secondary with the aforementioned All-Pro Ramsey on the other side of the field.
How he fits: Taylor’s versatility as both a slot and outside corner would fit perfectly in Los Angeles for whoever takes over as their new defensive coordinator. According to our own Drae Harris, Taylor can literally play every position in the secondary in subpackages. He uses his good length on the edge in press-man coverage. He demonstrates some range as a low hole zone defender and can also blitz off the edge.
Round 4 (No. 137 overall): Chuba Hubbard, RB, Oklahoma State
The Rams’ backfield has been stagnant since the departure of Todd Gurley last year. Cam Akers has proven to be a nice addition, but another talent in the backfield (like Hubbard) would add an additional piece in an ever-evolving McVay offense.
How he fits: Hubbard is a flat-out stud. One of the top players at the collegiate level, Hubbard alongside Akers in Los Angeles is, dare I say, “showtime.” He’s patient at the point of attack with an elite first step that quickly allows Hubbard to get into the second level before first contact. He’s always falling forward and would thrive in McVay’s zone-outside hybrid running game. Oh, and he touts track speed. This is a home-run selection in the fourth round.
Round 6 (No. 204 overall): Micheal Clemons, EDGE, Texas A&M
Clemons is a project. At 6-foot-5, he uses his length to his advantage but is very raw as a pass rusher. He sets a nice edge in the run but needs work with his hand in the dirt (where he fits best within a defense), where he’s able to use his 270-pound athletic frame to go through and around opposing tackles. If he develops correctly, he could be an outstanding player for Los Angeles.
How he fits: An additional piece to assist Aaron Donald in rushing the passer is a big need, as was shown Saturday against Green Bay—once No. 99 went out, Los Angeles’ front was ineffective. Grabbing a talent like Clemons in the sixth round is an immediate impact value that cannot be passed up.
Round 7 (No. 248 overall): Tamorrion Terry, WR, Florida State
Let me be honest, I really wanted to take a quarterback here. The inconsistencies of Goff have raised many questions, and albeit just a seventh-round selection, another gun-slinger alongside Goff in the QB room raises eyebrows. Iron sharpens iron, but I digress.
Josh Reynolds is an unrestricted free agent, and I don’t see Snead tying up any more money into his wideouts with over $100 million owed to Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods.
How he fits: Terry is an exciting prospect. At 6-foot-4, he flashes all the tools to be an impact wideout. He’s physical on the outside, and with an immense wingspan and hand strength, he’s elite on 50-50 balls. He consistently beat opposing corners with a smooth but quick stride and could develop into a menacing red-zone target for Goff.
The Rams remain one of the NFC’s elite. With Goff and one of the brightest minds in the league in McVay, the Rams’ upcoming rookie class could provide the step the Rams need on their climb back to NFL royalty.