The Rams will have quite the hangover after only putting up three points in the Super Bowl. They lost some key pieces in free agency and will look to the draft to replace them.
The offense is led by former number one overall pick Jared Goff. He will have his doubters after a lackluster playoff performance but nobody can doubt what he did in the regular season. They need to understand that he lost Cooper Kupp, his favorite target, and Todd Gurley was dealing with knee arthritis issues. Goff is still an excellent option at quarterback. They also have a top option at backup as the Rams signed Blake Bortles as an insurance policy.
Todd Gurley is an elite running back in the NFL. He is dealing with some knee arthritis issues though that hindered him in the playoffs. They may need to scale back his workload. With that said Malcolm Brown was decent in spurts last but it is in the teams best interest to add a running back in this draft. The offensive line was a thing of beauty for the Rams ranking first in run blocking and sixth in pass protection.
Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett round out a solid tight end group. The Rams are also pretty set at wide receiver having four capable bodies in Brandin Cooks, Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, and Josh Reynolds.
Aaron Donald had a career year last season and it had a lot to do with playing next to All-Pro Ndamukong Suh. Before Suh Donald had sack totals of 9, 11, 8, and 11. When Suh came to town Donald blew up for 20.5 sacks and I believe it had a lot to do with Suh soaking up blockers in the middle. They should invest in a disruptive force in the middle as they already have Michael Brockers playing the opposite defensive end position.
The team is looking decent at the moment at the linebacker position. Cory Littleton is a stud and performs well at every facet of the game. Dante Fowler Jr. proved his worth after the trade last season really stepping his game up in the post season. The team signed Clay Matthews in free agency as an inside linebacker but he is not the same player and they should look to replace him. Samson Ebukam played decent last year in extra time but needs to make more strides for 2019.
The Rams lost Lemarcus Joyner to the Raiders in free agency but were able to replace him with former All-Pro Eric Weddle. He joins John Johnson III as the other safety who had a breakout season last year and is one of the better safeties in the league. Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib fill the out the outside corner positions which is an aggressive duo. Nickell Roby-Coleman oddly enough plays the nickel corner and Troy Hill is a promising youngster but after him they are very thin.
Round 1, Pick #31 Mack Wilson, Linebacker- Alabama
Mack Wilson has gone from a consensus first round pick and top three linebacker to what some say is more of a round four guy in just the past few months. I am still quite high on Wilson myself and I believe many NFL teams will be as well. Wilson is good with his hands with a solid punch that allows him to play on the line. He is the mold of the new age linebacker as he can cover both running backs and tight ends adequately.
In his two years as a full-time starter he was able to come up with six interceptions in 25 games. His game honestly reminds me of current Rams linebacker Cory Littleton, not as polished, but same gameplay style. Clay Matthews is slated to start inside this year and he may be slid outside depending on both how Samson Ebukam plays and how well Mack Wilson performs. Wilson and Littleton could form a nice linebacker duo.
Round 3, Pick #95 Jordan Brailford, Edge- Oklahoma St.
The Rams can use a little help at outside linebacker if Samson Ebukam does not develop more this year. Dante Fowler Jr. has made the transition from defensive end to outside linebacker and has thrived in his last few games at the position. Brailford should be able to make the same type transition.
He has solid speed for his size as he ran a 4.65 second 40 yard dash at 6’3 and 250 Lbs. Brailford did drop back in zone coverage from time to time this season so he does understand coverages. His production has been solid though totaling 112 tackles, 28 tackles for a loss, 15 sacks, one pass defended, one interception and three forced fumbles. Brailford can add to the depth of the pass rush on the team and push Ebukam for snaps.
Round 3, Pick #100 Isaiah Buggs, Defensive Line- Alabama
Buggs played defensive end in base schemes last season for Alabama but will be making a full transition to defensive tackle when he hits the NFL. Buggs has a quick reaction to the snap and his first step is incredibly quick. He also has great lateral quickness to beat blockers and attack the gaps. In two seasons with the Tide he totaled 103 tackles, 17.5 tackles for a loss, 11 sacks, three passes defended, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
Buggs is disruptive enough in the middle to require attention from the offensive line. To start the season he could push for starting snaps and allow Aaron Donald a little less attention. Donald will be double teamed all season but if Buggs can excel than Donald should be able to make an impact like he did with Suh by his side.
Round 4, Pick #134 Nate Davis, Offensive Guard- UNC-Charlotte
Davis has proven to be able to block in both power and outside zone run schemes. He carries a very powerful frame on top of surprisingly quick feet. His one main flaw may be a lack of length but outside of that there are not many glaring holes in his game. Davis uses incredible flexibility to get low and great leverage in his stance. His reaction time to rush moves is great and his hand usage to keep rushers of balance is solid. Davis would be a very nice addition to the interior of the Rams offensive line.
Round 5, Pick #170 Hamp Cheevers, Cornerback- Boston College
Hamp Cheevers is an undersized corner to say the least at 5’9 and 169 Lbs. He only has one year of starting under his belt but that year show some promise. In 2018 he totaled 39 tackles, seven passes defended, a FBS leading seven interceptions, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a touchdown. That year led to him receiving First Team All-ACC and Third Team All-American honors.
One thing that Cheevers does well is read a quarterbacks eyes and body. He breaks off deep routes quickly when reading a throw underneath and when the ball is thrown deep he does a very good job of locating the ball when in coverage. The Rams are thin after their top three cornerbacks and Cheevers could add some nice depth.
Round 6, Pick #205 Myles Gaskin, Running Back- Washington
Myles Gaskin has enjoyed an incredibly productive college career including being Washington’s all-time leading rusher, 3rd all-time in the conference, and had four straight seasons over 1,000 yards rushing. He also has a total of 62 touchdowns for his career. Gaskin is slighty undersized though for the position but has proven to be durable and handle a heavy workload.
Why does he drop to the sixth round then? There is not that much need at the position this year. After the top three or four backs teams seem to be drafting traits over production. He is less explosive than Darrell Henderson, less elusive than Devin Singletary, and not as powerful or decisive as Elijah Holyfield. With that said Gaskin would be a wonderful change of pace back for Todd Gurley. In fact he could handle a full workload if Gurley’s knee starts acting up again.
Round 7, Pick #253 Gary Jennings Jr., Wide Receiver- West Virginia
The Rams do not need a receiver but Jennings brings a healthy dose of size, speed and toughness to the receiving corps. He stands at 6’1 and 214 Lbs. while running a 4.42 second 40 yard dash. The only reason he drops to the seventh round is his lack of perfection of any one skill. What Jennings does well is making contested catches. If he wants to make an NFL impact he needs to polish up his route running skills and ball tracking. He will come into the team fifth on the depth chart with definite ability to move up.
The Rams are looking to make another push to the Super Bowl and do a solid job in the draft. They grab Mack Wilson in the first round to help Cory Littleton in the middle of the field. The Rams lacked any real linebacker play outside of Littleton last season. With two picks in the third they start by grabbing Jordan Brailford. He adds pass rush depth and will hopefully win the starting outside linebacker position down the line.
With their second pick in the third round the Rams grab Isaiah Buggs out of Alabama. He is a disruptive big man in the middle who they hope can pick up a chunk of the slack left behind by Ndamukong Suh. In the fourth round they add to their already impressive offensive line, offensive guard Nate Davis form UNC-Charlotte. You can never have too many starting caliber interior lineman. During the fifth round the Rams grab some corner depth by drafting Hamp Cheevers out of Boston College. He co-led the FBS in interceptions last season with seven.
In the sixth round the Rams get steal by selecting ultra productive running back Myles Gaskin out of Washington. He will be Gurley’s back up and insurance in case his knee gives him trouble. Finally they select Gary Jennings Jr. out of West Virginia in the seventh round. This late in the draft you are just adding the best talent you can. Jennings has tantalizing size and speed and with coaching could become a productive receiver.
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