Perfect Picks: Los Angeles Rams
With the NFL Draft approaching we will be looking at each team and evaluating where they need to improve. In this particular series we will run a seven round mock using the Draft Network Mock machine and find the ‘Perfect Picks’ for each franchise.
We will highlight five players that could help each team. This will include a ‘flex’ pick where we give you two ways a potential pick could go depending on how the board falls. All in all you will get picks 1 and 2, a mid round gem and a late round sleeper. Our final installment is the Los Angeles Rams.
After an underwhelming Super Bowl loss in 2019 to the Patriots, the Rams have spent picks and free agency money to try and get another shot. Last year, it resulted in a 9-7 finish and the Rams must act now while they still have stars in the shape of Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey and Jared Goff. Building around them in the draft is a must for the GM-Coach pairing of Les Snead and Sean McVay.
Round 2 - Pick 52 - Lucas Niang, OT, TCU
Andrew Whitworth signed a three-year deal this off-season having enjoyed an excellent twilight to his career in LA. The deal, which he most likely plays two years of, will at least see him reach age 40. With that in mind it should be imperative for the Rams to start looking for a long term replacement. Guarding against any potential injury and allowing a younger player to develop without having to hit the field from day one.
Without a first round pick the Rams would most likely have to look at a player like TCU’s Lucas Niang. He is a behemoth at 6’7 but has the ability to get to the second level and block. If the Rams feel they can trade Rob Havenstein they can develop Bobby Evans and Niang as their future bookends.
Round 3 - Pick 84 - Akeem Davis-Gaither, LB, Appalachian State
There are plenty of question marks over the inside linebacker group at the LA Rams. One of the biggest free agency losses this year was that of Cory Littleton. Littleton had developed into one of the league’s better off-ball linebackers and was paid handsomely to take his talents to the Raiders.
If the Rams are looking for a direct replacement then Akeem Davis-Gaither offers excellent value in the third round. Although small of stature the App State linebacker flies around the field and has solid coverage skills. His ability as a tackler and dropping into coverage could mean a team fall in love and makes a play earlier than this. If not, it would seem a great fit for both player and team.
Flex Pick - Pick 84 - Khalid Kareem, Edge, Notre Dame
If the Rams decide to use their second round pick on the other side of the ball they should be looking at potential edge rushers. They brought in Clay Matthews last year but he had minimal effect. This year they brought in Leonard Floyd from the Bears. Floyd has flashed potential as a speed rusher, but not enough to think he can be a consistent threat.
While Khalid Kareem doesn’t project as a speed rusher like Floyd he could offer balance or step into a couple of different roles. Kareem was the more powerful edge setter of the Notre Dame partnership he formed with Julian Okwara. He is a strong run stopper who has the potential to become more of a pass rushing threat in the right system. He also has the flexibility to play on the interior if needed.
Mid Round Gem - Pick 104 - Amik Robertson, CB, Louisiana Tech
At some point in this draft the Rams will have to address the cornerback position. Projected starters Jalen Ramsey and Troy Hill both enter the season in the last year of their deals. Behind them there is a lack of depth. That means at the very least the Rams need to add help for their nickel package and ideally need to find a future starting outside corner as well.
They could fill their nickel slot with Louisiana Tech’s Amik Robertson. Robertson has the feisty nature that should serve him well in the NFL. His lack of size means he is unlikely to become more than a slot corner but his eye for an interception will make him a valuable piece of an NFL defense.
Late Round Sleeper - Pick 199 - Trevis Gipson, Edge, Tulsa
Earlier in the draft we looked at the potential for the Rams to select an edge rusher in the third round. While someone like Khalid Kareem might not be the obvious fit for the Rams 3-4 defense a player like Tulsa’s Trevis Gipson could be.
Gipson is a long limbed edge rusher who is the epitome of a late round selection. He has bags of upside and flashes speed and bend off the edge. For now he hasn’t put it all together and his raw technique needs plenty of refinement. He would be a pass rush specialist but in the undermanned Rams edge room he could make more noise than you would expect from a sixth rounder.
Draft in full
52. Lucas Niang (OT)
84. Akeem Davis-Gaither (LB)
104. Amik Robertson (CB)
126. Lamical Perine (RB)
199. Trevis Gipson (Edge)
234. Brian Lewerke (QB)
formerly writing for the inside zone, rory will be breaking down college tape and keeping you up-to-date with all things CFB for the touchdown. an avid bengals fan, you can also find some of rory’s work at stripehype.com