Los Angeles Rams April Scouting Report
THE SHOW MUST GO ON! The Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc to the entire civilized world but it could not stop the NFL! Free agency proceeded as scheduled in March and the 2020 Draft will start on April 23 as planned, albeit in a totally revamped format. The Rams need to rebuild as they have lost seven starters from last season’s final roster; with the most recent being WR Brandin Cooks who will be traded to the Texans along with a 2020 4th round pick for the Texan’s 2nd round pick this year (57th overall). The Rams currently have seven total picks but no first round pick for the fourth year in a row. In fact, unless they make a trade, the Rams won’t pick in the first round next year either as a result of the trade for CB Jalen Ramsey. Whether it was cuts (Gurley and Mathews), free agency (Littleton, Fowler, and Zuerlein), retirement (Weddle), and now trades (Cooks); the Rams need seven new starters. Those losses combined with the players retained (DL Michael Brockers, OT Andrew Whitworth, and OL Austin Blythe) and added (Floyd and Robinson) help define the Ram’s draft needs. EDGE RUSHER, LINEBACKER, RECEIVER, and RUNNING BACK are positions of need; while O-LINE and SAFETY could also use help. This pre-draft report will look at the Ram’s picks and whom they might select with those picks. The number in parenthesis is the overall pick number. My picks are players I would like to see the Rams select if they are available when they pick.
ROUND 2, PICK 20 (52): Los Angeles is thin at safety after Weddle’s retirement and losing Marquis Christian to free agency. The Rams were fortunate to select FS Taylor Rapp last year and he filled in admirably for FS John Johnson who went on injured reserve. Johnson is back and will start alongside Rapp, but Los Angeles could us another quality player. The Rams also need help at EDGE and LINEBACKER and if LB Zack Baun (Wisconsin) were to fall to 52, Los Angeles should take him without hesitation. I think Baun will be gone by the time the Rams are on the clock. My pick: SS Jeremy Chinn (Southern Illinois) is a phenomenal athlete with solid bloodlines (uncle is HOF SS Steve Atwater). Chinn provides immediate depth and has the potential to become a solid starter like Rapp. Also, Chinn sounds like an Asian surname, which would be cool next to Rapp, who is half Asian.
ROUND 2, PICK 25 (57): This is the pick acquired from the Texans in exchange for Cooks. With Whitworth and Blythe returning, the Rams have eight O-linemen who have starting experience; however, they still need to improve the quality. My pick: OC Tyler Biadasz (Wisconsin) won the 2019 Remington Trophy as the Nation’s best Center and he would be an immediate upgrade over both Brian Allen and Austin Blythe who started at Center for the Rams in 2019. The loss of Cooks could prompt the Rams to look for a new receiver early; however, I think they address the O-line first and take a receiver later.
ROUND 3, PICK 20 (84): After losing Littleton and Fowler to free agency the Rams need help at Linebacker and Edge Rusher. Based on my Second Round Picks, I have Los Angeles addressing these two positions in the Third Round. Los Angeles has confidence in third year linebacker LB Micah Kiser but they still need help at that position. My pick: LB Jordyn Brooks (Texas Tech) was a productive player in college and he has the athleticism and skill set to earn a starting spot next to Kiser.
ROUND 3, PICK 40 (104): I have Los Angeles taking Brooks with their first pick in the Third Round and with their second pick I think they take an Edge Rusher. The Rams could take a rusher first and then take a Linebacker but either way, I have the same players. My pick: ED Darrell Taylor (Tennessee) is a powerful player with attributes of an elite pass rusher but needs to develop his talents to reach his full potential.
ROUND 4, PICK 20 (126): After losing Gurley and Brooks the Rams need to add juice to the offense. My pick: WR Antonio Gibson (Memphis) is an explosive player who also plays running back. He might be a little raw but he has big time speed, size, strength, and athleticism to be an exciting piece in McVay’s offense.
ROUND 6, PICK 20 (199): Los Angeles is thin at Running Back and projected starter 2019 pick RB Darrell Henderson is not built to be a bell-cow back like Gurley was. My pick: RB Joshua Kelley (UCLA) is a solid if not spectacular back who could very well be selected much earlier. If he does happen to fall this far, he would be a nice complement to Henderson.
ROUND 7, PICK 20 (234): With the final pick of the 2020 Draft the Rams could go in a lot of directions. HC Sean McVay and GM Les Snead like to take cornerbacks to develop so I think they go that route with their last choice. My pick: CB Michael Ojemudia (Iowa) is a productive player from a big time program who would be a nice prospect to get in the last round as he could be selected much earlier.
There are so many players who could help the Rams and the players listed above are just some of my favorites. Other players who could potentially be on the Ram’s radar at positions of need are as follows:
Edge Rusher: Terrell Lewis (Alabama), Alton Robinson (Syracuse), and Julian Okwara (Notre Dame) are edge rushers who could be taken in the first three rounds.
Linebacker: Malik Harrison (Ohio State), Troy Dye (Oregon), Davion Taylor (Colorado), and Akeem Davis-Gaither (Appalachian State) are linebackers who should go in rounds three to five.
Receiver: Brandon Aiyuk (Arizona State) and Denzel Mims (Baylor) if they take one early; Tyler Johnson (Minnesota), Isaiah Coulter (Rhode Island), and Quez Watkins (Southern Mississippi) if they wait until after third round.
Running Back: Zack Mozz (Utah), A.J. Dillon (Boston College), and Ke’shawn Vaughn (Vanderbilt) are big bruising backs who would be the Thunder to Darrell Henderson’s Lightning. These three backs, along with Joshua Kelley project to be taken in round three or later.
The Draft is always an exciting event with many surprises. Two things have been consistent during the Sean McVay/Les Snead era, one; they have yet to make a first round selection and two; they make Draft Day trades. They started the trading early this year by sending Bradin Cooks to the Texans for a 2nd round pick. I think Los Angeles makes more trades during the draft. No matter what happens, I hope all of you are safe and well during this trying time. Now is the time to have Faith! Love and blessings to my family. Miss you Pops! Aloha!
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