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Los Angeles Rams April Scouting Report
What a difference a year makes! Last year at this time, the Rams were Super Bowl Champions planning to "run it back" as they prepared for the April Draft. This year they are coming off a 5-12 season, missing the playoffs, and need to replace numerous starters heading into the Draft. As usual, Los Angeles does not have a first round pick; however, they do have an early second round pick that is 36th overall. The Rams have 11 total picks with 8 coming in the last three rounds so they need to find some late round sleepers. The Rams biggest needs are at Edge Rusher, Cornerback, and both Offensive and Defensive Lines. Let’s take a look at the picks the Rams have and players who could be available at that draft slot. The number in parenthesis is the overall pick.
ROUND 2 (36): The Offensive line was decimated by injuries in 2022 and starting Center Brian Allen missed several games. Allen is undersized and has been limited by several injuries. Los Angeles blew it two years ago when they passed on All-Pro Center Creed Humphries so I hope they select Minnesota OL John-Michael Schmitz. Schmitz is a highly regarded prospect who could be gone by the time Los Angeles is on the clock. Another player originally mentioned as a potential fit for the Rams but has since climbed draft boards is Georgia LB Nolan Smith. Smith ran a 4.39 forty at the combine and displayed great explosiveness (41.5" vertical and 10’-8" broad jump). Smith is not considered a first round pick but if he miraculously slipped to the Rams, that would be a dream pick. Ironically, Smith has been compared to former Ram Samson Ebukam. Alabama OL Tyler Steen is a player who should be available at 36 and could develop into a quality player for Los Angeles. If the Rams want defensive help, USC DE Tuli Tuipulotu, LSU DE B.J. Ojulari, and Arkansas LB Drew Sanders are three prospects who could help this unit. I think Sanders could fill Bobby Wagner’s spot next to Ernest Jones and Drew is also adept at rushing the passer.
ROUND 3 (69 & 77): Los Angeles needs players that can help this season; however, they also need a young quarterback to develop behind Matthew Stafford. Georgia QB Setson Bennett would be a nice selection with either of these picks. If the Rams do not take an offensive lineman with their first pick, they could take Wisconsin OL Joe Tippmann. He is a tall center with two years of starting experience for the Badgers and Los Angeles likes O-linemen from Wisconsin (Rob Havenstein and Logan Bruss are current Ram linemen from Wisconsin). If Los Angeles wants to bolster their defensive backfield, Illinois DB Sidney Brown is an athletic safety who could help on special teams as he earns playing time with the defense similar to Nick Scott who recently left in free agency. If Brown is gone, Boise State DB JL Skinner is a tall athletic safety who could help soften the loss of Scott and Taylor Rapp. If Los Angeles is looking for corner, one NFL.com mock has the Rams taking Michigan CB DJ Turner II.
ROUND 5 (167, 171, & 177): When you get this late in the Draft, you are hoping the pick can contribute on special teams and eventually provide depth for the offense or defense. Los Angeles needs a return man after losing Brandon Powell and could also add depth to the running back room. ECU RB Keaton Mitchell would be a great pick if he lasts this long. Mitchell has blazing speed and is a good receiver out of the backfield. I think Keaton would be a dynamic return man and better third down back then Kyren Williams. I saw a Mock Draft that had Los Angeles taking QB Stetson Bennett with the 171 pick, which would be a great bargain in my opinion.
ROUND 6 (182, 189, & 191): The Rams lost their entire special teams kicking unit so why not take the top punter from the college ranks? Rutgers SP Adam Korsak is an Australian player who won the 2022 Ray Guy award as the nation’s best punter. Los Angeles will look to add depth with these picks and if any player selected in the sixth or seventh round makes the team and contributes on game day that should be considered a great pick. DB Jordan Fuller (2020) and DB Derion Kendrick (2022) were sixth round picks who have started for Los Angeles. DB Quentin Lake is another 2022 sixth round who could play a bigger role in 2023.
ROUND 7 (223 & 251): Not many punters or kickers get drafted but Los Angeles needs both and with five picks in the last two rounds, they could Draft one of each. Since I have the Rams taking a punter in round six, I will have them take kicker in the final round. North Carolina State PK Christopher Dunn won the 2022 Lou Groza award as the top kicker in the Nation; however, there are several other prospects worthy of being taken. I like Maryland PK Chad Ryland as he has a strong leg and I think he can improve his accuracy with proper coaching. From a name standpoint, my two favorite kickers are Zack Long from Tulsa and Casey Legg from West Virginia. Unfortunately, Legg retired from football after his college career. The Rams selected DB Russ Yeast, OL A.J. Arcuri, and DE Daniel Hardy in the seventh round last year and all three should have opportunity to improve their playing time. OL Tremayne Anchrum (2020) and WR Ben Skowronek (2021) are two seventh round picks who have contributed on Sundays.
The Rams have eleven picks in this Draft and I would not be surprised if GM Les Snead makes moves to attain additional picks. Los Angeles needs to hit homeruns with their early picks and make sure at least 8-9 of the eleven picks make the roster or at least the Practice Squad. What will be even more important to the team’s 2023 success is how well the 2021 and 2022 Draft picks develop and improve to help the team. DL Bobby Brown III and CB Robert Rochell from the 2021 class need to step up and claim first team spots. OL Logan Bruss missed his entire rookie season so hopefully he competes for a starting position. CB Cobie Durant made plays when on the field last season and is primed to start full time in his second season. Los Angeles has done a nice job developing their young players and this season will rely on that success. Have a Happy Easter and God Bless you and your families. Love and blessings to my family; miss you Pops and Scratch! Aloha!
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