Los Angeles Rams May Scouting Report
Get them picks! A year ago, the Rams were Super Bowl Champions and left the Draft with eight picks. GM Les Snead has a reputation for trading draft picks for veteran players but 2023 was completely different as Los Angeles parted ways with numerous veterans and accumulated fourteen draft picks! The Rams have lowered their salary cap and will depend on young player to develop. Let’s look at the Ram selections and their possible impact for the franchise. The number in parenthesis is the overall pick number.
ROUND 2, PICK 05 (36): OG Steve Avila (TCU) is a great pick that combines talent and need. Avila can play all three interior line positions and should start day one for Los Angeles. His impact will be protecting Matthew Stafford and opening holes for Cam Akers and the run game.
ROUND 3, PICK 14 (77): LB Byron Young (Tennessee) is another talent meets need pick for the Rams. Young was the highest rated edge rusher when Los Angeles was on the clock in the third round. He is older than most rookies but has the talent and work ethic to help the defense immediately.
ROUND 3, PICK 26 (89): DL Kobie Turner (Wake Forrest) has similar physical traits to Aaron Donald and hopefully develops into a similar player, Turner taken in the third round might have been a little early; however, Los Angles had a plan for their next pick and Turner would most likely have been gone by the fifth round..
ROUND 4, PICK 26 (128): QB Stetson Bennett (Georgia) is a proven winner; leading his Bulldogs to two National Championships. Many criticize his size and age but he is much better than either backup quarterback the Rams had last year. Bennett will learn behind Stafford and could potentially become the starter when Stafford retires. I had predicted the Rams taking Bennett in the third round so getting him in the fourth is a bargain.
ROUND 5, PICK 26 (161): LB Nick Hampton (Appalachian State) is a small school standout and fits the mold Los Angeles likes; Samson Ebukam, Chris Garrett, and Daniel Hardy are recent Ram pics with similar backgrounds. Hampton is a little under sized but has athletic ability and will be given a good opportunity to get on the field for the Rams.
ROUND 5, PICK 39 (174): OT Warren McClendon Jr. (Georgia) started at right tackle for Georgia and did not allow a single sack in the last two seasons. McClendon might not have the measurables or athletic test scores of an elite tackle; however, getting a player with his college success at a position of need in the fifth round could be a steal.
ROUND 5, PICK 40 (175): TE Davis Allen (Clemson) is a talented pass catcher with good size and decent athleticism. He is not a great blocker yet but should develop into Tyler Higbee’s backup. The Rams needed another tight end and taking Allen in the fifth round was a good selection.
ROUND 5, PICK 42 (177): WR Puka Nacua (BYU) was an interesting pick as other receivers ranked higher were available when the Rams selected him. Puka has decent size and a versatile skill set that has been compared with former Ram Robert Woods. He could compete with Tutu Atwell, Ben Skowronek, and Lance McCutcheon for playing time in his rookie season.
ROUND 6, PICK 5 (182): CB Tre'Vius Hodges-Tomlinson (TCU) won the 2022 Jim Thorpe award as the Nation’s top defensive back. Tomlinson is only 5’-8" tall but is very physical and plays bigger than his listed size. He is the nephew of Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson and has some of his Uncle’s athletic traits. This was a great value pick in the sixth round.
ROUND 6, PICK 12 (189): LB Ochaun Mathis (Nebraska) is another edge rusher but different from Young and Hampton, Ochaun is a taller (6’-5") player that does not have quite the explosiveness of the other two. Mathis transferred from TCU and did not match the production at Nebraska that he had at TCU. Los Angeles is hoping he regains his form from a few years back and develops into a playmaking edge rusher.
ROUND 6, PICK 38 (215): RB Zach Evans (Ole Miss) is another former TCU player, which makes four former Horned Frogs drafted by Los Angeles. Evans was a 5-star recruit out of high school but did not fulfill his potential due to nagging injuries and minor character concerns. Evans has the talent to be drafted in rounds 2-4, so getting him in the sixth could be the steal of the Rams draft. If Evans stays healthy and works hard, he should be Cam Aker’s backup over Kyren Williams.
ROUND 7, PICK 06 (223): P Ethan Evans (Wingate) is a big punter with a big leg. He is the only punter on the team as of now so the punting job is all but his. If Evans can perform consistently, this will be a great value pick. I am hoping he plays and stays as well as former Ram Johnny Hekker.
ROUND 7, PICK 17 (234): DB Jason Taylor III (Oklahoma State) has good size and decent skills for the position and NFL.com gave him a fourth round grade so getting him in the seventh round is a low risk high reward pick. Taylor should contribute on special teams while developing his game.
ROUND 7, PICK 42 (259): DE Desjuan Johnson (Toledo) is the 2023 Mr. Irrelevant as the final pick of the draft. Last year’s Mr. Irrelevant Brock Purdy became a star for the 49ers and while Johnson might not have the same impact, he could contribute in his rookie season next to Aaron Donald.
GM Les Snead and HC Sean McVay did a great job acquiring picks and utilized them to take quality players at positions of need for this team. I can see all 14 selections making the roster, which would be a huge success. QB Stetson Bennett will be the most talked about pick; however, I think OL Steve Avila will have the biggest impact as a starter in 2023. OT Warren McClendon could also develop into a great pick if he is good enough to eventually take over for current starter Rob Havenstein. Los Angeles also signed numerous undrafted free agents and two in particular caught my eye. PK Christopher Dunn (NC State) was a player I thought the Rams could draft since they had no kicker. WR Xavier Smith (Florida A&M) is a speedy undersized receiver with punt and kickoff return skills who could help the Rams special teams. See you next month as we update off season progress for the Rams. Love and blessings to my family. Miss you Pops and Scratch! Aloha!
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