Los Angeles Rams May Scouting Report
The picks are in, now it’s time to go to work! The Rams entered NFL Draft with eight picks and after some wheeling and dealing, they ended with eight picks. This was the first draft for HC Sean McVay and GM Les Snead together and they made some interesting picks. Most of the players selected come from small schools; however, they were productive players and many showed well at the Senior Bowl. This post draft report will look at each pick and the potential contributions to the Rams and Fantasy teams in 2017. The number in parenthesis is the overall pick number.
ROUND 2, PICK 12 (44): TE Gerald Everett (South Alabama) is an athletic tight end who is a little undersized but he reminds scouts of Jordan Reed who McVay was able to feature in Washington. The Rams traded down from the fifth spot where I wanted them to take WR Zay Jones; ironically, the Bills who traded with the Rams took Jones with their pick in that spot. Several draft graders felt Los Angeles might have reached slightly for Everett but there is no guarantee that he would have lasted until the Rams picked again. Second year TE Tyler Higbee is penciled in as the starter but is unproven so Everett will have an opportunity to make his mark early and could possibly beat out Higbee as the starter. I think Higbee holds on to the starting spot but Everett sees a lot of action in two tight end sets and will hopefully contribute on special teams. His only Fantasy value is on deep Dynasty leagues and even then probably not much value there.
ROUND 3, PICK 5 (69): WR Cooper Kupp (Eastern Washington) set numerous records in college, including receiving yards (6,464) and FCS records for receiving touchdowns (73) and receptions (428). Kupp might not be the fastest player but he has decent size and great hands. More importantly, he has a super work ethic and is a very smart player. The Rams do not have an established number one receiver so Cooper will be given the chance to crack the starting lineup from day one of training camp. Even if he does start, the Ram’s passing game is still a work in progress so I expect modest numbers in his rookie season. Cooper does have potential in Dynasty leagues but it will take a lot of improvement from the Rams and Kupp himself to reach Fantasy relevancy. For 2017 I think WR3 would be nice ceiling for him to reach.
ROUND 3, PICK 27 (91): FS John Johnson (Boston College) can play safety or corner but will more than likely play safety for the Rams. He had a solid college career and has the potential to be an even better pro player. Johnson is very versatile with good ball skills. He is a solid tackler but he is by no means a "thumper". If he can earn the starting job heading into the season, Johnson could be a nice sleeper in Fantasy leagues the include Individual Defensive Players (IDP). If he doesn’t start, he should still help the Rams as depth and on special teams. This was a solid pick for Los Angeles and was acquired when they traded down in the second round. Hopefully both players contribute from day one.
ROUND 4, PICK 10 (117): WR Josh Reynolds (Texan A&M) is a tall and long wide receiver who does his best work down the field. The Rams needed someone to stretch the field and hopefully Reynolds will fill that need. Los Angeles originally had the fifth pick in this round but traded down with the Bears hoping that Reynolds would still be there when they picked at ten. Fortunately he was and will give the Rams the deep threat they lost when Kenny Britt left in free agency. I do not think Josh has any Fantasy value right now but he could develop along with the rest of the offense.
ROUND 4, PICK 19 (125): LB Samson Ebukam (Eastern Washington) is an athletic freak and my favorite pick of this entire Rams draft class. In my pre-draft report I slotted Ebukam to the Rams in the sixth round. Obviously Los Angeles valued him even higher than I did as they traded back up in the fourth round to select Samson. Ebukam played with Cooper Kupp at Eastern Washington so hopefully they can transition smoothly from college to the Pro game. Samson was a stand-up defensive end in college and will learn to play outside linebacker for the Rams. His incredible work ethic and physicality should earn him a starting spot on special teams to start the season while he learns the intricacies of being a professional linebacker. I am excited to see Samson play even if his Fantasy impact will be minimal in 2017.
ROUND 6, PICK 5 (189): DT Tanzel Smart (Tulane) may lack size but he makes up for that with passion and effort. Smart could be a nice fit in DC Wade Phillips scheme as a 3-technique tackle and should provide depth behind All-Pro DT Aaron Donald. He has no Fantasy value but finding someone who can contribute in the sixth round is dare I say it, a "smart" pick!
ROUND 6, PICK 22 (206): FB Sam Rogers (Virginia Tech) is a squatty ball of fire according the NFL network analysts. He will never be a star but he should help the Rams in many areas, including blocking for RB Todd Gurley, on special teams, and making occasional runs or catches to move the chains. No Fantasy value here so let’s move on.
ROUND 7, PICK 16 (234): DE Ejuan Price (Pittsburgh) is another short but explosive player who give great effort, similar to Smart and Rogers. Price played end in college but will be asked to play more of an outside linebacker for the Ram defense. He played with DT Aaron Donald at Pitt so hopefully he can produce even slightly as well as his college teammate. If Ejuan can develop as a linebacker, he could have potential as an IDP.
The Rams selected one of the players from my wish list (Ebukam) so I am very happy with that pick. Overall, I think the Rams took players at positions of need and even though most of the players came from smaller schools, they could develop into solid pros. In my pre-draft report, I had Los Angeles taking a receiver, defensive back, two linebackers, one offensive lineman, a tight end, and a running back. They took all of those positions except for lineman and running back so I was pretty close. OTAs and training camp are right around the corner so enjoy until next month. Love and blessings to my family. Miss you Pops! Aloha!
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