Los Angeles Rams February Scouting Report
WELCOME BACK! After a surprisingly successful 2017 season, the Rams are optimistic for greater achievements in 2018. It has been a busy start to the off season for Los Angeles with several additions as well as losses. On the coaching front, the Rams lost Quarterback Coach Greg Olson and Offensive Coordinator Matt LaFleur to the Raiders and Titans respectively. The Rams filled those voids in house so the offense should continue to run smoothly under HC Sean McVay. The big acquisition was All-Pro CB Marcus Peters, who Los Angeles traded for. The Rams gave the Chiefs a 2017 fourth round pick and a 2019 second round pick. Los Angeles will also receive the Chief’s 2018 sixth round pick. The trade will be official when the New League Year opens on March 14. With the scouting combine starting this week, followed by free agency, and leading to the draft, let’s take a look at the current Fantasy positions.
QB: QB Jared Goff was much improved in his second season and earned his first Pro Bowl appearance. Jared thrived in McVay’s system and should be even better in 2018. QB Sean Mannion is Goff’s backup and is a solid player to have on the bench.
RB: RB Todd Gurley played in his second Pro Bowl, was named to the All-Pro team, and won the NFL Offensive Player of the Year award. Todd is one of the top three running backs in the league and should be one of the top three picks in 2018 Fantasy Drafts. RB Malcom Brown played well in relief of Gurley and should retain that role next season. RB Lance Dunbar was injured most of 2017 and may not be back. If Dunbar is gone, the Rams would be interested in a change of pace "scat-back".
WR: WR Robert Woods, WR Cooper Kupp, WR Pharoh Cooper, and WR Josh Reynolds are the top returning receivers. WR Sammy Watkins would be but he is a free-agent so Los Angeles needs to sign him to a long-term contract, franchise tag him, or let him walk in free agency. WR Tavon Austin saw his role diminish as the season played out and could be a salary cap casualty. WR Mike Thomas played mostly special teams when he returned from suspension and his role in 2018 is undefined. The Rams did an excellent job upgrading the position last off-season and this year their main decision is what to do with Watkins.
TE: TE Tyler Higbee and TE Gerald Everett were decent in 2017 but should improve in their second season under McVay. TE Derek Carrier had minimal impact and is also a free agent so he might not be back. TE Temarrick Hemingway missed all of 2017 with an injury so hopefully he can regain his pre-injury form and compete for playing time.
K: PK Greg Zuerlein missed the last few games with a back injury and still was named All-Pro. Greg had surgery and should be fine for 2018.
DEF: It took a little while for the defense to acclimate to DC Wade Phillips 3-4 defense but by the end of the season they were playing very well. Unfortunately, the defensive side of the ball is where the Rams might lose the most players. CB Trumaine Johnson, DB Lamarcus Joyner, and CB Nickell Robey-Coleman are all free agents and the Rams also have to give All-Pro (ALL WORLD) DT Aaron Donald and big extension. The acquisition of CB Marcus Peters most likely means Johnson is gone since he will command the largest contract. LB Mark Barron and LB Robert Quinn have large cap numbers and might be asked to renegotiate. LB Connor Barwin is also a free-agent but he is up there in age and wants to return so it should not take much to re-sign him. LB Alec Ogletree is a team captain and signed a long term deal last year so he is locked in. If Los Angeles can retain Joyner and Robey-Coleman and some of their young players like LB Samson Ebukam and LB Cory Littleton continue to develop, Los Angeles should be in great shape next season.
There isn’t much down time in the NFL off-season and the momentum starts with the upcoming NFL Combine. Before you know it the Draft will be here and then you start getting ready for the season (Fantasy and real). The Rams are poised to improve on their successful 2017 season and hopefully everything falls into place for a 2018 Super Bowl run! Hope everyone had a wonderful New Year and look forward to an exciting 2018. Love and blessings to my family. Miss you Pops! Aloha!
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