Now that we’ve got a sense of the early developing roster needs for the 2016 Los Angeles Rams, let’s take a look at each team and go window shopping.
#25 Washington State Cougars: WR Gabe Marks
Marks is balling out right now. In the last two games, he’s totaled 16 catches for 217 yards and three touchdowns. He’s not a top-of-the-depth chart option, but he could be a fair addition to the youth movement that’s coming with Pharoh Cooper, Mike Thomas and Nelson Spruce.
#24 Boise St. Broncos: LB Tanner Vallejo
Boise was on a glidepath to an undefeated season until Wyoming tripped them up this weekend.
I’ll go with the Broncos’ middle linebacker here who had a sparing effort against Wyoming but showed out in their biggest matchup this season against Washington State earlier in the season.
#23 Western Michigan Broncos: WR Corey Davis
WMU Head Coach P.J. Fleck is headed for a big payday. Before he leaves, he’s sending some quality talent to the NFL starting with Davis and right tackle Taylor Moton.
#22 Florida State Seminoles: LT Roderick Johnson
You can make a move for WR Travis Rudolph here too. CB Marquez White could get a look from the Rams too.
And don’t dare Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher to take RB Dalvin Cook. Please don’t test that man.
#21 North Carolina Tar Heels: RT Jon Heck
QB Mitch Trubisky is playing his way into early 2017 NFL Draft discussions. WR Ryan Switzer should be a component of an NFL WR corps soon enough. And RB Elijah Hood is going to make the league.
A deep option Rams fans might want to keep tabs on as we move toward April? G Caleb Peterson. Peterson has NFL skills, but a back injury ended his 2016 season. He’ll have to clear the medical hurdles after the games are over, but he could come on the cheap if you’re willing to take on the injury red flag.
#20 West Virginia Mountaineers: C Tyler Orlosky
Guarantee you Gregg Williams would find a place for DL Noble Nwachukwu in the Rams’ D-line rotation.
#19 Virginia Tech Hokies: WR Isaiah Ford
Ford had his best game of the season on Thursday with a 10-catch, 143-yard day in Tech’s three-point win over Pitt. Then again, TE Bucky Hodges had his best day too...
#18 Oklahoma State Cowboys: WR James Washington
Tons of mid-draft talent coming out of Stillwater this year. Keep an eye on OLB Jordan Burton.
#17 Baylor Bears: C Kyle Fuller
Not sure Seth Russell is an NFL QB. Then again, Christian Hackenberg went in the second round, so maybe there’s hope.
#16 Utah Utes: S Marcus Williams
DT Lowell Lotulelei will get the headlines, but Williams might be the better overall prospect. OL J.J. Dielman is a likely Rams target given his versatility on the line, but the injury history has to be worrisome.
#15 Colorado Buffaloes: CB Chidobe Awuzie
Colorado is a top-15 team. What year is it?
#14 Oklahoma Sooners: CB Jordan Thomas
Tons to pick from here. DT Charles Walker could be a big riser late.
#13 LSU Tigers: C Ethan Pocic
Yeah, the Rams could take about 10 different guys from Baton Rouge this year.
#12 Penn State Nittany Lions: OLB Brandon Bell
After the win over Ohio State, it’s fair to start asking. Is PSU “back?” They’re certainly not by draft standards with a very thin class this year, but outside of a very excusable loss to Michigan they’ve been much improved. If they get through the next four games, they’re going to be a program to pay attention to again.
#11 Florida Gators: OLB Jarrad Davis
Stacked defense. Unendorsable offense. Check back in late November with LSU and Florida State on the schedule.
#10 Nebraska Cornhuskers: OLB Josh Banderas
Probably the longest of the prospects I’ve put on this list. Plenty of UDFAs on Nebraska.
#9 Auburn Tigers: G Braden Smith
Most improved team in the country. If they hold tight for a month until the Iron Bowl on the 29th...
#8 Wisconsin Badgers: OL Ryan Ramczyk
I don’t know what a 2016 Wisconsin football is, but I hate it. Call it southern-inspired bias against the Big Ten, but between these guys and Nebraska I just don’t want any part of that on Saturdays. Give me all your offensive linemen, though.
#7 Louisville Cardinals: S Josh Harvey-Clemons
Very much not looking forward to the NFL being confused about what to do with QB Lamar Jackson in a year and a half.
Some really good NFL talent on this squad, though. Devonte Fields is a legit pass rusher. WR James Quick could be a Day 2 pick. ILB Keith Kelsey is a solid option for Rams too. And don’t ignore G Khalil Hunter.
#6 Ohio State Buckeyes: G Billy Price
So much talent. So much NFL talent. And this after sending three in the top 10 and five in the first round overall in the 2016 NFL Draft...nuts. They’ve got a tough trio in front of them, but if they can traverse that minefield, they get to Nov. 26 with Michigan...hide the kids.
#5 Washington Huskies: WR John Ross
A lot of people thought UW “lost” the initial rankings for slipping outside the playoff range despite a perfect record. If they remain undefeated though, they’ll make it in by season’s end.
Looking at their schedule, it’d take a major upset to do it. The Apple Cup on the Friday night after Thanksgiving is a huge light at the end of the tunnel, though.
#4 Texas A&M Aggies: WR Ricky Seals-Jones
There’s a new wave of very tall WRs hitting the NFL. The Rams have just two WRs taller than 6’1”: Brian Quick and Kenny Britt, both listed at 6’3”. RSJ, who A&M lists at 6’5”, is a nightmare in possession situations.
#3 Michigan Wolverines: C Mason Cole
Michigan Head Coach Jim Harbaugh has quickly turned Michigan into a major program again. The 2017 NFL will verify that, regardless of how the rest of this season plays out in Ann Arbor.
Jabrill Peppers was the college player I wanted the Rams to get more than any other heading into this season that I thought could be feasible. He’s just too damn good, though, and has played himself too far from the Rams’ first pick in the second round to warrant consideration. He’s going top 10, potentially top 5. After Peppers, we could see as many as a dozen and a half Wolverines drafted over the seven rounds. The Rams could use plenty of those prospects, but Cole stands out.
#2 Clemson Tigers: WR Mike Williams
Clemson passed the Florida State test this weekend (barely) putting them on track to make the 2016 ACC Championship in December. Assuming QB DeShaun Watson guides them into the playoffs (a pretty fair assumption), we’ll get some quality tape to go through in the offseason which we’ll need to do. There’s a handful of Tigers who the Rams could legitimately target in the 2017 NFL Draft starting with Williams.
#1 Alabama Crimson Tide: Sure whatever why not
It’s Alabama. We know they’re stacked.
If I could pick any of them, I’d probably tab LT Cam Robinson since he’s likely to be the first tackle taken in the draft. Beyond him, it’s a wealth of options. Hard to mess up with Bama defenders.