Los Angeles Rams’ new head coach Sean McVay will have his hands full over the next few months, as he looks to right the ship for the 4-12 team he recently inherited. And he’ll need to get to work immediately, as the NFL Free Agency period starts in early March, and the 2017 NFL Draft following in late April.
The Rams have some very talented players at key positions, but there are more than a few holes to fill on both sides of the football. The offense, however, looks to need a major overhaul, and should be a focus for McVay this offseason, if he looks to quickly move the Rams - who finished 32nd in offense in 2016 (262.7 ypg) - closer to where his Redskins’ offense finished last season (3rd - 403.4 ypg).
Players lost/gained in free agency (which begins on March 7) will alter the way the Rams approach the draft. But for now, knowing what we know, we can only prognosticate. And therefore we mock.
Without further ado, four rounds of fun for the Los Angeles Rams...
Nothing to see here, folks. Move along...
Round 2 (37 overall) - JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, USC
It remains to be seen whether or not the Rams retain Kenny Britt, who’s set to test free agency after having the best statistical year of his career. And, given the relatively shallow pool of receivers in free agency, Britt’s 1,000+ yard campaign in 2016 will certainly garner interest from other WR-needy teams.
If the Rams aren’t able to re-sign Britt, or ink another top free agent receiver, they’ll need to grab a weapon early in the draft, as the cupboard is pretty bare for the Rams in the way of wide receivers. Outside of Tavon Austin, the Rams currently employ Pharoh Cooper, Bradley Marquez, Nelson Spruce, Paul McRoberts, Marquez North, and Mike Thomas. That bunch, sans Spruce (who was on IR), combined for 186 yards of offense in 2016.
Jared Goff needs weapons. The Rams’ offense needs weapons. If Smith-Schuster is there when the Rams are on the clock at 37, the need to add some firepower to their offense and draft the Trojans’ wideout.
Round 3 (69 overall) - Tyler Orlosky, C, West Virginia
Wait, the Rams traded their first and third round picks in order to trade up for Jared Goff, right? Right.
So this pick only happens if the Rams get a compensatory pick for Janoris Jenkins.
Assuming it holds true, Tim Barnes needs to go. He had no business being the team’s starting center, and with Jeff Fisher out of the way, his tenure with the team should abruptly come to an end.
It’s no secret the Rams’ offensive line is it’s weakest unit. Grabbing one of the best centers in the country will go a long way in helping provide much-needed pass protection for Goff.
Round 4 (101 overall) - Conor McDermott, OT, UCLA
Another failed experiment, it’s time for Greg Robinson to be relieved of his duties at left tackle. He may not be considering the move to guard, but he certainly should be. Between the penalties and simply getting regularly embarrassed in pass protection, the Rams need to find a new use for Robinson. He’s proven he cannot get it done as their blindside protector.
Right tackle Rob Havenstein, unfortunately, also took a step back in 2016 after an impressive rookie year; so regardless of how it shakes out, the Rams should be looking to add depth at the OT position.
McDermott, who stands 6’8” tall, was named Mr. Basketball for the state of Tennessee in 2011. Perhaps some of the skills he learned in boxing out opponents on the court have translated to the football field, as he’s proven to be a very quality pass protector in his time at UCLA.
Round 4 (141 overall) - Damontae Kazee, CB, San Diego St.
This would be another compensatory pick gained from losing Rodney McLeod to the Eagles last year in free agency, so there’s no guarantee (as of right now) that this pick will actually exist.
But if it does, the Rams would be wise to get themselves some help at cornerback. After losing Janoris Jenkins last season, the Rams simply weren’t the same at CB from a performance or depth standpoint. And this year, Trumaine Johnson is set to hit free agency. The Rams would be wise to retain Johnson, assuming the price is right, but they’ll need help regardless.
Kazee, the Mountain West defensive player of the year, finished his final two seasons at San Diego St. with as many interceptions as passes defensed (15). He’s not only shown tremendous ball skills, but also displays physicality at the line of scrimmage and aggressive open field tackling.
Feel free, as usual, to use the comments section to tell me how much you hate this (or me).