Last week, I looked at a couple dynamics taking shape this college football season.
You’ve got a clear top tier of four teams (Alabama, Georgia, Ohio St. and Clemson) that clearly aligns with the playoffs. Could things get disrupted? Sure. Hell, OSU needed to overcome a 12-point deficit in the 4th quarter on the road aided by a really, really, really, really, really, REALLY shitty fourth down call from a good Penn St. team in order to stay undefeated. Will is get disrupted? I mean, I’d bet on it...but I’d bet less on it than any year in recent history.
So because of that, we’ve got to lean into situational scouting throughout the day with many of the best matchups coming late.
Today though, I’m going to take a bit of a different tack and look at some of the draft scenarios the Los Angeles Rams could be facing in the 2019 NFL Draft and how today sets up to solve some of them.
Scenario #1: LT Andrew Whitworth gets undone by Father Time and the Rams need a LT1 immediately
Yes, Whitworth is playing fantastically through a quarter of a season. And yes, the Rams drafted Joseph Noteboom in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft. But Whitworth’s time will come at some point, and if you’re just going on faith that Noteboom will pan out, I’d like to reward you with absolutely nothing after Alex Barron, Jason Smith and Greg Robinson.
So let’s at least consider this with some sincerity.
Alabama OT Jonah Williams is probably the top option here, but (a) should his stock hold, he’ll be gone before the Rams pick and (b) Bama’s playing Arkansas today, so no. The latter is at work for Ole Miss OT Greg Little playing UL-Monroe today. You’ve got to wait for those two to get time. Same goes for Wisconsin OT David Edwards, but he’ll go up against Michigan in primetime next week so mark that one down.
But Oklahoma OT Bobby Evans gets Texas and DE Breckyn Hager, the younger brother of Rams ILB Bryce Hager, in the Red River Shootout. If you want your early OT fix, this one’s the hit.
Scenario #2: None of the Rams’ options at the edge impress and the top obvious need coming out of the season is an EGDE
OSU EDGE Joey Bosa and Clemson EDGE Clelin Ferrell could both be top 3 picks.
I suppose you could make a case for LSU Tigers LB Devin White here because he could probably play any linebacking position and maybe safety and maybe tight end and maybe running back and maybe return kicks, but I also suppose you could make a case for just watching Devin White play some damn football. With Florida up today, Georgia next week and Alabama in less than a motnh...yeah, watch Devin White play some damn football.
And while Mississippi St. EDGE Montez Sweat going up against Auburn in Starkville (CLANGA!) could be very, very, very entertaining, you get Florida St. EDGE Brian Burns and Miami EDGE Joe Jackson in the same game. Take the twofer.
Scenario #3: S Lamarcus Joyner hits free agency and the Rams look at safeties early
I like me some Marqui Christian as much as any Rams fan, but this one could obviously come to pass.
Were USC in action with a decent opponent, S Marvell Tell III would be an easy pick here. Not sure there’s a good opponent to gauge Tell against until Notre Dame in late November after Thanksgiving.
Alabama S Deionte Thompson? Again, Arkansas...
We could get weird here in the Rob-o Bowl with Washington S Taylor Rapp against UCLA.
But get on that situational scouting tip and get in a look at Boston College Eagles S Lukas Denis against the #23 North Carolina St. Wolfpack. The Rams could obviously pair him with his former BC teammate, S John Johnson III.
Scenario #4: WE NEED A BACKUP QB.
This isn’t even a hypothetical. It’s just a fact. Backup QB Sean Mannion is in a contract year, and it would break Rams fans’ collective mind to see him re-signed.
Clearly, the Rams aren’t going to touch the top talents with QB Jared Goff now playing the best football of his career. That being said, I’m not even sure who the top talents are right now.
Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham faces a very stingy MSU defense. MSU QB Nick Fitzgerald faces a very stingy Auburn defense. So that’s a very good option.
Boise St. QB Brett Rypien is very draft hipster if you wanna go that route, and San Diego St. is pretty fun in terms of an opponent ESPECIALLY given BSU’s schedule.
Here’s the weird balance with this scenario.
Remember about a year and a quarter ago, famed former Rams RB Eric Dickerson called for Mannion to start over Goff. And that’s Sean Mannion. So can you even invest all that much in a QB? Mannion was a third-round pick. Could the Rams legitimize a third-round pick on a QB? Like, if West Virginia QB Will Grier is there in the third, that’s a pretty attractive pick in general. But would it be too disruptive for the Rams with Goff? Grier’s younger brothers, Nash and Hayes, are Instagram superstars/influencers/what the hell evers. I would think they’d be pretty damn interested in heading out to LA...
Scenario #5: The Rams head into the draft comfortably being able to draft the best player available throughout
While #4 isn’t a future scenario and more of a current one, this one is probably the least likely of the potential scenarios. The Rams have a pretty unique roster set up for 2019.
There’s no need to draft a wide receiver. Or a running back. Or a defensive tackle.
And there’s no need early to draft a quarterback.
And we don’t have a second-round pick thanks to the trade for CB Marcus Peters.
So there’s only going to be so many scenarios with the first-round pick, given how late it’s likely to be, that will make sense. And there on, there’s plenty to rule out especially once you start making picks. Could the Rams take a tight end in the first round? I suppose. But then you’re not taking another one the rest of the draft until Round 6 at the earliest.
I’m just throwing this out there for general scouting.
Looking for cornerback talent? Notre Dame CB Julian Love gets Virginia Tech tonight. And that Auburn-MSU game has a strong duo in Auburn CB Jamel Dean and Miss St. CB Jamal Peters.
The tight end thing pique your interest? Missouri TE Albert Okwuegbunam is starting to look very impressive. And Kentucky TE C.J. Conrad isn’t putting up great numbers, but Kentucky football! You can get Conrad and OLB Josh Allen against Texas A&M Aggies and not feel bad about it!
Inside linebackers? This is shaping up to be a really good ILB class. Matchup-wise, wait for Notre Dame ILB Te’Von Coney. Talent-wise, you can’t really go wrong. You could pick up Vanderbilt ILB Charles Wright against Georgia and do just fine.
Still reading? Offensive linemen! They’re everywhere!
But let’s save that for another week. We’re 1,200 words deep with plenty to look at and talk about.
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