(Editor’s note: For years over at 538, they’ve done a weekly Slack chat bringing together various members of their team to talk about the political, cultural and socioeconomic topics of the day. It’s a great idea that’s efficient at leveraging discussion points into content. So uh...we stole it.)
In our new weekly Slack chat segment, a group of us will discuss our opinions on some proposed topics. Those topics can cover a variety of things, from the 2018 NFL Draft, to free agency, to anything Los Angeles Rams related. For our first go around, 3k, BMule and I discussed the draft, and more specifically, what will happen with the Rams at the 23rd pick...or somewhere else.
Hittman (TST Contributor Sosa Kremenjas): Guys. Looking at this draft, and looking specifically at the Rams current roster/needs, what would you suggest they do with their 1st round pick?
Joe McAtee (TST Managing Editor 3k): Hard not to think EDGE/CB right now. The Sammy Watkins hinge scares me. What’s tough is that without a 2nd round pick, I don’t like the idea of slinging it strictly BPA
BMule (TST Contributor BMule): Currently, I’d agree with Joe. CB and EDGE rusher immediately jump out. I’d also put OL near the top for reasons that stretch beyond just Andrew Whitworth’s age.
Hittman: Interesting ideas. I think most people would agree that CB/EDGE would be the immediate needs. I have my eyes open to other suggestions too though. Specifically some youth injection on the OL, or even an ILB if the value is right
Joe McAtee: Which OL position? LT specifically?
BMule: I think the Rams are in position to add any position along the OL if they want. The Whitworth angle is well documented but Saffold is entering his 9th season and has only strung together back to back healthy seasons once his entire career (2015-2016)
Not to mention Jamon Brown and Rob Havenstein are entering their last years.
Hittman: Very true. You also look at the age/uncertainty with John Sullivan and you really start to realize that OL will look completely different soon
BMule: But Sosa hits on the dark horse for me as well with the draft in mind. Inside linebacker.
Hittman: Right? I think it’s a very underrated option. Likely the top two ILB’s on just about every body’s boards (Georgia ILB Roquan Smith, Virginia Tech ILB Tremaine Edmunds) will be gone, but I’ve got my eyes wide open on Rashaan Evans from Alabama. He’d be the perfect cure to the Rams woes at the position
Joe McAtee: So you’re saying we need to sign ILB Brian Cushing?
BMule: Not so fast!
Hittman: Hard pass on the Cushing train, though I do like the idea of adding a vet there too!
Joe McAtee: If Roquan or Tremaine drop...do we have to?
Hittman: I’m still trying to decide between Edmunds and Rashaan, but yeah, if one of those two drop I’d absolutely pull the trigger
BMule: I think groupthink is pushing Roquan and Edmunds...
Joe McAtee: Ooh, go on Mule
You know I hate me some groupthink
BMule: Recent history suggests off the ball LBs last longer in the draft
The last three drafts top Off ball LBs went:
2017: Jarrad Davis (21st)
2016: Darron Lee (20th)
2015: Shaq Thompson (25th)
Hittman: True, but how far of a slide is possible? Edmunds is only 19. I’m sure the NFL is drooling for a 6’5 245 lb 19 year old
I don’t think any of those guys are on the same caliber as these two though
Joe McAtee: I remember being a 6’5”, 245 lb. 19-year old
(No I don’t)
So who are you thinking in that vein Mule?
BMule: So it’s within realm of possibilities the Lbs are in play
If the Rams had their pick I think Smith and Evans fit best
Evans reminds me a little of Jarrad Davis last year
Joe McAtee: Nice
Hittman: Agree. I look at Evans and my eyes light up. He might not be the perfect prospect, but my heart beats fast when I see him play
Joe McAtee: ”My heart beats fast”
BMule: He might not be perfect but he fits perfectly into “actually good” part of the report
Hittman: Man. I think people might be sleeping a bit because Bama just pumps out NFL talent, but Evans plays on another speed and is more physical and violent than anything I’ve seen in a while. The anti-Ogletree if you will
BMule : Are you guys team value or what this year?
I think the term “value” is overrated
Hittman: In terms of a “good prospect”?
Joe McAtee: I think it depends how the round shakes out
Always different in reality than the mocks
BMule: Just generally speaking. Everyone loves value. But the draft is a damn crap shoot
Joe McAtee: Yeah
BMule: Identify good players. Target them. Value be damned.
It worked in a couple instances last year for the Rams in Cooper Kupp and John Johnson
Joe McAtee: It’s just one of those things where if you say, “Nah, forget value” and then Quenton Nelson or Minkah Fitzpatrick drop...
BMule: That’s a hell of a scenario
Hittman: I get the “value” thing, but in a different way I guess. Some positions are just more “valuable” in the NFL. That defacto makes them “overdrafted”
BMule: Everyone hated the Johnson pick. He formed one of best Rams rookie duos we’ve ever seen in terms of production and impact
Joe McAtee: The Kupp/Johnson scenario is a good one and it has to do with what Sosa just pointed at
How comfortable would you guys feel waiting until Round 3 to get our CB1?
Hittman: I’d be nervous about it to be honest. But that depends on what happens in free agency
Joe McAtee: So a R3 CB, FA CB, Kayvon, Hill, depth
Hittman: I could get down with that
Hittman: Is Tru leaving? Are we signing a replacement?
BMule: I guess another way to ask for this is which position group do you feel is stronger in FA? Edge or CB?
Because the EDGE FA class is bare
Joe McAtee: Yeah
Hittman: I don’t think CB is an absolute need in round 1, so round 3 would be an option for sure
BMule: With Wade whispering...any CB brought in has a chance to contribute
Hittman: That’s the key
Joe McAtee: So maybe Day 3?
BMule: The Wade effect is absolutely real with DBs. EDGEs? Not so sure. I’d target them early if possible
Hittman: I think so long as they can secure a FA CB to replace Tru (whether he’s thought of as a 2nd CB or whatever) I’d feel comfortable to not “force” anything at CB
BMule: Who are your favorite EDGEs in the draft?
Joe McAtee: I mean...Chubb is Chubb
BMule: The GOAT antagonizer
Hittman: I think it’s well known of my affinity for Harold Landry and Marcus Davenport in round 1
Joe McAtee: I’m surprised Josh Sweat isn’t getting more love
Hittman: Might have something to do with a bad medical history
BMule: I think to most who pay attention the round 1 EDGE types are known. Landry, Chubb, Davenport, etc...who are other guys the Rams could target in a trade down?
Joe McAtee: I gotta go back and look at the kid from Kansas
BMule: Dorance Armstrong
Joe McAtee: A lot of people I trust on this kind of stuff are high on him
Guys like BMule and Sosa Kremenjas
BMule: He looks the part. I think Sosa studied him
Hittman: Guys I like in a trade down: Duke Ejiofor, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Jeff Holland, Hercules Mata’afa
Depending on where they move down to, I guess
BMule: Let’s talk about Hercules for those who don’t know
He lined up as a NT
Joe McAtee: He’s a Mata’afaing problem
BMule: He’s a freak
But he’s an EDGE at next level most likely
Hittman: Maybe the best combination of athletic penetration in the class
And now that I read that, it sounds weird
Joe McAtee: Stopping point
Joe McAtee: How we wrappin this up Sos?
Hittman: Last question for the day: In a percentage, what’s the likelihood that Les Snead moves down, and are you a fan of doing so?
BMule: As Joe would say. Greater than 0
Hittman: Cop out! I think there may be a high likelihood, 70%
Joe McAtee: >66%?
BMule: 60% and For what the Rams need, I’m a fan.
Joe McAtee: I’ll go a bit higher
I’ll say closer to 75%
BMule: There isn’t a ton of high end talent at EDGE or CB but the depth is there in late round 1-early 2nd.
Hittman: I guess it seems we all think Les continues to maneuver like he has in previous years
Joe McAtee: Yeah, I saw a mock that had us trading back
Got the 1st pick in the 2nd and a pick in the middle of the round
BMule: That would be very neat
Hittman: I would absolutely be a fan of that
Joe McAtee: Made my heart beat fast
What do you think Rams fans? Anyone in particular the Rams should be targeting at #23? Would you fancy a trade back from the first round?
Let us know!