Seven-round mock drafts. My heart, be still.
Draft Wire’s Luke Easterling has a seven-round mock up, and as he says:
It’s fun, folks. Let people enjoy things.
Easterling doesn’t have write-ups for anyone, but it’s a seven-rounder for Los Angeles Rams fans to enjoy. Mockers can’t be choosers, or something like that.
This one gets closer to the original top 7, albeit shuffled around a bit. Easterling goes UCLA QB Josh Rosen, USC QB Sam Darnold, Penn St. RB Saquon Barkley Alabama DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Notre Dame G Quenton Nelson, Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield, and North Carolina St. DE Bradley Chubb. Sure would be nice to lock those in because things get wacky thereafter...
Easterling has Rosen at 1, Darnold at 2 and Mayfield at 6. Wyoming QB Josh Allen is next at 15 followed by Oklahoma St. QB Mason Rudolph at 21 and Louisville QB Lamar Jackson heading to the New Orleans Saints as the successor to QB Drew Brees at 27.
The mythical six-QB first-round mock! We’ve found her at last!
Cornering the cornerbacks
I mentioned above things get wacky after the Top 7, which is the whole point of identifying the top group. Once they’re gone, then it’s time to buckle up.
Easterling’s first wrinkle comes at #9 overall with the San Francisco 49ers selecting Iowa CB Josh Jackson. It’s not a complete whackadoo, but given how often we’ve seen Ohio St. CB Denzel Ward as the first corner, perhaps it’s just recency bias making that one feel unsuspected. Ward himself goes 10 picks later to the Dallas Cowboys.
That tees up the Rams for:
23. Los Angeles Rams: Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
We’ve seen Oliver’s name mocked to the Rams plenty thus far. No real surprise there.
And no real surprises at the back end of Thursday night.
One angle we haven’t dealt with much is the Round 2 gap. I mentioned it yesterday in NFL Media’s Chad Reuter’s mock, but it’s reinforced here largely because there’s a huge run on cornerbacks. So yes, the Rams take the third cornerback of the draft at 23, but consider this run in Round 2:
- Louisville CB Jaire Alexander at 35
- Florida St. CB Tarvarus McFadden at 41
- UCF CB Mike Hughes at 43
- North Carolina CB M.J. Stewart at 44
- Auburn CB Carlton Davis at 47
That’s all prior to the halfway point of the round.
The takeaway is that if the Rams do move on from Trumaine Johnson when free agency hits, there’s obviously the clear need that has motivated most of the mocks to this point. What this mock drives home though is whatever the landscape at 23, the wait from then until the late 80s overall when the Rams are back on the clock means they’ll be coming back in with most positions poached. So a best player available approach would leave things barren at corner and just about every other position save for special teams, interior offensive line and maybe tight end.
Easterling has a run on wideouts with three in the back half of the second round and another four in the first half of Round 3. That leads up to the Rams:
88. Los Angeles Rams: Brian O’Neill, OT, Pitt
The need’s obvious. Rams LT Andrew Whitworth turned 36-years old in December. At some point, we’ve got to put some talent behind to prepare for the future. O’Neill’s a fine prospect that the Sporting News’ Eric Galko mocked 18th overall in his recent mock. Maybe seeing a hometown option in USC edge rusher Uchenna Nwosu would invite interest?
120. Los Angeles Rams: Simmie Cobbs, Jr., WR, Indiana
Sneaky fun pick. No, the Rams aren’t hurting at wideout, though a potential loss of top wide receiver Sammy Watkins might change that. Cobbs was incredibly productive and were it not for an ankle injury early in the 2016 that pushed him aside on a medical redshirt, he’d be a much bigger name albeit perhaps not a more coveted prospect. I do wonder what Rams’ fans’ appetite would be for another wide receiver after taking two in the 2016 NFL Draft, another two in the 2017 NFL Draft and then bringing two in last offseason in free agency/via trade.
151. Los Angeles Rams: Darius Leonard, OLB, South Carolina St.
Reuter had us taking Leonard in the third round, so it’s hard to really get upset here. Besides, once you’re deep into Day 3 it’s just about getting guys who can stick on your roster.
180. Los Angeles Rams: Van Smith, S, Clemson
181. Los Angeles Rams: Skyler Phillips, G, Idaho St.
184. Los Angeles Rams: John Kelly, RB, Tennessee
Smith’s a speedy free safety with size issues, but I could see him developing into a solid depth option.
Phillips got some solid reviews at the Senior Bowl stepping up in competition out of Division 1-AA’s Big Sky Conference. His invitation to the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine should give us a better sense of how he fares against improved opposition.
Kelly held his own in part of a ridiculously talented three-way running back committee that included Jalen Hurd (now at Baylor) and Alvin Kamara who is coming off of a rookie of the year season with the Saints. That they weren’t statistically more prolific together is an obvious reason why former Head Coach Butch Jones was let go.
What would you think of this draft class, Rams fans? Any issue with positions unresolved? Ok with the names?