Dane Brugler does some of the best draft work around. His draft guide for the 2018 NFL Draft is well worth the cost.
Yesterday, Brugler blessed us with a seven-round mock that maps out the path for the draft for every team including the Los Angeles Rams. It’s a bit needs-heavy, but it’s worth going through as a thought exercise of how the Rams could come out of the draft.
First, let’s look at the five hinges that will chart the course of the draft.
You’ve got a QB-QB-QB trio to open things which is how I’d wager things play out. So at #4, Brugler has the Cleveland Browns taking North Carolina St. EDGE Bradley Chubb. That #4 pick however it plays out is what will kick things off in earnest if we do get the QB trio to start.
Next up is the trio at #11, #12 and #15 in the Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills and Arizona Cardinals. All three could go QB, but in Brugler’s mock, the top four are already gone. That leaves just Louisville QB Lamar Jackson. Brugler mocks him to Buffalo at 12, but notes that a trade up might be required. Between these three teams, I wouldn’t be surprised if one of them jumps.
Then you’ve got a potential position run in the back half of the first, something we talked about on the last episode of Turf Show Radio with Mocking the Draft’s Dan Kadar. The run for Brugler is across the offensive line. Offensive tackles go at 17, 23 and 29 while interior linemen go at 18, 21 and 22. So from 17 to 23, you’ve got five offensive linemen out of seven picks. It certainly changes the outlook for the playoff teams from last season picking in the back of the round.
That leads us into the second where the offensive linemen continue to roll off at #34 and #35. The real intrigue is in the Browns and the Indianapolis Colts holding two early picks in the round. Will they move down? Or maybe package them to creep up into the first? Brugler’s not mocking trades, so he has to attach them to a pick. Still, that five-pick run to open the second will be fascinating.
You’ve got the first player from Sosa Kremenjas’ scouting reports going at #39 to the Chicago Bears in Rutgers OLB Kemoko Turay (scouting report) before getting to my last hinge that guides us to the Rams at 87: Oklahoma St. QB Mason Rudolph. Brugler mocks him to the Cardinals at 47 which may be their consolation prize if they get out of the first round without a QB. Does Rudolph sit behind QB Sam Bradford in 2018?
As I’m writing this, the Dallas Cowboys have just released WR Dez Bryant. Makes sense in Brugler’s mock that he has them taking Memphis WR Anthony Miller.
On to 87!
Plenty of names in the third round that make sense for the Rams. There goes Wake Forest EDGE Duke Ejiofor to the San Francisco 49ers; here’s Sosa’s scouting report on him. Iowa ILB Josey Jewell, whom the Rams were mocked to by ESPN’s Todd McShay this week, heads to the Cincinnati Bengals at #77. UCF OLB Shaquem Griffin, a fan favorite after his performance at the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine, gets called a pick before the Rams to the Kansas City Chiefs at #86.
So who do the Rams get at 87?
87. Los Angeles Rams: Jerome Baker, LB, Ohio St.
The pick makes plenty of sense. A solid weakside prospect, Baker’s got top athleticism. He might not be an everydown WLB, but the Rams aren’t operating from strength at OLB roster-wise so he’d be landing in a really good situation for him.
The Rams of course hold three picks in the fourth round so Brugler has plenty for us to consider:
111. Los Angeles Rams: Brandon Parker, OT, North Carolina A&T
Any NC A&T fans out there? No clue about him other than seeing him at the combine. His NFL.com draft profile sounds inviting though. The real question is one of testing Father Time with the left side of the line. LT Andrew Whitworth is 36-years old. LG Rodger Saffold turns 30 in June. C John Sullivan hits 33 in August. Throw in the fact that the right side of the line in both RG Jamon Brown and RT Rob Havenstein are in contract years scheduled to be free agents in 2019 and the line needs help ASAP.
135. Los Angeles Rams: Hercules Mata’afa, DE, Washington State
Herc would be a fine land here. His biggest issue is position having played on the inside for WSU as one of the smallest DTs in the country. The positives are intriguing though. He’s known for busting his ass on every play and during the week. He’d have work to do to play a new position, but you’d be hard-pressed to find someone willing to do that work moreso than Herc.
136. Los Angeles Rams: John Kelly, RB, Tennessee
I like this pick. The Rams tried to get a spellback for RB Todd Gurley last year in signing RB Lance Dunbar. We all know how that went. Still, there’s a clear need to get someone with some flash to support Gurley and plodding RB Malcolm Brown. RB Justin Davis offers a bit of that, but Kelly’s a superior talent on that front. It’s pick #136. Hard to get snaps out of this pick for a rookie. Kelly would get snaps.
Brugler then navigates the fifth to the sixth round where the Rams hold four picks. Plenty of names with TONS of upside. The cornerbacks and wide receivers Brugler has in the fifth-round are really strong. And keep an eye on UCLA OL Scott Quessenberry who he mocks at #166. Same for Michigan OL Mason Cole at #172.
On to the Rams’ sixth-round quartet in the search for prospects who can stick the landing on the 53-man roster.
176. Los Angeles Rams: Korey Robertson, WR, Southern Miss
Not a fan, but it’s 176. Whatever we get here, you fast-forward to rookie minicamp and OTAs and see if it works out.
183. Los Angeles Rams: Bradley Bozeman, OC, Alabama
Again...not seeing it...but again...we’re near the end of the draft. No real gripes.
194. Los Angeles Rams: Matt Pryor, OT, TCU
MASSIVE frame. He played both spots on the right side at TCU. I like his game, but he’s limited. Random note: TCU has one returning starter on offense this year! Head Coach Gary Patterson has a job on his hands this year especially with a non-conference game against Ohio State...
195. Los Angeles Rams: Kentavius Street, DL, North Carolina St.
- 87: Jerome Baker, OLB, Ohio St.
- 111: Brandon Parker, OT, North Carolina A&T
- 135: Hercules Mata’afa, DE, Washington State
- 136: John Kelly, RB, Tennessee
- 176: Korey Robertson, WR, Southern Miss
- 183: Bradley Bozeman, OC, Alabama
- 194: Matt Pryor, OT, TCU
- 195: Kentavius Street, DL, North Carolina St.
What do you think about the class, Rams fans? Is the offensive line depth enticing? Like the Baker pick on the outside? Any of the Day 3 names you like?