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2018 NFL Mock Draft: Three weeks until the Los Angeles Rams pick at #23

UTSA DE Marcus Davenport chases Southern Mississippi WR Allenzae Staggers
UTSA DE Marcus Davenport chases Southern Mississippi WR Allenzae Staggers
Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Three weeks!

Just three weeks to Draft Week. And with the top 10 picks of the 2018 NFL Draft completely in flux, things are getting incredibly enjoyable. Which is to say stupid.

Today alone, we saw one of the worst taeks of the year from Bleacher Report’s Ryan McCrystal criticizing Brett Favre’s arm strength. Follow that up with more confusing commentary from former UCLA Head Coach Jim Mora about his former QB Josh Rosen and you can tell the intensity (read: stupidity) of draft season is ramping up.

So here’s something that’s not stupid: a new Monday mock from Mocking the Draft’s Dan Kadar.

The quarterbacks still dominate the major storyline for the draft, but the intrigue for the Los Angeles Rams continues to build since the bottom half of the first round is going to be full of surprise.

Kadar’s pick for the Rams at 23 is pretty straightforward:

23. Los Angeles Rams: Marcus Davenport, EDGE, UTSA

The run on linebackers would be bad news for the Rams, because a run-stuffing inside man is arguably their top need. After that, though, is the need for edge speed. With Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh demanding attention in the middle, Davenport would often be left in one-on-one situations to beat the offensive tackle. Given the NFC West’s suspect tackle play, he could do big things in Los Angeles.

I get Kadar’s point, but we should at least acknowledge that while a run on linebackers might constitute “bad news” the impact of that bad news is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay less than the impact of draft bad news for many other teams as (a) the Rams’ roster is in very, very, very good shape for 2018 and (b) inside linebacker is one of the weakest position values in football. So good bad news, not bad bad news.

What’s most interesting for me is the latter half of Kadar’s mock. While the first 16 picks are very conventional (and I don’t fault Kadar for that at all), the latter 16 are not whatsoever even without any mock trades.

What does the DT market look like after Washington DT Vita Vea? Kadar has Alabama DT Da’Ron Payne at 17, Florida DT Taven Bryan at 20 and Stanford DT Harrison Phillips at 26. It’s one of the more interesting aspects especially as a Rams fan since we’re not in the market for early defensive tackle talent with Donald, Suh and Michael Brockers ready to wreck. So the more DTs that come off before 23, the better for us. I just don’t have a good feel for the market at all this year.

And what of the secondary prospects? In a time lost long, long ago, the Rams were all-in for a cornerback at 23. No longer with CB Aqib Talib and CB Marcus Peters joining a re-signed CB Nickell Robey-Coleman this year. With Ohio St. CB Denzel Ward, Florida St. S Derwin James and Alabama S Minkah Fitzpatrick all in his top 16, Kadar mocks a pretty wide gap for secondary prospects that extends beyond the Rams at 23. At 24, he has Wake Forest S Jessie Bates. Iowa CB Josh Jackson goes at 28, and then Kadar mocks the last two picks of the round as corners: UCF CB Mike Hughes and Louisville CB Jaire Alexander.

There’s just a ton going on in the back 16 of Kadar’s mock and I don’t think it actually approaches how wild it will be. Between trades and surprise picks, I think we’re in for a hell of a Thursday night in three week’s time.