With the third round still a day away, the Los Angeles Rams can only watch as players on their draft board slowly get sent off to the other NFL teams. There is still some top talent available after last night’s first round festivities. The good news for the Rams? There’s still an solid list of players available for their positions of need. Let’s take a look:
The outside linebacker position still has a lot of talent left in the cupboard, as only two players were selected right around where they were projected. So, this shouldn’t affect the Rams going into Saturday (barring any sneaky trades by the front office.) Harold Landry (Boston College Eagles) falling out of the first round is an interesting story, but I can’t imagine that he won’t be snatched up in the first couple picks of the second round. Same for ILB Malik Jefferson (Texas Longhorns), who should have been taken in the first. I don’t think the Rams need to panic and trade up for either of these players, but Les Snead does like to make moves!
Now, with the inside linebacker position... this is where things get interesting: the Dallas Cowboys reached with Leighton Vander Esch, (Boise State Broncos) at 19. I was expecting Vander Esch to go at the end of round one or possibly early round two, so this just goes to show that Jerry Jones isn’t like other General Managers - he likes to take chances.
So, two inside linebackers and two outside linebackers taken in round one. Pretty encouraging for the Los Angeles Rams, considering this is a primary need for them. If that trend holds in the second round, the Rams will have a great opportunity to get some value. Personaly, I’m hoping that OLB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (Oklahoma Sooners) or OLB Josh Sweat (FSU Seminoles) will be available at pick 87.
There is a lot of talent at the offensive line position in the 2018 draft and it would make a lot of sense if the Rams injected some youth in their O-line. Two centers were taken back to back at picks 20 and 21, with Billy Price being a little bit of a reach. There’s still James Daniels (Iowa Hawkeyes) left on the board, but probably not for long. There were three tackles taken and one guard. And the second round is likely to have even more offensive linemen being taken. I’m skeptical that the Rams will be able to find an amazing value in the 3rd round with the way things are going, unless Orlando Brown (Oklahoma Sooners) continues to fall.
Josh Jackson (Iowa) was a guy that was mocked to the Rams on hundreds of mock drafts before the trade for WR Brandin Cooks and before the Rams made the trades for Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib. That being stated, Jackson is still on the board, same goes for Isaiah Oliver (Colorado Buffaloes). I think the Rams are in a great position with the their secondary and don’t really need to worry about picking someone until the sixth round. So, keep an eye on S Damon Webb (Ohio State Buckeyes) — he would be great for the depth of the Rams secondary.
The Rams could use a backup running back and the middle of the draft is a great place to find one. There were three running backs taken in the first round and one of them, Rashaad Penny (San Diego State), was a gigantic reach by the Seattle Seahawks. Does that mean that teams feel obligated to draft running backs earlier than their projections due to some mysterious trend? Or did Seattle just make a bonehead move? I’ll stick with the latter for now. That being said, Derrius Guice (LSU Tigers), is still on the board even though he was expected to be selected near the end of the first round. I’m not expecting more than 3 or 4 running backs to get taken in the second round. I really like Nyheim Hines (N.C. State Wolfpack) in the 4th round.
The Rams are in a great spot because they don’t have any glaring needs that will prevent them from being successful next year. Once the 87th pick happens, the Rams can truly go for the best available player. However, if they do want a linebacker, it appears that they will be able to find some good value.
More updates tomorrow!