The Los Angeles Rams are finally scheduled to get into the 2018 NFL Draft mix tonight with the #87 overall selection. Yes, the permanent disclaimer for Rams General Manager Les Snead is that the Rams are only tentatively scheduled as such given his proclivity for trading out of picks, but nonetheless it’s where things stand.
So beyond the immediate roster needs, here’s one prospect at each position to keep an eye on as we head toward the Rams being on the clock:
Washington State Cougars QB Luke Falk
I wouldn’t be totally opposed to a QB at 87. I’m not sold on Sean Mannion as the long-term backup to starting QB Jared Goff so if Snead and Head Coach Sean McVay have a guy they think they can make a reliable long-term option to Goff, let’s ride.
There are plenty of options you could endorse here. For me, I’ll go with Falk who likely has a lot of McVay’s concepts down pat coming from WSU Head Coach Mike Leach’s system.
USC Trojans RB Ronald Jones II
The Rams tried to get a shifty backup to RB Todd Gurley last year in signing RB Lance Dunbar. Injuries prevented us from ever seeing that combo materialize, but I could see them making a play for a new option here.
Texas Tech Red Raiders WR Keke Coutee
Undersized and undervalued quick athlete from Lubbock who’s more of a gamer than a wide receiver. Have any of those ever worked in the NFL?
Penn St. Nittany Lions TE Mike Gesicki
He’s likely gone before 87, but who knows. Holds the record for the most receptions by a tight end in PSU history. That’s not a bad thing.
Oklahoma Sooners OT Orlando Brown
Ditto on the likely gone before 87 thing. People are getting wrapped up in his January-April stock. His August-December stock when he was, yanno, playing football? Yeah, that was pretty good. I don’t care how slow he ran the 40 or how poorly he practiced. He played some very good football at one of the most advanced offenses in the game protecting the #1 overall pick taken last night.
Plenty of other prospects here that would make a ton of sense too.
North Carolina St, Wolfpack G Tony Adams
Much like tackle, there are a bunch of names I’m comfortable with. Hard enough to figure out what Offensive Line Aaron Kromer would be asking to work with skill-wise.
Michigan Wolverines C Mason Cole
Rams starting C John Sullivan will be 33-years old when the season starts after signing a two-year deal earlier this offseason. And while backup C Austin Blythe looked solid in support, Blythe likely hasn’t earned the promotion outright whenever Sullivan hangs them up.
Virginia Tech Hokies NT Tim Settle
He big. Perhaps the Rams locked this one in over dinner last month?
Ole Miss Rebels DE Breeland Speaks
It’s not a need so you don’t have to reach for starting talent. Speaks is the kind of player who could excel in a reserve role a la DE William Hayes from his run with the Rams behind DE Robert Quinn and DE Chris Long.
Ohio State Buckeyes OLB Jerome Baker
The Rams took a Buckeye linebacker on Day 2 nine years ago. He’s now the franchise leader in tackles.
Not saying Baker would likely threaten that status, but you could do worse than the two-year starter.
Virginia Cavaliers ILB Micah Kiser
I could totally see ILB being the pick tonight if the other teams push it. There’s a big drop off from the Dallas Cowboys’s of Boise State Broncos ILB Leighton Vander Esch at 19. If that drop continues deep into tonight where we perhaps only see one more Mike come off before the Rams, the value would be very strong for a pick. If perhaps two or three come off, it’s not as advantageous but would still fit. Any more than that and it would likely be a reach beyond the sensibility of a BPA pick here and beyond for the rest of the draft.
Texas Longhorns CB Holton Hill
No, it’s not a huge need right now especially at the top of the depth chart with CB Aqib Talib and CB Marcus Peters in tow, but they’re both on deals that expire after the 2019 season. Hill’s the kind of prospect that could polish up as a diamond under Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips after a couple of years of tutelage.
Texas A&M Aggies S Armani Watts
Watts would be a more athletic option as more of a free safety than a strong safety type. If the Rams want to go that route, I could see West Virginia Mountaineers S Kyzir White fitting.
Either would serve up as a potential 2019 replacement for S Lamarcus Joyner who’s likely leaving after playing this season on the franchise tag.
Texas Longhorns P Michael Dickson
I said every position.
Where will Dickson, the best punter in the draft, get drafted? The answer’s not 87 to the Rams, but you know. Clicks.
Florida Gators P Eddy Pineiro
Should we be worried about Rams K Greg Zuerlein’s back? It cropped up out of nowhere to end his season on injured reserve. What are the chances he’s not around for Week 1? Is anybody really sold on K Sam Ficken?
Not sincerely advocating for a kicker at 87, but I’d keep the idea of adding a UDFA around as we head toward the end of the draft tomorrow.