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2018 NFL Draft Results: Los Angeles Rams pull offensive line depth, linebacker battle entrants

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Here’s your Los Angeles Rams 2018 NFL Draft class.

TCU OT Joseph Noteboom
TCU OT Joseph Noteboom
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

2018 NFL Draft LA Rams Class

Rd # Rd# Player POS School
Rd # Rd# Player POS School
3 89 25 Joseph Noteboom OT TCU
4 111 11 Brian Allen C Michigan St.
4 135 35 John Franklin-Myers DL Stephen F. Austin
5 147 10 Micah Kiser ILB Virginia
5 160 23 Ogbonnia Okoronkwo EDGE Oklahoma
6 176 2 John Kelly RB Tennessee
6 192 18 Jamil Demby G Maine
6 195 21 Sebastian Joseph DL Rutgers
6 205 31 Trevon Young EDGE Louisville
7 231 13 Travin Howard LB TCU
7 244 26 Justin Lawler DE SMU

The Los Angeles Rams went into the 2018 NFL Draft having already done work on the roster beyond sufficiency. The additions of WR Brandin Cooks, DL Ndamukong Suh, CB Aqib Talib and CB Marcus Peters to what was already a solid roster meant that any roster needs at this point weren’t really all that badly needed. The worst thing the Rams could have done is use their first few picks in a draft in which they had already used their first- and second-round picks in trades on those light roster needs. Every roster has weak points, but the Rams’ weak point at linebacker (both inside and outside) was both less weak than other rosters’ weak points and was propped up by a ridiculous supporting cast around it.

General Manager Les Snead has been here before. In the 2015 NFL Draft, the Rams were in a severe hole on the offensive line having delayed addressing it for the first three years in the partnership between Snead and Head Coach Jeff Fisher. Snead responded with panicked desperation. The Rams drafted five offensive linemen and brought others in as undrafted free agents. Aside from RG Jamon Brown and RT Rob Havenstein, the other picks flailed leaving needs cropping up elsewhere that those other picks could have addressed. Perhaps Snead learned from that draft. Perhaps the influence of second-year Head Coach Sean McVay made a difference. But whatever the reason, Snead didn’t panic this year. He didn’t cram linebackers into the entire draft. He found value at his needs while drafting talents to groom for the future at positions that aren’t in need for 2018.

He used the draft the best way you can for good rosters.

He used it to build out future success on the back of whatever success the current roster can bring.

Draft Picks

TCU Horned Frogs OT Joseph Noteboom

89th overall pick

That effort began with Noteboom, a surprise pick at an unsurprising position. LT Andrew Whitworth is 36-years old and RT Rob Havenstein is heading into the final year of his contract.

So not only did the Rams get an option at tackle (we’ll have to see what side they plan to use him on, though I’d expect he starts off on the left) for depth, but they get the luxury of not needing him in his rookie season leaving him to soak up the tutelage of Offensive Line Coach Aaron Kromer as well as from Whitworth.

Rams fan grade: B

Michigan State Spartans C Brian Allen

111th overall pick

A similar pick to the one that preceded it. If Noteboom offers an out in a post-Whitworth/post-Havenstein landscape with the benefit of a luxury learning season, Allen offers and gets the same with C John Sullivan who turns 33-years old in August after signing a two-year deal in March.

Rams fan grade: B

Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks DL John Franklin-Myers

135th overall pick

It’s always tough with the guys outside of D1. They’re not on ESPN or network broadcasts on Saturdays in the fall, so their exposure is limited to hardcore draftniks who seek out their tape. As much as I love the draft, I don’t do much work on the prospects out of these schools, so I know next to nothing about the guy except what I read in the immediate aftermath of our picking him. See you in camp, JFM!

Rams fan grade: C

Virginia Cavaliers ILB Micah Kiser

147th overall pick

This one was a popular one from the go. I had this as an option at 87, so obviously I’m behind it 60 picks later. Should be interesting to see how the Rams’ defense takes shape over the summer and how the linebacking depth chart will shake out.

Rams fan grade: A

Oklahoma Sooners EDGE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo

160th overall pick

Another pick that had steam throughout the process, Rams fans are sure to love this one. He’s going to come in with some hype behind him though, and with the depth chart where it’s at I guarantee fans are going to want the moon here. As long as he can contribute at all in 2018, I’d be fine with it. The question really is how things shake out after 2018. Will a combo of Okoronkwo and OLB Samson Ebukam suffice as a starting duo in 2019? This season should give us a glimpse of the answer.

Rams fan grade: A

Tennessee Volunteers RB John Kelly

176th overall pick

The Rams were always going to be in for a backup after last year’s Lance Dunbar experiment failed. Kelly’s a low-cost, high-upside option that should yield greater dividends. The conflict here is two-fold. One, will he beat out RB Malcolm Brown and RB Justin Davis as the primary backup to RB Todd Gurley? And two, will the Rams make any personnel changes this year or next that could disrupt the current RB depth chart?

Rams fan grade: A

Maine Black Bears OL Jamil Demby

192nd overall pick

See the above comments on Franklin-Myers. Who knows?

Rams fan grade: B

Rutgers Scarlet Knights DT Sebastian Joseph

195th overall pick

More D-line depth. I like his game in the limited Rutgers football I watched this last year. He’ll be right there with Franklin-Myers in the battle.

Rams fan grade: B

Louisville Cardinals OLB Trevon Young

205th overall pick

This one’s really interesting too. Probably in the mold of a strongside, but I’ll let Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips take over and do what he does.

Rams fan grade: A

TCU Horned Frogs LB Travin Howard

231st overall pick

The linebacker battle is gonna be stacked. I wonder how many linebackers they keep on the 53-man roster this year after starting out with nine on last year’s.

Rams fan grade: A

SMU Mustangs Edge Justin Lawler

244th overall pick

Lawler is our 2018 Rams-specific Mr. Irrelevant. Always a tough road for seventh-rounders, but there’s certainly an obvious potential light at the end of the tunnel here.

Rams fan grade: B

Summary

It was never going to be a splashy class. The Rams never needed it to be after the splashiness of the trades that they pulled off since the 2017 season ended.

They brought in solid candidates to work on for a post-Whitworth, post-Sullivan O-line. They filled out the linebacking need albeit a bit too thoroughly for my tastes, but Day 3 picks aren’t ever something to complain about. And Snead tossed in a backup running back and some defensive line talent.

The Rams were already built to compete in 2018. This crop will have a four-year window through the 2021 season to contribute through. Unlike so many other classes for the Rams and the rest of the NFL this year, this group isn’t going to be asked to do much this year comparatively. We won’t know what kind of players these guys will grow into for a couple of seasons (I’m gonna grade the class anyway cause the internet needs to eat), and that’s fine.

In a draft that was low on difficulty for the Rams, they likely passed if only because they’re handing things to a very capable coaching staff.

Time to begin closing up the draft machine and getting ready for the offseason in earnest as we head toward late July and training camp and the highest expectations for a season of Rams football in more than a decade and a half.