On Friday, the Los Angeles Rams were awarded three compensatory picks in the 2019 NFL Draft. So now with three picks in the first three rounds, things are looking much different for the Rams in three-round mocks like today’s Monday mock from Mocking the Draft’s Dan Kadar today.
Whereas previously the Rams had just a single pick in the first three rounds with the second-round pick headed to the Kansas City Chiefs for as part of the trade for CB Marcus Peters and the third-rounder headed to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the trade for EDGE Dante Fowler Jr., the comp picks meant the Rams keep their original third-rounder and one of the third-round comps with the earlier third-round comp pick going to Jacksonville.
Kadar’s new mock is a bit more aggressive. Michigan Wolverines DE Rashan Gary goes at #4 to the Oakland Raiders. If the first three picks stay put and nobody trades up into the top 3, that fourth pick could be where the draft turns on its head. LSU Tigers ILB Devin White goes off a pick later.
Kadar has four quarterbacks in his top 15 picks starting with Ohio State Buckeyes QB Dwayne Haskins to the New York Giants at #6. Iowa Hawkeyes TE T.J. Hockenson leads a strong tight end class at #10 to the Denver Broncos.
Rams fans on EDGE watch might not like this one too much. Clemson Tigers DE Clelin Ferrell, Florida State Seminoles EDGE Brian Burns, Mississippi St. Bulldogs EDGE Montez Sweat and Florida Gators EDGE Jachai Polite are all gone in the top 19 picks. One advantage there would be the aspect of making the Rams’ decision easier by taking competing options off the table.
So while I’m on board with the Rams trading back to stack up picks to fill out the gap in their roster timeline created by numerous trades over the last three drafts, Kadar doesn’t have any trades working in his mock leaving the Rams to go OL at 31:
#31.) West Virginia Mountaineers OT Yodny Cajuste
Offseason needs: Safety, edge defender, guard, offensive tackle
Rodger Saffold could depart the Rams in free agency, and 37-year-old Andrew Whitworth won’t be around forever. It would be smart for Los Angeles to start working on its offensive line this offseason. Cajuste is a little raw, but his game is that of a starting offensive tackle in the NFL.
I’m a big fan of Cajuste, so I’m biased in favor of this one. He came out of the Miami area and shunned the big Florida schools on the recruiting trail in favor of heading to WVU. While he earned the starting gig at left tackle as a redshirt freshman in 2015, he injured his knee that year and re-injured it in 2016 in the season opener. So the medical check on it at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine, which starts this week, will be absolutely crucial.
The second round of Kadar’s mock is interesting in its own right. While I’m obviously on board with Cajuste at 31, Alabama Crimson Tide ILB Mack Wilson and S Deionte Thompson go a couple of picks later. I’m sure there are Rams fans who would rather pick up one of those guys instead.
Michigan LB Devin Bush goes at 42 to the Cincinnati Bengals. He seems like the kind of prospect that will flourish with a coaching staff that can tailor their defense to his ranginess or will absolutely fail if he’s asked to fit the system instead. That would be an interesting challenge for new Bengals Head Coach and former Rams Quarterbacks Coach Zac Taylor.
Vanderbilt Commodores CB Joejuan Williams heads out at #55 to the Houston Texans. He’d be a strong option for the Rams in a trade down as well as would Temple Owls CB Rock Ya-Sin who jumps at #61 to the Chiefs.
Into the third round where there’s plenty of intrigue here especially with the quarterbacks position. While Kadar has four QBs in the top 15, he doesn’t have any thereafter until the third with WVU QB Will Grier, N.C. State Wolfpack QB Ryan Finley and Northwestern Wildcats QB Clayton Thorson all come off. While many of the other role positions take a bit more prominence heading into free agency if only because they’ve been staffed more capably for the Rams, it’s worth considering how high the Rams could take their next backup quarterback to operate behind QB Jared Goff. Bear in mind that QB Sean Mannion himself was a third-round pick back in the 2015 NFL Draft. Is the third round too high for the Rams’ next QB2?
Plenty of potential applicable defensive talent for the Rams in the third here. Notre Dame Fighting Irish CB Julian Love, Michigan EDGE Chase Winovich and Oregon Ducks EDGE Jalen Jenks all go before the Rams are on the clock at #94 and all would make obvious sense.
By the time we come up, Kadar mocks us to:
#94.) USC Trojans EDGE Porter Gustin
This one might come down entirely to the combine medical check. Broken toe. Torn bicep. Torn knee meniscus. Fractured ankle. Incredibly talented kid, but he’s got a ton to look into on the medical side.
Of course, the Rams swing right back around just five picks later where Kadar has the Rams adding to the offensive line yet again:
#99.) OSU OL Michael Jordan
Jordan’s a fine pick (and an absolute giant), but personally I’d be in favor of the player Kadar mocks with the next pick: Wisconsin Badgers OL Beau Benzschawel.
And while I’m fine adding to the offensive line stockade, I do wonder how a class with just one defender in the first three picks would sit given the potential attrition on that side of the ball. DL Ndamukong Suh, Fowler and S Lamarcus Joyner could all be heading out the door in free agency to say nothing of the depth on the second string.
In the end, we now have the opportunity to investigate options in third round with sincerity with the comp picks officially awarded. With three picks in the top 99, the Rams at least have a bit more of an opportunity to begin building around the core they’ve locked up than they’ve had the last few drafts.