Over at the Draft Wire this week, Luke Easterling had a new mock draft that looks into the possibility of the Los Angeles Rams trading down from the #31 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Now, I’m biased here. A month ago today, I advocated for the Rams doing this exact thing. So obviously on principle, I’m backing a trade like the on Easterling has where the Rams send the 31st overall pick to the New York Giants for the 37th overall pick (the fifth pick of the second round) and the 95th overall pick (the 31st pick of the third round which the Giants picked up from the Cleveland Browns in the trade for Odell Beckham, Jr., which the Browns had via their trade with the New England Patriots that sent them DT Danny Shelton). So the Rams move back just six picks and add a top-100 selection. I just don’t see how we could turn that down given how much work General Manager Les Snead has to do over this year and next to fill out the middle of the roster.
In any case, it’s a fun mock. Ole Miss Rebels WR D.K. Metcalf makes the top 10 as does Florida Gators OT Jawaan Taylor. The Washington QB Takers get their man in Missouri Tigers QB Drew Lock with the 12th overall pick; he’s the third QB of the mock following Oklahoma Sooners QB Kyler Murray going 1st overall to the Arizona Cardinals and the Cincinnati Bengals making a trade to move up to #5 to take Ohio St. Buckeyes QB Dwayne Haskins.
It’s a mock that’s heavy on offensive linemen in the middle, which might be a bit upsetting to some Rams fans. After Taylor leads things off, Alabama Crimson Tide OT Jonah Williams goes at #16 to the Giants. Oklahoma OT Cody Ford jumps one pick later to the Minnesota Vikings. N.C. State Wolfpack OL Garrett Bradbury, who remains the most popular mock selection for the Rams according to the SB Nation mock draft database, follows one pick on. Washington State Cougars OT Andre Dillard is off at #23 to the Houston Texans. And Kansas State Wildcats OT Dalton Risner finishes things up at #25 for the Philadelphia Eagles.
EDGE watch? Florida State Seminoles EDGE Brian Burns at #13 to the Miami Dolphins. Michigan Wolverines EDGE Rashan Gary at #14 to the Atlanta Falcons. Mississippi St. Bulldogs EDGE Montez Sweat at #16 to the Carolina Panthers. Clemson Tigers DE Clelin Ferrell to the Oakland Raiders at #24.
And your Iowa Hawkeyes tight end duo in T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant are both gone by #21.
So Easterling has the Rams trading out as the G-Men jump up to get a QB to supplant Eli Manning in Duke Blue Devils QB Daniel Jones. Delaware Blue Hens S Nasir Adderley rounds out the first round, himself a popular target of mocks for the Rams.
So into the second. West Virginia Mountaineers OT Yodny Cajuste, one of my favorite options for the Rams, goes at #33 to the Cards. Notre Dame Fighting Irish DT Jerry Tillery, another popular Rams go-to, is off a pick later.
So having traded down six selections, Easterling has the Rams going:
#37.) Clemson Tigers DL Dexter Lawrence
No issue here. DL Ndamukong Suh is searching for a new employer and DL Michael Brockers will likely follow his path a year from now. Lawrence is one of the best interior linemen in college football from 2018, so it certainly fits the logical rubric.
On to the third.
While the Rams hold the 94th and 99th picks, Easterling’s trade gifts us #95 as well. And with that much capital at the end of the third, it’s easy to just check off the roster gap boxes:
#94.) Duke Blue Devils ILB Joe Giles-Harris
#95.) Miami EDGE Joe Jackson
#99.) Alabama State Hornets (I had to look it up) OT Tytus Howard
JGH makes sense for the Rams’ depth chart, but quickness and injury concerns would be up front though pairing him with a quicker ILB partner (hello, Cory Littleton) might alleviate that aspect.
Jackson is a talented edge rusher, though I’d see him as a better fit in a 4-3. He’s more of a William Hayes type. He’s big, he’s strong and he’s relentless. He’s not the athletic edge that plays EDGE1 for a lot of teams, but again much like Giles-Harris it’s about role.
Howard is an interesting story. I’ve only seen him this last season against Auburn. I had to go back and watch it because I wasn’t really looking at Alabama State and turned the game off midway through the 1st quarter when Auburn went way up. He’s certainly interesting, but it’s just very hard to isolate his game in those circumstances. Overall, it’s a project pick. He played quarterback in high school and started off as a tight end before transitioning to the line and eventually taking over ASU’s left tackle spot for now Giants OT Jylan Ware.
#133.) Texas Longhorns CB Kris Boyd
Boyd’s one of the sneakier picks I really like. He’s not going to jump off paper right now, but he’s the kind of guy I think could be much better in his third NFL season than he is in Year 1. It makes it the perfect situation for him with the Rams with Aqib Talib, Marcus Peters and Troy Hill taking the top three slots.
It is, understandably, a defensively-heavy mock. The Rams’ current roster gaps (and even their mid-range ones) lean almost exclusively toward the defensive side of the ball along with some offensive line concerns. And that’s what we’ve got.
Any issues? Prospects in here that you particularly like or don’t? Issues with the trade or the lack of another?