It’s the middle of June. We’ve got more than a month until we get to training camp.
So it’s a perfect time for a mock draft!
Thankfully, that’s exactly what Luke Easterling dropped over at the Touchdown Wire today with a two-round effort that offers a nice baseline well ahead of the 2019 college season.
Easterling avoids the early conventional wisdom by not having Alabama Crimson Tide QB Tua Tagovailoa as the #1 overall pick though he does have him as the first QB off the board at #3. No, Easterling has Ohio State Buckeyes EDGE Chase Young as his first pick of the 2020 draft followed by Georgia Bulldogs OT Andrew Thomas.
I recommend just scrolling through to familiarize yourself with some of these names at this point and to just recognize that Alabama, Georgia, LSU and Clemson are sending a ton of talent upward. Random gripe, BTW. Clemson WR Tee Higgins at #33 is a bit too low for me. Really like his skill set as much as some of the top WR prospects at this point like Alabama WR Jerry Jeudy or Oklahoma Sooners WR CeeDee Lamb.
Easterling is using a set of recent Super Bowl odds for his draft order, so he has the Los Angeles Rams picking 30th overall and taking:
30.) Paddy Fisher, LB, Northwestern
This is the second time we’ve been mocked to take the Paddywagon after an early 2019 mock last August. He opted to stay in school another year, though he has little to prove. He’s a fantastic ILB prospect that will remind many of the Rams’ franchise tackle leader in James Laurinaitis.
In terms of the roster gap, it’s hard to gauge. The Rams are going to be dealing with some big names leaving next offseason at key positions; they’ll have money to spend in free agency if they so choose, though, so they could address them there. Otherwise, I could see tackle, the edge or cornerback being more deserving of a first-round pick than inside linebacker even if Micah Kiser’s shot fails or if the Rams don’t retain Cory Littleton who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent.
Back to the mock.
Easterling has Washington Huskies OT Trey Adams at #36. That feels a bit low for me and is a perfect example of what I meant above regarding key position vacancies. With LT Andrew Whitworth retiring, the Rams will need to bring in a starting-caliber left tackle unless they sincerely think 2019 NFL Draft Day 3 picks David Edwards or Bobby Evans could provide adequate play there. That might be a risky decision though, and I’d certainly feel more comfortable with a prospect worthy of a first-round pick which I think Adams is.
Easterling has Texas Longhorns WR Collin Johnson at #38 in what might be the most fascinating offense in college football this year. QB Sam Ehlinger is good enough to empower a legit top college offense, and the Longhorns seem to have the requisite talents around him at the skill positions, but turnover on the offensive line could be an issue. UT was on the verge of the long-awaited “Texas is back” season in 2018, but there were just too many hiccups. This year, a Week 2 matchup against LSU in Austin is a must-watch. For NFL scouting but on the quality of the matchup alone as well.
It’s going to be very difficult to parse the Alabama defense to identify individual player stock. They are absolutely stacked up and down the defensive roster.
On to the Rams at #62 where Easterling again puts the Rams down for defensive help:
62.) Lorenzo Neal, DL, Purdue Boilermakers
Recognize the name? Because yes, he’s the son of that Lorenzo Neal who played 16 seasons in the NFL and really should be getting more love as a Hall of Fame option.
Unlike his father who played fullback though, the younger Neal is a force on the D-line for the Boilermakers. With Michael Brockers likely playing his last season for the Rams, that would open up a spot on the defensive line. The Rams do have a bevy of young options to cycle through this year that might render a pick like this unnecessary. I wouldn’t discount it out of hand at this point, though.
And so it goes with a little mock talk in June.
Any prospects intrigue you as a Rams fan at this point? Any teams that you’re eager to see play this year? Any major college games you have circled on the calendar?