The Rams were tasked mostly with mitigating their losses this offseason after earning the highest team grade in the NFL last season, at 95.4 overall. That’s what happens to teams that have the best record in the league and make it all the way to the Super Bowl. Still, the Rams were able to get better in key areas thanks to quarterback Jared Goff playing on his rookie deal.
GM Les Snead let key contributors walk in free agency after the team’s Super Bowl run. Gone are guard Rodger Saffold, who was a top-five run-blocker in 2018; center John Sullivan, who retired; and safety Lamarcus Joyner, who will be replaced with All-Pro Eric Weddle. Weddle comes over from Baltimore in his 13th year, yet still allowed a passer rating of just 62.3 last season. Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh took his 48 pressures from a season ago to Tampa Bay. Clay Matthews returns to LA this offseason but is not the terror he once was off the edge, with a career-low 30 pressures last season.
The Rams traded back twice before making their first pick in the NFL draft this spring. Box safety/linebacker prospect Taylor Rapp was a value in PFF’s eyes at 61st overall after earning a 90.1 overall grade last season. Rapp brings a physical style, along with a 91.1 run-defense grade and 16 stops to his name. Corner David Long Jr. gave up just 42 receiving yards and one touchdown at Michigan last year, and while his coverage grade of 83.2 doesn’t match his eye-popping numbers, he has the potential to be a steal as a third-round pick. Tackle Bobby Evans and running back Darrell Henderson of Memphis were fine picks in the third round, but Greg Gaines could be a steal in the fourth round. The former Huskies nose tackle is not a physical prototype, but earned a 92.9 run-defense grade and can potentially do the dirty work to free up Aaron Donald to wreak his usual havoc.
Pro Football Focus’ 2019 Los Angeles Rams training camp preview underscores just how good the Rams are right now
High praise, indeed!
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