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Rams prospects to watch at the NFL Combine

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NCAA Football: Senior Bowl-Fan Day Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Hey everyone!

My name is Michael Peterson and I am one of your new Community Editors here at Turf Show Times. My main goal is to cultivate the sense of community and help bring the type of quality content this site deserves as a reflection of this team’s recent success out there on the field.

Just some quick notes about me. I’m from Cedar Rapids, Iowa and was a graduate of the University of Iowa back in 2016. I also played a little tight end and punter in college at Drake University before finishing my degree at the U of I. I have been the deputy manager for Bolts From The Blue, our Chargers site, for the last two years and now I have the privilege of covering both sides of the “Fight for LA”. (I don’t have to tell you who is winning currently.)

The Rams are one of the most exciting teams in the NFL on both sides of the ball and get to lay claim to the best defensive player in the league of the last four to five years. I’m also a big fan of Sean McVay’s zone offense and will always get excited about a team that loves to run the football. With that being said, I’m ready to dive in and start getting to know you all here at TST!

NOW TO THE CONTENT!

The Rams are without a first-round pick in this year’s draft so it makes things all the more complicated in finding someone who could make an immediate impact for them at #52. Almost every team will have picked twice before the Rams are on the clock but that doesn’t mean there won’t be someone at a position of need who could step in and play from day one.

The team’s biggest need at the moment is obviously left tackle. Andrew Whitworth is a staggering 38 years old but still managing to play at a near-elite level. But 38 years old on the offensive line might as well qualify you for the early-bird special at your local diner.

The team drafted Bobby Evans out of Oklahoma last year in the third round and he wound-up playing in nine games and starting seven at right tackle. He was a right tackle at Oklahoma as well before switching to the left side the year after Orlando Brown Jr. was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in 2018.

With right tackle Rob Havenstein being signed through the 2022 season, I’d expect Evans to be the guy behind Whitworth at left tackle, at least for the short-term. If the Rams decided to draft a true left tackle 2020, I could see them potentially letting Havenstein walk following his contract as he will be nearing 30-years old and Evans could slide right in, allowing the Rams to put that money elsewhere.

If the Rams foresee Havenstein staying with the team past 2022, then it would be worth keeping Evans as the back-up to both tackle spots and going with the best available interior offensive linemen at pick 52. The guard class isn’t what it was the past few seasons but there are a some notable names that should be available late in the second.

The Rams could also be in the market for a new member of the secondary. If they believe second-year safety Taylor Rapp can take over for Eric Weddle, then maybe they focus on a cornerback to play opposite of Jalen Ramsey. There’s a number of directions they can go with their draft and I’m here to give some names that I believe should be on the short list for the Rams.

OT Prince Tega Wanogho - Auburn

For starters, yes, he is an actual prince. Look up his roster profile on Auburn’s website and you’ll see him and the rest of his family all start with “prince” or “princess”. So that’s pretty cool.

Wanogho is one of this year’s athletic freaks at the tackle position and should be one of the top performers for his group in Indy. He measured on Tuesday at 6-foot-5 and just under 310 pounds. He played in a zone run-heavy scheme under Gus Malzahn and should fit right in with what McVay wants to do up front on offense. His lateral movement is the biggest knock against him but those shortcomings will be minimized due to the passing game being predicated off of their play-action. Wanogho won’t often be faced with a conventional 1-on-1 scenario with opposing edge rushers. There’s roughly six to seven offensive tackles who could be drafted before him which makes the chances of him falling to 52 very likely.

Wanogho and the rest of the offensive linemen will perform their on-field drills on Friday with the special teamers and running backs.

OG Robert Hunt - Louisiana

Hunt is one massive dude. He stands at a true 6-foot-5 and just weighed-in at 323 pounds which is actually down from his team roster weight at 336. He likely lost the weight to potentially improve his testing numbers on Friday and I don’t blame him for it. It’s a murky group of interior offensive linemen and any one of them could test off the charts and push their way to the top of the group.

Jordan Reid over at The Draft Network is in love with Hunt as a prospect and gushed about his abilities in his personal scouting profile:

“Big, powerful dude that can move. Hunt is a nasty run blocker that loves to find leverage points on his opponents, accelerate his feet and dump guys on the ground. Delivers knockout blows with his hands that enable him to quickly control reps. It’s game over for a second level defender when he gets his hands on them in space. Has experience at both guard and tackle. Showcases good mobility relative to his size. Has no issues reaching his landmarks in space and he can slide his feet smoothly in pass protection. Grip strength is outstanding once the clamps are set. Four years of starting experience in college.”

That’s a lot of praise for the lineman and Reid is definitely not the only one who thinks this highly of Hunt, either. The Rams would be wise to highlight his name yesterday.

CB Bryce Hall - Virginia

The former Cavalier could have potentially been a first-round pick if he had declared for last year’s draft but decided to finish out his senior year at Virginia after being named a First-Team All-ACC pick in ‘18. That move came back to bite him after he suffered a season-ending injury halfway through the year. Luckily for Hall, he showed enough on tape from his junior season and prior to the injury that he’s still considered one of the top corners in this draft. Scouts will keep his recent injury in mind and this could lead Hall to drop some on draft day, maybe even making it to the Ram’s third-round pick at 84.

Hall has great length and size at 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds. He causes a fuss at the line of scrimmage which allows him to stay with dynamic receivers when they want to go vertical on him. He doesn’t often take false steps, either. Scouts credit his intellect on the field as to why he’s successful in coverage opposed to his overall athletic ability. One of the biggest pros to Hall’s game is his tackling ability and willingness to stick his shoulder into a ball-carrier, no matter the size.

With one big personality on one side of the field, Hall could be a solid complement to Ramsey as another sure-tackler and willing man-coverage corner.

DE/OLB Nick Coe - Auburn

Coe was a member of the impressive Auburn defensive line that also included future top-10 pick Derrick Brown and fellow scouting combine invitee Marlon Davidson. He played all along the defensive front from tackle all the way out to a stand-up edge rusher. His ability to rush from a two-point stance was impressive given that he played up over 280 pounds this past year. In the NFL, he may have to cut weight should he want to stay in that role unless the team that drafts him wants to transition him into a more traditional defensive end.

He’s not the most refined pass-rusher in the class and that will be something scouts will take note of come draft day. His most productive pass-rush move was the bull-rush and that really limited his arsenal of moves because he never saw a need to develop a good counter or add additional moves to his stash.

If Dante Fowler ends up leaving in free agency, Coe could fill in as a bookend edge rusher that would also give the Rams a better run-stopping presence on the outside than what Fowler was able to give them.