If the LA Rams end up wanting to draft a tackle of the future, they may not have the luxury of waiting until they are on the board at pick 52. Should they look to settle for any interior offensive linemen that they could get, the best bet may be to wait. And wait. And just wait until next year.
In looking at NFL.com draft expert Lance Zierlein’s positional rankings in this year’s class, it is obvious that the “two offensive line positions” (interior and tackle) couldn’t be more different. Zierlein of course ranks the wide receivers as the best and deepest position group with talent at the top and in the middle rounds, but number two is offensive tackle:
Like receiver, this particular position will play a prominent role in the draft’s opening night, with four no-doubt first-rounders and some other names that could be called within the first 32 picks. Jedrick Wills and Mekhi Becton are the two best, in my opinion, but Andrew Thomas and Tristan Wirfs are instant starters, as well. Josh Jones, Austin Jackson, Ezra Cleveland and Isaiah Wilson are in a group that should go anywhere from the mid-20s to pick No. 40. Overall, there is a greater supply of potential future starters in this season’s draft than in the last several years.
The Rams have picks 52 and 57 in the second round, meaning that if they really did want someone like Jones, Jackson, Cleveland, or Wilson, they may need to consider making a move up into the 30-40 range if they could. A move like that probably costs LA their third round pick at 84 based on recent trades of similar moves up.
They could also move up for an interior offensive linemen if they feel there’s only one or two worthy of a second round pick. But if they miss out on any of the “better” options in this class, it may be better to just wait until day three or after the draft. In a year when tight end has often been called the worst class of its position in years, Zierlein had guards and center ranked even lower.
Welcome to the weakest area of the 2020 draft. This group could be bolstered a bit, depending on whether or not teams see tackles like Josh Jones and Robert Hunt as guards, but the fact remains that center and guard are an overall weakness of this class. Cesar Ruiz and Lloyd Cushenberry could step into early starting roles at center as Day 2 picks, but teams looking for guard play might wait until the third or fourth round before they even consider making a selection.
Ruiz and Cushenberry (pictured above) are oft talked about as the best in the bunch, as well as Tyler Biadasz. But in his yearly draft press conference call, Las Vegas Raiders GM Mike Mayock said that the biggest mistake teams make in the draft is “reaching for need.” We know that the Rams desperately need interior offensive line help, but is the 2020 draft class only providing “reach for need” prospects? Tackle wouldn’t appear to have same the issue and is potentially the better way for LA to go, even though they’re more settled at who is playing those positions next season.