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3 burning questions for the Rams after the draft

Will rookies make a big immediate impact? And can LA’s defense be competitive?

Charleston Southern v Florida
Van Jefferson
Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

With the draft in the books, let’s look at some key questions revolving around the new-look Rams:

Can Cam Akers and Van Jefferson produce right away?
The Rams cut running back Todd Gurley and traded receiver Brandin Cooks to Houston. The former centerpieces of Sean McVay’s offense were replaced by Akers and Jefferson in the second round.

Both players should get an immediate chance to make up for Gurley and Cook’s production. Gurley had 857 yards rushing (he averaged 3.8 yards per carry) and he had 31 catches for 207 yards (6.7 per catch average) last season. He produced far less than the previous two seasons. Cook also had a production dip with 42 receptions for 583 yards yards (13.9 yards per catch) in 2019.

The rookies should be able to get into Gurley and Cook’s 2019 production range right away with hopes of developing further in future years.

Can the offensive line hold out?
The line was banged up and not overly productive in 2019. The Rams did not make any significant upgrades in the offseason on the line. The team is confident the unit will bounce back, but it’s a risk. If injuries persist, there could be big issues.

Can the defense be competitive?
The Rams’ defense will likely have five new starters in 2020 and will have to account for the departures of linebackers Cory Littleton and Dante Fowler in free agency and the retirement of safety Eric Weddle. Free-agent pickups Leonard Floyd and A’Shawn Robinson will start.

Rookies safety Terrell Burgess and pass-rusher Terrell Lewis will have a chance to get major playing time as well. New defensive coordinator Brandon Staley is replacing the great Wade Phillips. It’s a new defensive outlook in L.A. and the pressure is on Staley to get all these new pieces on the right page and continue to take advantage of having superstar defensive lineman Aaron Donald.