The Los Angeles Rams do not have a first round pick and they traded their own third (we presume, though it could be a compensatory pick) to the Detroit Lions for Matthew Stafford, but they should still be busy on day two of the draft. NFL.com draft analyst Chad Reuter posted a three-round mock on Monday and he projected the Rams to fill needs at slot cornerback, defensive line, and tackle with his three picks for LA.
Reuter only gave commentary for his first round picks, but here are his three projected picks for the Rams:
2 (57): Aaron Robinson, CB, UCB
3 (101): Chris Rumph II, Edge, Duke
3 (104): D’Ante Smith, OT, ECU
Some more on each pick:
Aaron Robinson, CB, UCF
The Draft Network had this to say about Robinson:
A 4-star recruit that originally committed to Alabama, Aaron Robinson transferred to UCF and became the featured slot cornerback in 2019 and 2020 for the Knights. While he has some experience playing out wide, his best fit at the next level is likely in the slot. Robinson is a versatile defender that can function in both man and zone coverage and he will make the run defense better with his ability to fill and defend the D-gap. Overall, he’s a physical player with quick feet and sufficient athleticism. The concerns with Robinson at the next level are his modest coverage instincts, ordinary ball skills, and proving the tackler he was in 2020 is what he will be moving forward and not the inconsistent finisher he was in 2019. Robinson has the ability to become a featured slot corner in the NFL, but he will need to become more sure of himself in coverage and play the game with better angles.
NFLMocks.com’s Sayre Bedinger called Robinson “a unique weapon”
What makes Robinson so fascinating compared to other cornerbacks in the 2021 NFL Draft class is the fact that he has a lot of experience playing both inside as a nickel cornerback as well as on the outside.
It’s rare for guys coming into the NFL to have such great tape at both spots, but Robinson has definitely got it.
At 6-foot-1, 193 pounds, Robinson’s body type would scream outside corner in the NFL, but his effectiveness in the slot and playing tight man coverage makes him a fascinating option for NFL teams today.
In the NFL right now, there are a growing number of “big slot” types of tight end/wide receiver hybrids. There are few teams that can handle the likes of Travis Kelce and Darren Waller with their combination of size, speed, route savvy, and strong hands.
Could Robinson be a potential answer?
Most slot corners in the NFL are not 6-foot-1, 193-pounds. Some of the best slot corners are under 5-foot-11 and the reason they are limited to slot duty is the fact that they don’t have the size to matchup with those big “X” receivers at the next level.
There are some exceptions, obviously, but for NFL teams right now Robinson might be somewhat of a new prototype.
Chris Rumph II, Edge, Duke
Rumph has been mentioned as a potential first round pick in the past. Will he raise his draft stock into that range by April? Here’s an interview with Rumph on The Draft Network about Rumph being “undersized” for his position.
Signing with the program as a member of the 2017 recruiting class, he was a slender 6-foot-3, 200-pound defensive end that was labeled as being far away from being a contributor of any kind at the next level....
Using his father’s expertise and own motivation, Rumph II is now considered to be one of the most explosive, disruptive, and exciting defensive end prospects in the country. Gaining the respect of his peers, the Blue Devils defensive end was voted as a preseason First-Team All-ACC selection after a breakout 2019 season where he collected 47 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, 11 quarterback hurries, and 6.5 sacks.
CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso had this to say about Rumph, who he ranked as the eighth-best prospect prior to the 2020 college football season:
Listed at 6-4 and 235 pounds, packing on weight is a must for Rumph as he enters the NFL, but I don’t think he needs to be significantly heavier to succeed in today’s NFL that’s prioritizing speed and quickness over size and power. Also, I hope Duke uses Rumph more frequently (just 409 snaps last year) and in a more translatable way this season. In 2019, he often aligned off the ball like a traditional linebacker then moments before the snap drifted close to the line over an inside gap and destroyed whoever tried to block him. Name a pass-rushing move, and Rumph has it locked, loaded, and ready to be deployed. He quickly reads the leverage of an offensive lineman and counters in a flash. Rumph, just a redshirt sophomore last year, is fast off the ball, plays with a non-stop motor, and has long arms, all leading to a sizable tackling radius.
Rumph posted eight sacks and 11.5 TFL in 2020.
D’Ante Smith, OT, Eastern Carolina
Smith only played in the season opener in 2020 before sitting out the rest of the season with an undisclosed injury.
The 6-foot-4, 274-pounder has ideal arm length and good feet for an NFL offensive lineman, but he will likely have to add weight to stick at the next level. He’s played the majority of his career in the 280-290 pound range at ECU, but came in at under 275 earlier this summer. Training to reach the 300-pound level and maintaining his athleticism will be vital to him getting a great shot at the professional level, especially coming off a season where he only played one game. ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. currently lists Smith ninth overall on his draft-eligible offensive tackle board for 2021.
The Draft Network doesn’t see Smith as ready to start in 2021, but a project worth developing for some team later in the draft.
D’Ante Smith was the primary starting left tackle for East Carolina in 2018 and 2019. He was expected to start for a third year in 2020 but an undisclosed injury limited him to just one game. Smith features a lean, athletic build and has good mobility, hand usage, and length. Where Smith needs to improve is with his weight distribution, body control, contact balance, and functional strength. He also needs to fill out his frame to help him hold up more effectively at the point of attack. There is developmental appeal with Smith, but there is notable work to be done. His best fit comes in a west coast offense where he can quick set and avoid deeper pass sets and in a zone blocking run scheme where his modest power can be mitigated and mobility accentuated. There should not be expectations of him starting on Sundays early in his career, but he could compete for a starting role by Year 3 should he develop.