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2021 NFL Draft: 4 more day two fits for the LA Rams

They have comparable measurements to NFL stars, but can they shine at the next level too?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 31 Memphis at Cincinnati Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

I laid out four day two prospects earlier on Sunday. Why not make it eight? If you like intros, there’s one on that article ... let’s get to the players.

Brady Christensen, OT

I mentioned Christensen last week when looking for tackles who had day one traits but are currently projected for day two. Every prospect has weaknesses, but I think we all have to have our own personal opinion on what red flags we fear and which ones we don’t and there probably isn’t a right answer. It’s just personal preference.

If Christensen’s biggest red flag is his age — 25 in September — then I’m fine with that and believe he can be a starting NFL offensive lineman as soon as 2021.

Now one reason that the Rams might not be as interested as other teams is that Christensen is an elite athlete. His testing was through the roof and while you’d think that would be an indication of him as a magnet to every team, most of Les Snead’s o-line picks did not have great measurables. It’s not necessarily what LA is looking for in an offensive lineman, or even a draftee. We know that Snead is on the record that 40-times are overrated.

Christensen is also potentially too small to play left tackle in the NFL and wouldn’t be a long-term answer to Andrew Whitworth’s eventual departure in the relatively near future.

But he might also turn out to be a great right tackle, if not a superb guard. His measurements are hard to find, especially among players who don’t go in the top-50, and he was more than effective as a blindside protector of Zach Wilson at BYU.

Christensen could potentially plug in immediately at right guard and might be able to slide outside one more position by 2022, either because Rob Havenstein (one of the NFL’s least athletic tackles) moves to the left side or is released/traded to save considerable cap room.

Tommy Tremble, TE

If you found out that the Rams used their first pick on a tight end, you might find it difficult to contain your anger for Les Snead. Not only does LA have a great need at center, as well as reinforcements for key defensive positions, but Tyler Higbee is an adequate starter and Brycen Hopkins was just selected in the fourth round last year.

But if you found out that the Rams drafted Tommy Tremble out of Notre Dame, maybe you’d be more forgiving.

Despite 35 career catches for 401 yards over 19 college games in two years, Tremble has won over fans of potentially every team in the NFL this year. His name can’t hurt matters (alliteration is one thing, but it goes to another level with repeating ‘m’’s in the middle) but Tremble could also be the second-most athletic tight end in this class after Kyle Pitts (who is historically athletic) and the first-most terrifying to defensive opponents.

Tremble is credited as being physical, dominant as a blocker, and versatile. He models his game after George Kittle, a player who went in the fifth round in part because he only had 44 catches for 604 yards combined during his final two seasons at Iowa.

“The way he attacked not only the receiving game, but blocking, run schemes and how he just was violent and finished guys to the end of the play,” Tremble said. “That’s a guy I’ve watched and just really tried to emulate the violent side and the crazy side he has for this.”

Whatever team gets me, I’m all in for them.”

Tremble says he is comfortable lining up in the slot, out wide, as a fullback, on the line, as a wing, and he makes it difficult to doubt him. Whether or not he will prove capable of becoming a team’s number one receiving option at tight end is all speculation right now but I believe there has to be at least one general manager out there who believes him and takes Tommy Tremble much earlier than expected.

If he does slide outside of the top-50 though, Snead might simply see him as the best all-around “football player” on the board and let Sean McVay figure out where best to put him.

A more in-depth scouting report on Tremble can be found here.

Nico Collins, WR

Perhaps the only player in this draft who has to fight for Google searches and YouTube hits with a young musical artist who has the same name and 234,000 is Michigan receiver Nico Collins.

If Milton Williams has “shades of” Aaron Donald and if Tommy Tremble has “shades of” George Kittle, then Nico Collins has “shades of” DK Metcalf.

Collins brings size to the position that is suddenly much harder to find than it used to be. With so many receivers entering the league now around 6’ and 190 lbs, the 6’4, 215 lbs frame with 4.43 speed makes him a rare commodity and potentially an early day two pick if a team is willing to forgive his lack of college production.

Similar to how Metcalf became a late second round pick for Seattle two years ago.

But Collins was a highly effective red zone threat for the Wolverines, catching 38 passes for 632 yards and six touchdowns as a sophomore in 2018, then 37 passes for 729 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior the next year. Collins opted out of the 2020 season and wasn’t able to build upon his career opportunities, though I don’t know what six games for a disappointing 2-4 Michigan team was really going to do for his case.

The measurements are impressive: 6’4, 215 lbs, 4.43 40, 37.5” vertical, 10’5 broad jump, 6.78 three-cone.

Of course, if you want the discounted version of those numbers, you can always look to Stanford’s Simi Fehoko: 6’3, 222 lbs, 4.44 40, 34.5” vertical, 10’ broad jump, 6.78 three-cone.

But then again, Fehoko might go earlier than expected because he also brings a rare combination of size and speed and underwhelming college production, though Fehoko did play in 2020.

I don’t believe that just because Metcalf exists (and is much faster at a 4.33) that Collins or Fehoko will succeed. If that was the case, then both would be locks for the first round. More has to happen for them to become regular contributors at the next level. But the Rams lost their size at the position when Josh Reynolds left in free agency and Collins does have an impressive resume so he should be a prospect to keep an eye on in round three or four.

James Wiggins, DB

The Rams have lot a considerable amount of talent from their defense this year, including safety John Johnson, cornerback Troy Hill, and linebacker Samson Ebukamn. Well, why not one player who might be able to fill a little bit of all of those roles?

Like Cincinnati’s James Wiggins, one of the top athletes in the class and a defensive prospect whose play and measurements would warrant a much higher grade if not for a torn ACL in 2019 and a setback with his meniscus in 2020, but his determination to rehab and commitment to return for his senior campaign falls in line with his reputation as a physical player and a hard worker.

Wiggins had a nose for the ball in 2018, intercepting four passes in 13 games. He had 32 tackles, one sack, one interception, and six batted passes in nine games last season. At his pro day, Wiggins ran a 4.40 at 5’11, 209 lbs, making him the sixth-fastest player this year at either corner, safety, or linebacker. The five players faster than him include four players who weigh 191 or less, plus 209 lb Tyler Coyle and future top-15 pick Micah Parsons.

He also added a 38” vertical, 22 reps on the bench, and a 10’7 broad.

Wiggins is a lot of projection at this point and there will have to be refinement and development, like any other prospect, but the Rams could be patient with him as they bring him along and he’d be able to contribute immediately on special teams. McVay could use more depth and competition and slot as well, and there still isn’t a clear successor to John Johnson at free safety. That might not ever be a guy like Wiggins, but if Jordan Fuller moves over, then Wiggins would make some sense as his duo partner.

Safety and linebacker-safety hybrids are getting much more attention than they used to get and Wiggins might also go earlier than anticipated because of it. Or his injury history could get him pushed to day three ... not that it would stop Snead.