The Los Angeles Rams are set to have an early second round draft pick in 2023, bordering on a late first round pick, and there’s no question that Sean McVay and Les Snead have a lot of holes to fill on the roster. There will be much debate about what to do and no right answers, only eventual decisions.
The offense could be the worst in the NFL today. But should Snead use the draft to fortify the defense?
Round 2, 35th Overall: Felix Anudike-Uzomah, EDGE, Kansas State
The absence of Miller has really left Aaron Donald on an island getting after the quarterback in 2022. They haven’t gotten enough production on the edge, and in a deep edge class, that’s the direction in the second round. Felix Anudike-Uzomah is a talented rusher from Kansas State. He’s had 86 pressures and 21 sacks in the last two seasons, along with 70 run stops.
When it comes to rushing the passer, Anudike-Uzomah isn’t the most bendy rusher who will win the outside track. Rather, Anudike-Uzomah wins with long strides of explosion off the snap and can drive opponents back with power at the contact point. He’s creative enough to find ways to soften his angle to the quarterback and win in the contact phase. Not to mention, he does a great job setting the edge against the run with his power and length.
Anudike-Uzomah is in his third season at Kansas City and he had 11 tackles for a loss and 8.5 sacks in 13 games.
Felix Anudike-Uzomah's 20.5 sacks puts the junior at 6th place all time in K-State history pic.twitter.com/UId5fy7VrJ— The Kansas State Fan (@Thekstatefan) December 7, 2022
Three of those sacks came against Texas Tech in Week 5, and Anudike-Uzomah had three sacks in his final eight games.
But sack totals in college do not always serve as a preview of what’s to come and Anudike-Uzomah’s are still among the best in the nation. In the third round, writer Jacob Schyvnik went to the other side of the line.
Round 3, 68th Overall: Blake Freeland, OT, BYU
Losing Andrew Whitworth was tough for the Rams offensive line, and injuries didn’t make things better. They still have both Joe Noteboom and Rob Havenstein for the long haul, but staying proactive is a good call in case either see a decline in play. The sweet spot for the tackle class is going to be on day two, and Blake Freeland would be a great addition to this offensive line.
Freeland is a taller tackle at 6’8″, which could potentially have issues with staying low to maintain leverage as a pass protector and handle bendy rushers. At BYU, it didn’t bother him, as he has the foot speed, balance, and strength to mirror and stick in front of rushers. He’s even looked better at latching on to defenders and driving off the ball better in the run game.
Les Snead has not spent many day two picks on offensive linemen and those that he’s picked, like Bobby Evans, have not worked out as well as hoped.
Could the Rams make a pick like this one and end up with 2022 third rounder Logan Bruss and Freeland starting on the offensive line to protect Matthew Stafford next season?
Here is the rest of the mock: