On Wednesday, I outlined what the LA Rams roster sort of looks like after the first big moves of free agency settled this week. That included the retirement of Andrew Whitworth, the loss of Von Miller to the Bills, the re-signing of Joseph Noteboom and Brian Allen, as well as the release of Johnny Hekker. More has happened, more will happen, but this is roughly where the Rams stand and the questions remain, “Is this roster a Super Bowl roster yet?”
Below, I recorded a short 18-minute podcast on what LA’s five biggest needs are. Don’t want to listen? That’s cool too... I’ll write them out, as I see it, then tell me in the comments where I got it alllllll wrong.
Oh no, our first fight already!!!
Sorry, but despite all that Les Snead has done to fortify the receiver position, it remains a question mark headed into the rest of this offseason. Setting aside Cooper Kupp and his dominance with Matthew Stafford last season, a team like LA’s probably needs at least four viable receiving options for its offense over the course of 17 games.
Are Robert Woods, Van Jefferson, and Tutu Atwell enough to be considered “the four”? Jacob Harris and Ben Skowronek maybe?
Day 2— Thor Nystrom (@thorku) March 17, 2022
He matched Tyreek Hill’s athletic composite and has enormous CFB utility/production to back that up
Austin is a better prospect than Tutu Atwell, who went 2.57
Speed kills, and there’s increasingly an arm’s race to acquire it as game evolves into its speed/space destiny https://t.co/Mk0GFvsqLP
Odell Beckham Jr., like Woods, recovering from a torn ACL around his 30th birthday, remains unsigned and unlikely to participate in football when the season starts.
There’s a long list of notable receivers on the market, like Allen Robinson and Julio Jones, and I don’t think that teams will be in a rush to sign them. Eventually, the Rams will pick up at least one or two names, and don’t put it past Snead to use his first pick on a receiver again.
Update: Moments after posting this, the Rams reportedly signed Allen Robinson to a 3-year contract.
Interior Offensive Line
After re-signing Allen and retaining Coleman Shelton, the Rams have kept part of the band together. Do you like the band? Are you happy with the band? Are you mosh pitting for the band?
David Edwards is a free agent in 2023, while Jamil Demby, Jeremiah Kolone, Bobby Evans, Tremayne Anchrum, and Chandler Brewer stick around for depth. Do you see any starters in there? For now, Shelton might be the lead to start at right guard.
The Rams may not sign a starting interior offensive lineman from here on out, but increasing depth at the position is inevitable. Probably on day three of the draft, I imagine. An outside-the-box acquisition might be trading for Gabe Jackson of the Seahawks, if they’ll move him within the division. The Cowboys just released La’El Collins, could he move back inside to guard?
With Miller out, the Rams have Terrell Lewis, Justin Hollins, and Chris Garrett up first to compete to start opposite of Leonard Floyd. Will Danielle Hunter be on Snead’s mind at all?
#Vikings 2021 Defensive EPA/Play Allowed Weeks 1-7 (while Danielle Hunter was healthy):— Nick Olson (@NickOlsonNFL) March 17, 2022
• -0.05 (6th-best in the NFL)
Vikings 2021 Defensive EPA/Play Allowed Weeks 8-17 (after Danielle Hunter got hurt):
• +0.02 (22nd-best in the NFL)
We can’t discount the possibility that an edge rusher is Snead’s top priority; after all, he traded for Von Miller, then worked hard to re-sign him. Where will LA’s edge rush come from, if not Miller or Hunter?
Though Darious Williams probably had more support after 2020 than he did after 2021, Snead and McVay were reportedly high on trying to keep him and lost out to the Jacksonville Jaguars, Williams’ home city.
Darious Williams played in 99-percent of the snaps in 2021, and like Troy Hill before him, his absence will become someone else’s gain for the Rams next season. Is that player on the roster yet?
Robert Rochell is inexperienced and the competition difference between playing at Central Arkansas and playing in the NFL must be vast. Give him time to develop, unless he really is that special. David Long, Jr. had a chance to seize an opportunity in 2021, and didn’t fully grasp it. The Rams must be looking to someone else who could play outside cornerback, but who?
And what are they willing to pay for it? Stephon Gilmore, Joe Haden, and Jackrabbit Jenkins are free agents.
No Johnny Hekker? Snead will have punting options in the draft. Surely this makes you wonder why Corey Bojorquez isn’t on the Rams.
I ramble about stuff like this in the podcast too.