Every year when the NFL draft approaches, fans love to create mock drafts and speculate who they think the franchise should select. I too, fell privy to this years ago. However, over recent years, I have been more enamored with trying to accurately predict who I think the Los Angeles Rams will select with their first selection and the position groups I think they will target with their other selections.
In my eyes, I don’t think the Rams are shy about their draft strategy over recent years. I think it has been pretty straightforward. Their formula appears to be the majority (if not all) of the following:
- Best Player Available
- Preference towards Offensive Skill Players in Early Rounds
- Use Mid/Late Round Picks on Position that has key free agent for following year
- Typically as close to a 50/50 split between # of Off. Players & # of Def. Players taken in each draft class
Examples of the Rams use Mid/Late Round picks on positions that have a key free agents for following years include:
- Bobby Brown III (A’Shawn Robinson)
- Robert Rochell (Darious Williams)
- Jacob Harris (Johnny Mundt)
- Terrell Lewis (Samson Ebukam)
- David Long Jr (Troy Hill)
- David Edwards (Austin Blythe)
- Nick Scott (Eric Weddle)
That’s just a sample size, but typically the Rams are trying to think ahead; knowing they can’t retain all of their future free agents, therefore they draft a player and give him a full year to learn the position in order to be able to fully contribute in his second year. This doesn’t mean a player couldn’t contribute in his first year (Cam Akers, Van Jefferson, Jordan Fuller, Ernest Jones, etc), but the Rams do like the timeline of not rushing their rookies into action. With that being said, I wanted to give a preview of what the Rams free agent class looks like in 2023, and how LA could be already preparing for that by how they draft in a month from today.
Rams 2023 Free Agents
- Bryce Perkins, QB
- John Wolford, QB
- Darrell Henderson, RB
- Kendall Blanton, TE
- Rob Havenstein, RT
- David Edwards, LG
- Bobby Evans, RT
- A’Shawn Robinson, iDL
- Greg Gaines, iDL
- Marquise Copeland, iDL
- Mike Hoecht, iDL
- Justin Hollins, Edge
- Travin Howard, ILB
- Christian Rozeboom, ILB
- Taylor Rapp, S
- Nick Scott, S
- David Long, CB
- Matt Gay, K
It will be another long list of rotational players hitting free agency for the Rams. But they’ve actually already started the process of filling future vacancies. Bobby Brown III is a run stuffing iDL that could replace A’Shawn Robinson. Brycen Hopkins will likely move into TE2 over Blanton. Terrell Burgess will likely pair with Jordan Fuller at the other safety spot. Nonetheless, the Rams have spots to address and the 2022 class will play a role in that.
What picks do the Rams have for 2022?
Los Angeles, as of right now, have 8 draft selections thanks to a heavy haul from the compensatory formula.
2022 RAMS DRAFT SELECTIONS
What positions will they target in 2022?
Here’s where the fun and speculation begins. I think the Rams will draft five defensive players this year and two offensive players. On defense, it’s no secret - the Rams will want to restock the cupboard around Aaron Donald since Von Miller & Darious Williams left in March and another batch of talent is set for the FA market in 2023. If they want to get the best out of AD99 while he is still wearing horns, the Rams will need to continue to add to the pass rush. With four interior defensive linemen set to hit free agency in 2023, the Rams will need more iDL next to Donald. The Edge unit is also a huge present need with Leonard Floyd, Justin Hollins, Terrell Lewis, and Chris Garrett as the only names. Hollins is a 2023 UFA and Lewis has battled knee injuries since being drafted. Lastly, the Rams saw Darious Williams walk and David Long Jr is next to leave in 2023. While the Rams are notorious for restocking their secondary with late round picks and Undrafted Free Agents; adding a cornerback to pair with Jalen Ramsey seems to make sense
On offense, the Rams could add another running back because of the past injuries to the position. Adding one offensive lineman seems likely with Havenstein & Evans both slated for free agency next year.
The other selection will be spent on finding the new starting punter.
That leaves us with a likely combination of:
Running Back (1)
Offensive Lineman (1)
Defensive Lineman (2)
With that intel, come back next week as we take a look at the Position Groups more closely; using TheDraftNetwork for insight and analysis. Be sure to follow TurfShowTimes on Twitter and Facebook for the latest articles and updates about the current Super Bowl Champion, Los Angeles Rams!