LA has retained key players along the offensive line - Joseph Noteboom, Brian Allen, and Coleman Shelton. The team upgraded at receiver with the physical Allen Robinson over Robert Woods. There were some homegrown talent they were unable to retain - Sebastian Joseph-Day, Obo Okoronkwo, and Darious Williams signed elsewhere in free agency.
Are there any players that remain on the open market that could bolster LA’s chances to repeat as champions? What is the biggest need remaining on the roster, and is there hope to fill this through the draft?
Our Turf Show Times staff addressed these burning questions below. Let us know your answers in the comments.
1 - Is there anyone who remains on the open market that you’d like to see the Rams sign?
It might be an “unnecessary” need because the WR room has plenty of talent, but OBJ’s connection with Stafford in 2021 was huge. That’s hard to replace.
I would love to say Bobby Wagner but I’m trying not to get my hopes up. Linebacker has been a weakness for LA for years and Wagner would be the perfect way to patch a noticeable hole on the defense. Should the Rams sign him, I can see him bringing a steady veteran presence to the defense much like DeMarcus Ware brought to the Broncos during the 2014 free agency period.
After losing both Von Miller and Obo Okoronkwo, the Rams need reinforcements at EDGE rusher. Here are some options, though acquisition through trade may allow them to onboard younger, more high-end talent:
Jadeveon Clowney - Probably the best fit, but also likely the most expensive. He’s first off a great run defender, though I think he could be an effective pass rusher when most of the attention is on Aaron Donald and Leonard Floyd. The Rams have not shown much interest in him previously when he’s been available.
Jerry Hughes - He can generate a lot of pressure, though at this point in his career he’s likely a rotational pass rusher and somewhat of a liability in the run game. LA probably has better options, but Hughes would at least be insurance for the young trio of Justin Hollins, Terrell Lewis, and Chris Garrett.
Arden Key - At just age 25, Key has shown he can rush the passer from a variety of defensive alignments. He’s a below average run defender, though he could maybe fill a situational role where Justin Hollins plays in run heavy downs and distances.
Randy Venie Soares
If Les Snead can figure out the details, he can bring leadership and production to a young and thin unit. At pick #104, it is hard to project finding realistic production in the draft.
2 - What is the weakest position on the LA roster heading into the NFL Draft? Do you have an ideal target in mind as a reinforcement?
In the draft, the Rams could try and pick Tariq Woolen out of UTSA. Woolen is a converted receiver and has only played the position for two years. However, his speed and size could really bring something to the position if he can polish his technique. I realize fans don’t want the front office to take a chance on another risky pick (see Tutu Atwell in 2021) but Woolen’s upside could be very promising as long as he cleans up what he needs to in his development.
Randy Venie Soares
Behind Jalen Ramsey, the cornerback room needs to be infused. Ideal targets/? Mario Goodrich in the third round. Demarri Mathis in the fourth, and/or Dallis Flowers in the fifth. There are many other developmental CB’s, but these three, in these rounds, pop right into my head.
I think the Rams value elite athleticism at EDGE defender, so I doubt they will be able to fill that need in the later rounds of the draft.
Instead, they should make an investment at the tightend position. Tyler Higbee is getting older and oft-injured. Brycen Hopkins is unproven, though he came through during the Super Bowl. Kendall Blanton has been developing nicely, but he’s primarily a blocker.
LA needs a do-it-all tightend that can grow into the heir apparent to Higbee, similar to how Noteboom was groomed to replace Andrew Whitworth. Developmental prospects can be found in the mid-rounds of the draft, and the focus should be on identifying good scheme fits.
Offense - RB. Defense - CB.
An argument is made that with the fire power of the Rams, the running back is still unproven and injury prone. I think L.A. will target a 6th round RB to bolster the RB committee. For the defense, the CB depth is only Ramsey/Long Jr/Rochell. In this league you will need more than three cornerbacks over the course of a 17 game season. Ideal target: Josh Williams, CB, Fayetteville State.