The Los Angeles Rams made the expected move of signing inside linebacker Bobby Wagner on Thursday. I predicted that Wagner could sign a contract that would ultimately be close to a two-year, $25 million deal and his five-year, $50 million pact with the Rams may end up looking more like that projection when is all said and done.
But regardless of what the Rams look like in 2024, signing Wagner solidifies a starting inside linebacker position next to Ernest Jones for next season.
That fits one of L.A.’s starting needs before the draft and even if Les Snead doesn’t have his original first, second, and third round picks, the Rams will be busy on day three and signing players when the draft is over. I would not expect Snead to find any Week 1 starters, or even key role players, from the 2022 draft. L.A. could field a full starting offense and defense and similar to the 2021 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, will not look much worse for wear the season after winning the Super Bowl.
However, there are some interesting positions and roles currently up for grabs.
WR3 - Van Jefferson, Tutu Atwell, or other?
Well, it’s not going to be Odell Beckham Jr. At least, not in Week 1. It is not probable that the Rams will draft a receiver and have him contributing significant snaps as a rookie. That hasn’t happened since Cooper Kupp in 2017. I wouldn’t count on the Rams coming across another Cooper Kupp that easily.
Ben Skowronek, J.J. Koski, Landon Akers, and Brandon Powell are also currently on the roster. I would expect L.A. to draft a receiver, maybe as soon as round four. There are reports that this draft class could be so deep at the position that as many as 30 rookie receivers could contribute on some level in 2022.
I went more in-depth on the LA Rams’ depth chart, roster needs, and available free agents at those positions in a new screenshare video for Turf Show Times.
RB - Who replaces Darrell Henderson in 2023?
From the GM who brought you “Todd Gurley” and “Darrell Henderson” and “Cam Akers” and “trade a fourth for Sony Michel”... I say don’t be surprised if the Rams’ first pick this year is a running back.
RG3 - No, not the quarterback
Will it be a competition at right guard between Coleman Shelton, Tremayne Anchrum, and Bobby Evans? Is anyone else added to the mix? I don’t expect the Rams to be that focused on offensive line in the draft this year. This has been the case in 2020 and 2021, and it wouldn’t shock me if Sean McVay trusts the players already on the roster to battle it out. Not ruling out offensive line as the first pick or any of the “early” picks, I just don’t think it’s as much of a priority for Snead and McVay as it is for fans.
However, if the right names fall in the draft, then the Rams could go o-line heavy.
CB - David Long is a free agent and potentially a 2022 starter
As outlined in the video above, cornerback may be the most “rich” position left in free agency, but that’s only a relative term. There are a lot of veteran options on the market. Yet talent at the position is so scarce as compared to wide receiver that many of the big names like Stephon Gilmore or Chris Harris, aren’t as coveted as they once were, even as recently as a year ago.
With Long and Robert Rochell competing against the likes of Grant Haley and Kareem Orr, there should be more names added to the mix here too. But maybe Orr wins a starting gig in training camp and preseason. L.A. might really like some of their developmental projects from last year.
P - Corey Bojorquez is out there!