The Los Angeles Rams lost a fair amount of talent during the league’s free agency period. While these losses are far from insurmountable, there are still significant questions where reliable contributors once were.
But to a certain extent the Rams expected to lose quality starters, and had the foresight to groom their replacements - sometimes even years before they were needed.
LA’s first pick in this week’s draft isn’t until 104 overall, which means they aren’t drafting for immediate contributors. Any holes in the starting lineup must be filled elsewhere, and it’s mostly ok because the Rams have planned ahead. It’s risky to ask unproven players to step up, but the Rams have already seen these individuals in their building and on the practice field. The same cannot be said about any rookie - even those who merit an early draft selection.
Austin Corbett was a dependable presence at right guard for the past two seasons - and now Tremayne Anchrum, Coleman Shelton, and Bobby Evans will compete to take over duties as the full-time starter. Evans is a member of LA’s 2019 draft class (3rd round) and Anchrum was selected in 2020 (7th round).
Darious Williams was fantastic for the Rams during the 2020 season, and even after a down year in 2021 there are still big shoes to fill. Outside of an ankle injury that sidelined him for about a month last season, Williams has held his own in the secondary. Sure, he’s struggled at times - but he was never a liability.
You don't often see a WR screen taken back for a Pick-6, but Darious Williams read it perfectly and had a walk-in TD.— MyBookie - Bet With The Best (@MyBookie) January 9, 2021
Seattle in trouble. Rams D came to play todaypic.twitter.com/rigH7q0GZn
David Long, Jr. and second-year corner Robert Rochell seem ready to take the next steps in their respective careers. Long can play both on the outside and in the slot, which helps Los Angeles deploy Jalen Ramsey in a multitude of ways to keep offenses on their heels. Rochell is extremely athletic but considered a relatively raw football player - a redshirt year could have bought him the time he needed in order to develop into a starting caliber cornerback.
LA also spent a considerable amount of time courting Von Miller in hopes he would return to the team. In the meantime Obo Okoronkwo, who was reportedly the Rams’ backup plan if they could not re-sign Miller, decided to sign with the Houston Texans. Now the Rams have a significant hole at outside linebacker opposite Leonard Floyd.
While Justin Hollins is a solid player, LA still felt it was worth upgrading over him by trading for Miller. Terrell Lewis is entering his third year with the team, though he has a chronic knee issue that limits his availability. Second-year player Chris Garrett could emerge as situational pass rusher after flashing during the 2021 preseason. This trio could also benefit from a veteran presence, and the Rams should consider bringing in a free agent who can contribute on a rotational basis.
Rams rookie Chris Garrett (252 overall out of Concordia) with a 2Q to remember:— J.B. Long (@JB_Long) August 22, 2021
2 tipped passes - 1 leading to an INT
1 strip sack
1 shared sack
1 additional QB hit
As @DMarcoFarr1 pointed out, noteworthy that he did it from the right edge (opposite Leonard Floyd's side). pic.twitter.com/bC42WRO40J
The Rams have three significant holes in their starting lineup based on free agent departures. Expect the team’s answers to these holes to come from players already on the roster - not from the individuals they select in the upcoming draft.