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2022 NFL Draft Los Angeles Rams superlatives

Who’s most likely to contribute in 2022, and the least likely to pan out?

NFL: Super Bowl LVI-Los Angeles Rams Championship Parade Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams have been a bow on the 2022 draft class, and they’ve selected eight prospects that will try and help the team defend its Super Bowl title.

The Rams had traded their first round selection to the Detroit Lions as part of the Matthew Stafford trade, and the team’s second and third rounders went to Denver Broncos in order to rent Von Miller for half a season. As they have in recent drafts, Los Angeles was primary focuses on adding talent in the later rounds. The Rams have had success identifying contributors from unheralded prospects, but realistically these are far less than fifty-fifty propositions.

Which selection is the most likely to contribute right away, and which prospect is the least likely to pan out? Let’s dive into some superlatives surrounding LA’s 2022 draft class:

Who is the most likely to contribute in 2022?:

The answer seems to be offensive guard Logan Bruss, who was selected from Wisconsin late in the third round. Sean McVay and Les Snead indicated during their press conference as the draft was wrapping up on Friday night that they expect Bruss to compete at right guard from the jump.

If Bruss earns the starting job, the Rams OL would feature three alums from Wisconsin - including veterans Rob Havenstein and David Edwards.

Which pick is the least likely to pan out?:

It’s important to understand that where the Rams draft, most prospects selected will not result in long-time NFL starters - and it’s even rarer to find star-caliber players such as Jordan Fuller (former sixth rounder in 2020).

With that said, it’s difficult to be optimistic surrounding rookie running back Kyren Williams from Notre Dame - and it has nothing to do with the individual player.

The Rams spent a sixth round selection on Tennessee runner John Kelly - and he was initially viewed as a versatile pass catcher and runner with good balance. Kelly never carved out a role with the Rams, and he eventually moved on to the Cleveland Browns.

LA also selected Jake Funk from Maryland in the seventh round of the 2021 NFL Draft, and there was a surprising amount of optimism - considering where he was drafted - surrounding Funk entering last season. While he suffered a significant injury, it never seemed the team was intent on involving Funk in the offense during his rookie year.

So we’ve seen the story before: the Rams see a potential role for a young, pass-catching running back, but then Sean McVay is hesitant to put a rookie on the field. With Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson already in place as a solid 1-2 punch in 2022, it seems Williams will be competing against Funk for a depth position and limited playing time behind the veteran running backs.

The best LA Ram five years from now:

Daniel Hardy figures to be a developmental edge rusher that the Rams selected in the seventh round from Montana State.

Hardy has a promising athletic profile and seems explosive at times rushing the passer. While it’ll be tough for him to earn playing time in 2022 behind Justin Hollins, Terrell Lewis, and Chris Garrett, there is always room for players who have a niche for getting after the quarterback. Edge defender is one of the few positions where it’s almost a requirement to be a top-level athlete, and Hardy seemingly has already checked that box.

It’s fair to view Hardy as a project, but it’s possible he’s the most productive member of this draft class five years from now.

Which selection represented the best value for LA?:

In order to maximize the value and star-level play from Jalen Ramsey, the Rams must have flexible players in the secondary that can play both inside and outside. Troy Hill, who the team traded for during the draft, and David Long, Jr. are both able to play in the slot and on the boundary.

LA also selected Decobie Durant from South Carolina State in the fourth round Saturday, and he also can play both inside and out. While Durant is a bit undersized at 5’9, 180 lbs., he has reportedly put on a notable amount of weight in recent years and has the potential to add more moving forward. Durant was named the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) defensive player of the year in 2021 and recorded 12 interceptions during his college career.

The Rams have gotten solid play from undersized corners in the past, such as Long and Darious Williams, so Durant could become an important contributor in the secondary sooner than later.