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Los Angeles Rams Roster Overview: Defensive Positions & Prospects to Consider

Day 2 & 3 Prospects at DL, Edge, CB, and S for Rams...

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams are almost three weeks away from the 2022 NFL Draft, a time where beloved fans emphatically rejoice or question their team’s draft selections. Love it or Hate it, there is a purpose behind every pick.

For example: Tutu Atwell.

The pick has been met with overwhelming grief from the L.A. fanbase regarding the selection. But, there was intention behind the pick. For the Rams, the selection was to add a vertical speed element to the offense again (i.e. Sammy Watkins, Brandin Cooks) that they missed having in 2020. Another purpose to the pick was the ability to put pressure on defenses with multiple types of weapons.

Again, whether we as fans agree with the pick or not, that was the purpose of the selection in Snead & McVay’s eyes.

With that being said, as Part 2 of the Draft Series for Offseason Roster Overview, I wanted to highlight positions that the Rams are likely to target, why that position, and a few prospects to keep an eye on for Los Angeles to potentially select between Rounds 3-7. If you have not had a chance to read Part 1 of the Draft Series, check it out here.

Let’s start with the positional groups and their perceived need rating (1 being unlikely, 10 being definite).

Quarterback (1.5 / 10)

  • Never will rule out a position, but if the Rams are trying to capitalize on “Run It Back” and with Stafford & Donald at their best, then draft capital on a backup QB doesn’t help a lot.

Running Back (4 / 10)

  • An underrated need considering the injury history for the RB room currently (Akers, Henderson, and Funk all spent time on IR in 2021).

Wide Receiver (2 / 10)

  • The Rams have 6 WRs already for 2022 and that does not count a potential reunion with OBJ, but McVay likes his weapons.

Tight End (3 / 10)

  • Higbee and Hopkins each have 2 years remaining on their deals. The Rams may want a future project because of the time to learn the TE position.

Offensive Tackle (4 / 10)

  • Alaric Jackson and Noteboom each have 2 and 3 years with the team respectively. But Havenstein and Bobby Evans are FAs after 2022.

Offensive Guard (8 / 10)

  • LA lost Corbett and Edwards is a FA after 2022. After that, they are thin on proven guard ability.

Center (1 / 10)

  • With Allen and Shelton retained, the Rams are very unlikely to target a center.

Defensive Line (9 / 10)

  • The Rams lost SJD and Gaines + AShawn are FAs after 2022. The more talent around AD99 the better. Not to mention if he ever decided to hang it up early.

Linebacker (1 / 10)

  • With Bobby Wagner in the fold, the Rams don’t have a need at the position with Wags, Jones, T-Howard, and Rozeboom.

Edge Rusher (6 / 10)

  • The Rams could feel the effect of Von Miller’s departure and feel pressed to draft a player for this group or they could rely on Hollins/Lewis/Garrett like they did before Von Miller ever arrived in LA.

Cornerback (10 / 10)

  • There are only three corners on the roster currently that saw meaningful time in 2021. Adding depth here is paramount in a pass-first league.

Safety (8 / 10)

  • Rapp and Scott are free agents after 2022. Rapp was also a Wade Phillips draft pick and doesn’t exactly fit the style of defense the Rams are about.

Punter (6 / 10)

  • The Rams just signed Riley Dixon, but is he their guy or is he camp competition?

To keep it condensed, we’ll look at the defense first this week…

So what specific guys could the Rams target then if Defensive Line, Edge Rusher, and Secondary are the most glaring “needs”?

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

  1. Zachary Carter, Florida
  2. Matthew Butler, Tennessee
  3. Phidarian Mathis, Alabama
  4. Cody Roscoe, Syracuse*
  5. Jermayne Lole, Arizona State

Cody Roscoe is one of those undersized guys that can fit with the Rams defensive line. Aaron Donald and Greg Gaines have both found success despite being < 6’1”. Roscoe has the strength in him as he put up 33 reps on the bench press in his pro day. Not to mention he tallied 8.5 sacks in his senior year against competition that included: Wake Forest, Clemson, and NC State. He added 12.5 TFLs on top of that.

EDGE RUSHERS

  1. Sam Williams, Ole Miss
  2. DeAngelo Malone, Western Kentucky*
  3. Tyree Johnson, Texas A&M
  4. Isaiah Thomas, Oklahoma
  5. Amar’e Barno, Virginia Tech

DeAngelo Malone proved year in and year out that he can be a disruptor in the backfield. He finished his career at WKU with 60.0 TFL and 34.0 sacks. His quirks: his burst, toughness, and frame allow him to be an option off the edge, but he also provides special teams value.

CORNERBACKS

  1. Martin Emerson, Mississippi State
  2. Mykael Wright, Oregon
  3. Tariq Castro-Fields, Penn State
  4. Derion Kendrick, Georgia
  5. Damarion Williams, Houston*

Damarion Williams also fits the LA brand. He was a 2 year team captain and labeled as reliable, tough, and durable. He isn’t known for his speed, but he has time as a cornerback and safety; understanding zone concepts very well. With the Rams not putting a huge emphasis on speed, but rather reactive and twitch - this is their type of guy for the secondary.

SAFETIES

  1. Nick Cross, Maryland
  2. Verone McKinley III, Oregon
  3. Smoke Monday, Auburn*
  4. Isaiah Polo-Mao, USC
  5. Leon O’Neal Jr, Texas A&M

First off, Smoke Monday just has the name you want from a safety. Second, his versatility makes him the type the Rams covet out of their defensive backs. Being able to play deep or play towards the box as a safety responsible for short and intermediate zones. He’s physical and wants to tackle the ball carrier. With the Rams facing a team like San Francisco, they need versatility and physicality. I think he’s the perfect upgrade over Taylor Rapp to be extra safety on the field in passing situations. He was compared to Jayron Kearse (DAL) who I was high on after Kearse finished his tenure with MIN.

Thanks for reading this week’s piece. Next week, I will address the offensive side of the ball for 2022 draft prospects. Be sure to follow TurfShowTimes on Facebook and Twitter to get the latest Rams content!