The Los Angeles Rams have put a bow on the 2022 NFL Draft after selecting eight prospects.
After trading their first round selection to the Detroit Lions as part of the package to acquire Matthew Stafford and trading their second and third round picks for a half-season rental of Von Miller, the Rams targeted players in the later rounds of the draft.
So how do the newest members of the Rams impact the depth chart and upcoming training camp battles? Let’s dive into some winners and losers now that the draft class of 2022 has been finalized.
John Wolford & Bryce Perkins, QB
LA has not drafted a quarterback since Sean McVay was hired as head coach in 2017. The team has still played a part in developing passers that are still active elsewhere - such as Brandon Allen (Bengals) and Sean Mannion (Vikings).
Wolford seems cemented in the backup quarterback role after not participating in last year’s preseason, but there’s a chance Perkins could give him some competition.
Knowing how other teams value McVay’s assistant coaches, why hasn’t LA taken a late round flier on a developmental quarterback in hopes of trading them away for premium capital? Could an assistant coach that takes an offensive coordinator or head coaching role elsewhere be willing to trade for a known commodity that they have experience working with?
While it’s a mild surprise the Rams did not draft a quarterback, it is certainly a positive development for both Wolford and Perkins.
Riley Dixon, P
Punters started coming off the board in the fourth round - before the Rams even made their second selection. While the team was expected to bring in competition for Dixon, the draft just didn’t fall that way.
LA was smart to continue selecting position players and not make a desperation play for a punter.
While there is still plenty of time to bring in more competition, Dixon should be the odds on favorite to be the team’s punter in Week 1.
Jake Funk, RB
With Darrell Henderson in a contract year and Cam Akers just a year removed from a significant injury, it was probable for the Rams to select a running back in the draft - the question was how early they would make an investment.
LA traded up in the fifth round to select Kyren Williams from Notre Dame. Williams excels in the passing game and is considered one of the better pass blockers in the draft, which could be an ability that helps him get on the field sooner than later.
With that said, Funk has a year of experience in this offense and the team was excited about his ability last season. The second-year running back is still in position to be the primary backup to the dynamic duo of Akers and Henderson.
Jake Funk with a nice burst pic.twitter.com/DVsSAAY1mM— Wes (@Sleyson80) August 22, 2021
Kendall Blanton & Brycen Hopkins, TE
Outside of signing undrafted free agents (which are not yet finalized), the Rams did not invest in the tight end position during draft weekend.
Both Blanton and Hopkins stepped up during the playoffs when needed. With Johnny Mundt leaving in free agency and veteran Tyler Higbee suffering injuries in recent seasons, the young tight ends will have plenty of opportunities to make an impact in 2022.
Tutu Atwell, Jacob Harris, Ben Skowronek; WR
Even if the Rams are able to re-sign veteran playmaker Odell Beckham, Jr., there will still be plenty of chances for the fourth receiver in the LA offense.
Los Angeles did not make an investment in the receiver position on draft day, which means that Atwell, Harris, and Skowronek will compete for playing time. While all three of these individuals play the same position, they have very different skill sets. Each could provide useful at times for the 2022 offense.
I love being counted out it be your own fans and family but it only makes me goes harder to prove you clowns wrong— Tutu Atwell Jr (@tutuatwell) March 22, 2022
Coleman Shelton, Tremayne Anchrum, Bobby Evans; OG
General manager Les Snead indicated that he expects third round selection Logan Bruss to compete for the starting job at right guard.
While the winner will be decided during training camp, the path has certainly become less clear for Shelton, Anchrum, and Evans.
Evans has especially fallen out of favor with the coaching staff after entering 2021 penciled in as the starting right guard. Will the former third round selection even make the roster in 2022?
David Long, Jr. & Robert Rochell, CB
Perhaps the team’s most impactful move of the draft was to trade a fifth round selection in 2023 to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for veteran corner Troy Hill. Hill is reunited with the Rams after spending the better part of six seasons with the team.
Hill represents insurance in case the development of Long and Rochell do not go as planned, and he steps in as an immediate starter. The young corners will compete for playing time on the outside, though Long is entering a contract year and could have something to prove.
LA also drafted corners Decobie Durant and Derion Kendrick, but it’s unlikely they still steal much time away from Long and Rochell early in the year.
Terrell Burgess, DB
The Rams drafted two safeties that slot in behind starters Jordan Fuller, Nick Scott, and Taylor Rapp on the depth chart. While Burgess is a former third round selection that suffered a significant season-ending injury as a rookie, he played sparingly last year.
With Quentin Lake and Russ Yeast joining the team, is there room for Burgess? Does the coaching staff have a plan for the young safety?
Bears running a mesh-sit-wheel concept and Terrell Burgess is tasked with covering one of the most elusive players ever in the NFL in Cordarrelle Patterson coming out the backfield (wheel).— Sosa Kremenjas (@QBsMVP) March 19, 2021
Burgess is gonna be a *great* one. pic.twitter.com/XH84IEs6vF