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Rams 2023 draft: Is Broderick Jones worth trading up for?

A left tackle to save Matthew Stafford?

SEC Championship - LSU v Georgia Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

When Georgia plays TCU on Monday, a number of players will be competing to be the rare college football athlete who has won two national championships. Quarterback Stetson Bennett and defensive tackle Jalen Carter will obviously be two of the most notable—Bennett because of the position he plays and Carter because he’s projected as a top-five pick—but there is clearly quite a lot of talent on Georgia’s roster that will be playing on Sunday.

One name that has seen his stock rise the most is left tackle Broderick Jones. Projected as more of a day two pick going into the season after playing in 434 snaps as a sophomore, Jones is solidifying his resume as a first rounder and he might even work his way into being the top left tackle in the entire draft.

A mock on Thursday by DraftWire’s Luke Easterling projected Jones as the 15th overall pick. A website called Fantasy Pros projected him 13th overall. Both had Jones going after Northwestern’s Peter Skoronski and Ohio State’s Paris Johnson, but you really don’t have to go that far to find people who say that Jones will be the best overall tackle in the class and the margin between him and the other top-ranked tackles is very close.

It is still possible, however, that Broderick Jones does slip out of the top-20 picks and in closer striking distance of the Los Angeles Rams in round two. If not Jones, then maybe one of the other top-ranked tackles. Is that a consideration that Les Snead should make after so many years of ignoring offensive line prospects early in the draft?

The Rams have Joseph Noteboom under contract for 2023 and 2024, but I still believe he could better serve as a trade chip. A.J. Jackson is capable, but the former undrafted free agent remains untested for more than a cup of coffee and won’t have the ceiling of someone like Broderick Jones or Peter Skoronski.

The addition of Andrew Whitworth in 2017 was hugely impactful on the Rams and it was clear that L.A.’s offensive line was an issue the year after he retired, and in more ways than just injuries. Should the Rams consider trading up for someone like Jones if he’s in striking distance?

This season, it was reported that Broderick Jones allowed zero sacks over 805 snaps at left tackle and just eight QB hurries while playing in the SEC.

The strengths listed at NFLDraftBuzz:

  • Has strong arms and a powerful grip, and Jones displays the core strength and leg drive that allow him to create movement at the line of scrimmage.
  • An agile mover who puts his length to good use, using his hands aggressively and landing solid initial punches. Jones can move to the second level as a run blocker, with the coordination and balance to hit moving targets.
  • Cerebral player, quick to react to twists and stunts up front, and he shows an excellent understanding of angles when moving out as a run blocker.
  • Shows a good feel for combo blocks, and he displays good quickness and flexibility when moving to the second level, capable of sealing the back side on reach blocks
  • In the run game, he explodes off the line of scrimmage and consistently gets out to the second level to do damage.

What would it take to trade up into the top-25 picks?

The Rams could be picking around 35th overall if they lose to the Seahawks in the season finale. Moving up to 22, for example, may not cost them a future first round pick. So I wouldn’t get quite so worried about that happening. In 2022, the Jets traded picks 35, 69, and 163 to the Titans for picks 26 and 101.

The Rams could have as many as four sixth round picks and multiple fifth round picks after the compensatory announcements. Perhaps Snead could move up from 35 to 20 by including his third round pick and a day three pick, getting back another day three pick in return. It may seem like a lot to give up a third, but consider how many third round picks that Les Snead has had to release recently because of poor play.

Broderick Jones would be the best rookie prospect that the Rams have had since Jared Goff in 2016. He’d also fill an important need: Protecting the franchise quarterback, something that L.A. could not do this year. Even if the Rams need to trade inside of the top-20, if Jones is there, it could be worth it.