Sometimes this league is harsh. Actually, the majority of the time the NFL is harsh. The Rams have faced that. Teamrankings.com has a team luck metric and the Rams are currently the 9th-most unlucky team in the league.
After losing five games, four of which the Rams were in, the levy broke this past week in Dallas and in a big 43-20 way. That has since left fans wondering if too much was made about this season early on and if it’s time to tank the season.
I am absolutely against any sort of tanking as I still believe in this team through and through but let’s have some fun and I’ll give you a look into my thoughts on what the Rams should do if they were asked to pick 10th in the NFL Draft tomorrow.
Round 1, 10th Overall Selection: OT Taliese Fuaga, Oregon State
The 6-foot-6, 334 pounder starts at right tackle currently for the Oregon State Beavers and boy oh boy is he a joy to watch on tape. Fuaga is an elite athlete at the tackle spot, he’s going to be very noticeable any time you watch Oregon State and he’s going to show you the mauler side to his game.
Currently, some may look at Fuaga as a name that is a reach. He’s not Joe Alt from Notre Dame or Fashanu from Penn State. However, I think when the combine gets here and the draft process in general, teams are going to fall in love with Fuaga that he will be picked in this range.
The rationale here for the Rams is that they need a bookend left tackle. Anyone who has followed my coverage over on YouTube or my tweets will know where I stand right now on the Rams future. While many will disagree with not selecting a quarterback here, I believe it is time for the Rams to get their Orlando Pace of the offense. There simply isn’t a hefty free agency class at the left tackle spot, you could maybe bring in Garret Bolles who is in his 30’s or try and move Jonah Williams over from right tackle but at that money that’s a decent sized risk.
I love this fit for the Rams because right now I trust the Rams to take tools like the one’s Fuaga has and develop him into an absolute star. Fuaga has elite traits, he’s very good in pass protection and he’s an absolute force in the run game. Fuaga displays the quick feet needed to play the position and while he’s not currently playing left tackle, I believe his athleticism is going to make his transition to the blind side much easier than others.
To me, the idea of grabbing a franchise left tackle, next to a franchise left guard, signing Kevin Dotson back next season and having Havenstein at right tackle leads to a potential top five offensive line. The center spot could use some work but we’ll get to that. Either way, the Rams taking a left tackle benefits Matthew Stafford now but the future Rams franchise quarterback later.
Round 2, 42nd Overall Selection: QB Shedeur Sanders, Colorado
Deion Sanders’ star son Shedeur is more than just part of the bloodline. He’s not just a big name, the guy can play. He’s a natural-born leader, a workhorse and an athlete. Shedeur has a feel for the game of football and it has allowed him to go from Jackson State where he went undefeated and move to Colorado where he’s had to go against some top notch competition and has flashed the NFL potential in doing so.
Sanders is not a project but he’s not close to a finished product. The feeling is that he could be the top QB in 2025 if he chose to back to school and he might do that. However, right now I think Shedeur would test the draft waters if he was getting high second round and late first round buzz. His dad might not want him to or like it but at the end of the day, this is Shedeur’s decision to make.
Sanders has the arm-strength you want, the deep ball is good enough for coaches to get a hold of him in the NFL and develop further and he has real pocket presence that transcends most college quarterbacks. He’s a well-coached player right now who predominantly operates from the shotgun. He will definitely need to gain the experience working in an NFL offense but it’s definitely something he should be able to do when the time comes.
The most concerning things with Sanders right now are his throwing mechanics. Currently, he doesn’t drive the ball enough using his legs, his footwork is off and he has some concerns about ball security. One thing I will say I like about Sanders is that he can run but he focuses on trying to push the ball through the air which keeps him out of harms way.
The rationale here for the Rams is that Matthew Stafford has another two years after this year left if everything goes according to plan. You don’t want to ignore the quarterback position this draft but you want to first make sure you get your left tackle of the future. Since we already did that in the first round, I like the Sanders pick here as someone who can sit until 2025 or 2026 and learn from behind Stafford. Sanders will be 22 in 2024 which makes him a great option to sit and develop long term. Watching Sean McVay get to develop his own quarterback would be great and I think given the chance with everything around him, Shedeur could succeed in Los Angeles.
Round 3, 74th Overall Selection: C Sedrick Van Pran, Georgia
The Rams already drafted Stetson Bennett and Warren McClendon from the Georgia two-time National Champion offense so why not add another? Sedrick Van Pran is the center for this Georgia Bulldogs squad and is widely regarded as the top center in the draft right now. He has allowed just one sack on 1,166 snaps in his career. Van Pran is good in the run game but he excels as a pass protector.
The Rams currently have Brian Allen and Coleman Shelton for next season at center but I believe it might be time to move on and find their guy in the middle. I believe Van Pran has the smarts and feel for the position to work in any blocking scheme effectively. This would be a statement moving forward for the Rams if they added Van Pran alongside Fuaga. These are two maulers, Fuaga is an elite athlete and Van Pran is a very solid athlete. The Rams moving forward could set themselves up for a nice run with a top notch offensive line especially with the coaching staff the Rams have. This would be the projected offensive line with these moves and a re-signing of Kevin Dotson.
LT Taliese Fuaga
LG Steve Avila
C Sedrick Van Pran
RG Kevin Dotson
RT Rob Havenstein
The Rams can address positions such as cornerback and edge defender in free agency. The team is pretty set for 2024 with a bunch of young players that are proving to be better than advertised and a big one who fits under that bill is Puka Nacua. Due to the emergence of players like him and Byron Young as well as Kobie Turner and others, the Rams can focus on adding top tier free agents with the increased cap space and focus more on tackling positions of need through the draft that don’t have the same market in free agency.
Just imagine if the Rams were able to bring in an edge defender like Josh Uche long-term alongside Byron Young next to a defensive line headlined by Aaron Donald, Kobie Turner and Bobby Brown III. Now, what if the Rams brought back Ahkello Witherspoon and in addition used some of their big increase in cap to bring in a young star cornerback alongside him in Jaylon Johnson? These are the types of things the Rams could do if they focused on the right approach with their cap. They didn’t pay $75 million to players not on the roster for no reason after all.