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Rams loss to Ravens exposed 2 big needs on L.A. roster

While the Rams got great contributions from some young players, others were exposed in Baltimore

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams were not expected to be able to push teams like the Baltimore Ravens to the brink of defeat when Les Snead practically dismantled the roster in the offseason, save the franchise’s three big stars. Yet that’s what happened in Week 14 and the Rams had the Ravens right where they wanted them prior to losing in overtime, largely thanks to the performances of some savvy moves by Snead in the offseason. Now it’s time for Snead to keep filling out his roster with upgrades at certain positions and perhaps no weaknesses were more exposed in Baltimore than the ones at offensive tackle and safety.

The Rams need to find upgrades at those positions in free agency and the draft in 2024.

As was pointed out by comments in the Turf Show Times community like these ones, the Rams may need two new safeties and two new offensive tackles when the 2024 season begins.

BrandonHansen
One more thing, let us not forget this front office PAID Joe Noteboom to be a LT. He enters the game as a RT and is the primary reason the offense fell apart for the majority of the second half. I’ve never seen a player his size play such soft football. Not to mention the high injury potential every time he touches the grass. Heads should roll for paying Noteboom over other players we could’ve kept. Gross.
CDNGolfer
This is exactly the game we needed to see. Close but no cigar.
It clearly illustrates that a lot of the perceived needs that were being swept under the rug in victories over weak teams, are still actual needs.
Two new tackles please with Jackson as depth.
An almost complete redo of the defensive backfield. Kendricks is getting it and Spoon....dunno.
Hoecht continues to grow so edge, I think, becomes less of a 'need'.
I like Robinson's contributions in the passing game, but some of his run blocking? A liability in this scheme.
My wish list?
Mike Evans
Resign Dotson for what he's worth.
Left tackle of the stud variety
Right tackle better than Jackson (I'm assuming Noteboom is gone)
An assortment of dbs. (Are safeties considered DB's?) at least 4 in the draft. Possibly a proven FA.
An Edge, drafted or bought, that compliments what we have.
BrandonHansen
Champ has been sayin this and he's spot on. Our safeties have NEGATIVE closing speed. It kills us in coverage and in run support sideline to sideline. I don't think we have a single safety who runs better than a 4.6 at this point. It's bad and it would be priority #1 or #2 for me in offseason.

What can the Rams do to find help at these positions like they were able to find with low-cost acquisitions in the past couple of offseasons?

For example, L.A. has shored up the right guard position by making a day three pick swap with the Steelers, so long as they are able to re-sign Kevin Dotson. The Rams got another great performance, except for a drop, by fifth round rookie Puka Nacua. L.A.s’ 2022 fifth round pick, Kyren Williams, rushed for 114 more yards to put on his resume. Another fifth round rookie, tight end Davis Allen, scored his first career touchdown and had 50 yards in place of an injured Tyler Higbee. The other guard position should be manned for a decade by Steve Avila, at this pace.

So where are the Rams perhaps at their weakest? We saw it against the Ravens as tackles A.J. Jackson and Joe Noteboom struggled to protect Matthew Stafford and company (Rob Havenstein was injured) and that is most likely the position that L.A. will want to target in the first round.

A first round tackle is much more likely than a first round safety and if Havenstein is able to return for another year, at least, then he can continue to man the right side. The Rams should cut Noteboom and save $5 million.

At safety, there should be plenty of free agent options available and this time the team shouldn’t wait until plucking John Johnson III from no man’s land after all the desirable options are scooped up. The Rams have Russ Yeast, Jordan Fuller, and Johnson right now. They should be aggressive to find a new starter or two, something that L.A. hasn’t been with Snead as the GM. The Rams tend to go cheap and conservative at safety with options like Taylor Rapp and Nick Scott, but Rapp was a second round pick.

It’s possible the L.A. Rams go tackle and then safety with their first two picks in 2024, but going with two tackles couldn’t hurt.

The Rams saw a close look at a team that has always had great safety play. The Ravens lost recent first round pick Kyle Hamilton midway through the game, but he and Geno Stone have been among the best duos in the NFL. The Ravens gave up 31 points to the Rams, the second-highest total they’ve allowed all year, but have otherwise been a shutdown defense for most of the season.

The Rams have out-done what most expected of their defense. Now it’s clear, they need to be better.