With the Los Angeles Rams in the thick of the NFC playoff race, the focus has been less on the draft and more on postseason scenarios. That shift in focus over the past month is fair, but the NFL Draft is still happening in four months and as the Rams keep winning, their pool of first-round draft prospects changes.
The Athletic’s Nate Tice who also writes for Yahoo Sports released his first mock draft of the season on Thursday. Selecting 23rd overall, Tice has the Rams selecting a playmaker at cornerback to finally replace the hole left by Jalen Ramsey. With the 23rd overall pick, the Rams selected cornerback Quinyon Mitchell from Toledo. Here’s what Tice had to say,
“The Rams still have Aaron Donald, but their defense has punched far above its weight in 2023. General manager Les Snead nailed several draft picks on defense with linebacker Byron Young and nose tackle Kobie Turner both playing well as rookies. But the Rams’ cornerbacks, despite their feisty play, can still get picked at. Mitchell brings a potential gamebreaker on the backend. He is an outstanding athlete who makes plays with his burst and ball skills. Mitchell plays in the MAC, but his talent and dominant play will make him a riser this draft cycle.”
4 Ints in one game! Quinyon Mitchell! pic.twitter.com/m7k7te3TD8— WeAreDBnation (@WeAreDBNation1) March 13, 2023
Cornerback will be a top position of need for the Rams this offseason. Unless Jaylon Johnson from the Chicago Bears hits the free agent market, there won’t be a big name available in free agency. In all likelihood, this is a position that general manager Les Snead and co. will need to address during the draft.
Mitchell would bring the Rams a playmaker on the backend which is something that they desperately need. Ahkello Witherspoon leads the team in interceptions, but is also set to be a free agent. The Rams like cornerbacks with ball skills and ball production in college. Mitchell has six interceptions and 37 pass breakups over the past two years.
The Toledo cornerback is a great fit for the Rams and what they typically look for in their cornerbacks. There’s a very good chance that Mitchell ends up making my “Snead’s Snacks” list this draft season. He brings potential 4.3 speed which the Rams typically like in their cornerbacks and also has the ability to line up outside or in the slot. At 6’0, 200-lbs., he’s not too big, but also gives the Rams cornerback room some size which is something that they currently lack.
There will be some concerns about the talent level that Mitchell faced in the MAC. Last year against Ohio State, he gave up four receptions on four targets and a touchdown. The Senior Bowl will be important for him in February.
With just two weeks left to go in the season, the Rams pass defense, especially on the boundary opposite of Witherspoon remains a liability. It will be interesting to see how Snead prioritizes the position this offseason. Toledo’s Quinyon Mitchell could certainly be an option.