The Los Angeles Rams are in the thick of the NFL Playoff hunt, but we are also in the middle of college bowl season. While more players have been opting out this year, it’s still been a good opportunity for some to showcase their talent. With bowl games in full force, so are mock drafts.
Pro Football Network’s Ian Cummings released his latest 7-round mock draft on Saturday and had the Rams going defense heavy. Cummings’ mock draft does not include compensatory picks as they are not official. With the 23rd overall pick, Cummings has the Rams taking Alabama cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry. Here’s what he said about the pick,
“Kool-Aid McKinstry was the preliminary CB1 across the consensus in the 2024 NFL Draft, and he still has merit as a first-round prospect. At 6’1″, 195 pounds, with fast feet, disciplined technique, length and physicality, and ball skills, he can be an impact starter.”
McKinstry will likely be a popular pick for the Rams this draft season. There’s no doubt that they need help at the cornerback position and McKinstry will be one of the top players available at the position. Derion Kendrick has been a liability while Cobie Durant is inconsistent. Ahkello Witherspoon is also a free agent. McKinstry would give the Rams a true number one cornerback on the outside.
In this mock draft, the Rams passed on edge rusher Jared Verse at 23 as well as Washington tackle Troy Fautanu and Houston tackle Patrick Paul who could also be options.
Cummings had the Rams addressing the secondary with their third-round pick as well. With the 54th pick, the Rams took safety Beau Brade from Maryland. Los Angeles stayed with the defensive theme with the 85th overall pick, taking edge rusher J.T. Tuimoloau from Ohio State. Said Cummings,
“Beau Brade has the athleticism, all-around versatility, and tone-setting tenacity to be an asset for the Rams’ safety room at 6’1″, 210 pounds...Bend limitations are a concern for J.T. Tuimoloau, but his speed-to-power at 6’4″, 277 pounds can be overwhelming from outside alignments.”
Defense will likely be a point of emphasis for the Rams this offseason after not spending on the unit at all this past offseason. The second-round seems high for a safety when it comes to Les Snead. With that said, there’s no doubt that they need one. Jordan Fuller and John Johnson III are both free agents. Quentin Lake is the only player that has shown some starting potential.
While the Rams drafted three edge players last April, it wouldn’t be surprising if they drafted another one on day one or two of the draft. They will likely try to sign one, but drafting an edge rusher in the third-round as a rotational player wouldn’t be a bad idea.
Cummings has the Rams wrapping up their draft with help at linebacker, tackle, and kicker.
- 144 - Tyrice Knight, LB, UTEP
- 147 - Javon Foster, OT, Missouri
- 175 - Joshua Karty, K, Stanford
Foster is an intriguing option at tackle, especially if the Rams move on from Joe Noteboom. The Missouri tackle performed well in the Cotton Bowl and could be a player with some upside.
#Missouri LT Javon Foster held his own against talented Ohio State pass rusher J.T. Tuimoloau in last night’s Cotton Bowl. JTT was held to only a few pressures when matched up with Foster.— Devin Jackson (@RealD_Jackson) December 30, 2023
Really like Foster’s skillset and length; should garner big attention at Senior Bowl. pic.twitter.com/nuofHe5UAI
It’s a long road between now and the draft, but it will sneak up quickly. As the Rams edge their way to the postseason, it’s interesting to see how their pool changes not only in terms of what prospects are available, but also how their needs change.