The Los Angeles Rams hold the 36th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Sitting at 36 puts them in a bit of an awkward spot. They won’t necessarily be in a place to select first round talent, but they’ll also be in a spot where they will have the option to trade back. While a trade back is more likely, given that the Rams need to add more high-end talent to the roster, a trade-up shouldn’t be completely out of consideration.
Snead and co. shouldn’t trade up just for anybody, but there are a handful of players where if they are available, the team should consider moving up. Here are five of those players that the Rams should be keeping an eye on in the later stages of the first round.
1. QB Anthony Richardson, Florida
Do the Rams need a quarterback? Not particularly.
However, did the Baltimore Ravens need a quarterback when they traded up from 52 to take Lamar Jackson at the end of the first round. Joe Flacco had just had another respectable season in the Ravens offense.
Did the Kansas City Chiefs need a quarterback when they traded up to take Patrick Mahomes? Alex Smith had just thrown for 3500 yards and led the Chiefs to an 11-4 record as the starter.
Sometimes when you don’t need a quarterback is the best time to take a quarterback. Matthew Stafford is one more injury-plagued season away from possibly retiring. Drafting Anthony Richardson would allow him to sit behind Stafford for a year or two as he develops.
Having that fifth year rookie option on a quarterback is extremely important. The Rams use the rest of this window to try to win and then expedite their rebuild with a rookie quarterback already in place.
Anthony Richardson is a video game. pic.twitter.com/g7P1c3FI93— uSTADIUM (@uSTADIUM) February 23, 2023
Richardson may not be the most complete prospect, but it could be argued that he has the highest upside among the quarterbacks in this class. There’s a chance that he goes inside the top-20, but if he falls to the 25 to 27 range, the Rams should be exploring what it would take to move up.
2. iOL O’Cyrus Torrence, Florida
Moving up for an interior offensive lineman may not make a lot of sense from a position value standpoint. However, the Rams offensive line may currently be in a position where taking a dominant interior offensive lineman, and trading up for one, makes some sense.
Torrence is someone who could shift the direction of the Rams offensive line. With no stability on the interior, Torrence would provide exactly that. While the Rams select early in the second round, it’s unlikely that a guard of Torrence’s caliber is still available when they are on the clock.
Guard O’Cyrus Torrence— Cover 1 (@Cover1) January 1, 2023
Gets hand leverage for feed blocks
Pries holes open w/ torque
DRIVER and finisher
Good balance in run game
A wall once he leverages his gap
STRONG hands and placement
Stymies stunts w/ length and pop in his handspic.twitter.com/W97E2dVWjW
It’s very possible that Torrence falls to 25 and if he get into that 25-28 range, trading up for a dominant guard prospect would be something that would have to be considered.
3. WR Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee
Similar to quarterback, it’s hard to argue wide receiver as one of the top needs for the Rams. While they do need some wide receiver depth, most would rank offensive line and edge rusher above it when it comes to the Rams’ needs this offseason.
There may not be a dominant clear-cut top wide receiver in this class, however a lot of value will be found at the position in the middle-late first round and the second round. If Hyatt is there in the later stages, it might be hard to McVay to stand pat.
Much like the quarterback position, it’s growing more and more important to have that fifth year option on rookie wide receivers. Hyatt would be the perfect compliment to Cooper Kupp. He’s an exceptional deep threat, explosive, and his route-running is among the most crisp in the class.
Jalin Hyatt is slowly becoming one of my favorite players in this year’s draft— Max Loeb (@loebsleads) February 23, 2023
Effortless speed. pic.twitter.com/U4S9XxsBR2
College defensive backs were terrified of Hyatt’s speed. He only had one reception against press coverage in 2022 and that’s because defenses rarely came up and played him tight. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein compared Hyatt to DeSean Jackson. At 6’0, 185-lbs, Hyatt is the speedster and field stretch that the Rams offense currently lacks.
4. TE Dalton Kincaid, Utah
It’s hard to see the Rams trading up into the first round for a tight end. However, if there is one tight end that is worth it, it’s probably Dalton Kincaid. The Rams need more options in the passing game and need to start thinking about life after Tyler Higbee. Adding another tight end also allows them to be more personnel versatile.
Dalton Kincaid has top notch hand-eye coordination and is a fluid mover in space who consistently picks up yards after the catch. Just an overall very good athlete. pic.twitter.com/Zy8sKcKEgg— Nate Tice (@Nate_Tice) February 22, 2023
Kincaid is an exceptional route-runner and is a tight end that can stretch the field vertically down the seam. His size and physicality make him a legitimate threat in the red zone and someone who can win 50-50 jump-balls. This is an area in which the Rams have attempted to use Allen Robinson.
The Utah tight end needs to improve as a blocker, but as a receiving threat, he’s one of the best tight ends in the class. If Kincaid is available late in the first round, he’d give the Rams something to think about
5. CB Joey Porter Jr.
Joey Porter Jr.’s range in mock drafts is all over the place. There are some that have him going inside the top-10 and as high as sixth overall to the Detroit Lions. There are others that have him falling in the 16-21 range.
With how deep this class is at cornerback, it wouldn’t be surprising to see teams address other positions early on with the idea that they can get a starting level cornerback early on in the draft. That’s especially the case when you consider that this class doesn’t have a Patrick Surtain or Sauce Gardner.
Throwback to Joey Porter Jr vs Garrett Wilson/Chris Olave (2021) pic.twitter.com/1Ckd4K1MeB— James Foster (@NoFlagsFilm) February 23, 2023
Still, there are few cornerbacks in this class with the upside and pedigree of Porter Jr. His length, footwork, physicality and football IQ is unmatched in this class. Porter Jr. could fall in the draft and there is going to be a team that will be very happy when he does.