The NFL Draft process continues this week and the NFL Combine gets officially underway. Workouts officially begin on Thursday with offensive line and running backs closing it out on Sunday.
With 10 picks in the upcoming draft, the Los Angeles Rams will certainly be paying attention to the test scores and heavily involved in the interview and medical evaluation process. Here are five things to watch this week in Indianapolis.
1. Will the Rams Trade Jalen Ramsey?
It shouldn’t be seen as a coincidence that the Jalen Ramsey trade rumors and speculation was released to the media last week. The NFL Combine is typically a place where big trades go down or the beginning of trade talks begin.
Is “x” team looking to trade down? Would “y” team be interested in trading player “z”? This is one of the rare moments in which all of the NFL’s general managers are all in the same place all at once. While attention is certainly on the prospects, during downtime is when trade talks can happen.
If the Rams are trying to trade Ramsey and get into the first round to take another high-level cornerback prospect, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a trade happen or serious trade talks begin.
2. Offensive Lineman Explosiveness
NFL teams typically have a type when it comes to players that they draft. The Rams are no different. There’s a reason the NFL Combine is part of the draft process. While film and tape should be a majority of that, teams pay attention to these test scores.
When it comes to offensive linemen, particularly on the interior, the Rams like players with explosiveness. Since 2019, four of the five interior offensive linemen that the Rams have signed, traded for, or drafted have all ranked above the 75th percentile in the broad jump.
Additionally, they all have put up good to great speed scores. While you’re rarely going to watch an offensive linemen run 40 yards and have it matter, the 10 and 20 yard splits are a good measurement for a player’s explosiveness.
As an honorable mention, watch the 3-cone and shuttle drills. The Rams like offensive linemen with quick feet.
3. Edge Rusher Overall Athleticism
If an edge rusher doesn’t test well at the combine, you can most likely toss them out as someone that the Rams will draft. Since 2017, the Rams have drafted one edge rusher with a poor Relative Athletic Score (RAS). Six of the nine edge rushers that they’ve drafted have put up elite scores at the combine. One of those three were Terrell Lewis and he likely would have put up elite scores had he tested.
Again, keep an eye on the explosion drills i.e. the broad jump and vertical jump. Out of the edge rushers that the Rams have drafted since 2017, five of them put up elite explosion scores. The Rams don’t necessarily look at arm-length, weight, or size. However, keep an eye on these drills and it will give you an idea on who they could draft.
4. Cornerback Speed
When the Rams drafted Derion Kendrick last year, it was a bit of a deviation from their typical prototype. Kendrick put up very poor speed scores in the 40-yard dash. It marked the first time since 2015 that Snead had drafted or signed a cornerback with poor speed scores.
Removing Kendrick from the equation, the Rams have drafted cornerbacks with good to elite speed scores from the NFL Combine. Also keep an eye on smaller cornerbacks. The Rams have drafted just one cornerback over six feet since Les Snead has been the Rams general manager.
5. Quarterbacks Throwing
I don’t expect the Rams to be in the market for a top quarterback. If someone like Anthony Richardson were to fall to the bottom of the first round, they might consider it. With that said, many of the top quarterbacks are expected to throw at the combine. That includes Richardson, Bryce Young, Will Levis and C.J. Stroud. Several of the other second-tier quarterbacks will likely throw as well.
Again, the Rams don’t necessarily need a quarterback and won’t be in the market for one of the top-5. However, it wouldn't be surprising to see them take on in the middle to late rounds of the draft. Don’t put all of your attention on the quarterbacks, but keeping a side eye here might not be a bad idea.