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Game Planning the Draft: Will Rams target special teams in round 7?

Will Rams find special teams aces in the seventh round of NFL Draft?

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Los Angeles Rams will have 11 picks in the 2023 NFL Draft. With needs all over the roster, any and all options will be on the table when the Rams are on the clock. With the current state of the Rams, it can be argued that the 2023 draft is the most-important of the Les Snead era since 2017.

With the stakes that are on the table, I thought it be a good exercise to “game plan” the draft. What will be the best positions available at each Rams selection, who will be the five best players available, should the Rams make a trade or stay put, and then finally conclude what the Rams might actually do with the pick.

This week we’ve gone through scenarios in rounds two, three, and five. You can find those below:

On the final day of this series, we’ll approach the seventh-round where the Rams hold three selections. With the need of a new kicker and punter, this may be an area for the Rams to target those positions.

In the seventh-round, the Rams hold picks at selection 223 and 251. Let’s take a look to see what might be available.

Best Positions Available

The seventh-round as usual is simply a dart throw. Very rarely do these players turn into stars and at best they develop into contributors.

  • CB
  • EDGE
  • S
  • RB

In this area of the draft, a lot of teams are just looking for a player who can come in and contribute on special teams. Those players usually come at the running back, cornerback, safety, and linebacker positions. There are some players with upside here though.

Darrell Luter Jr. is a small, but feisty cornerback and Carrington Valentine from Kentucky is an underclassman to keep an eye on.

There is actually some depth at edge rusher in this portion of the draft. Lonnie Phelps, Robert Beal, and Thomas Incoom have some upside.

At safety, Brandon Hill and Ja’Von Hicks could be names to watch.

Players That Should be Available

  1. RB DeWayne McBride
  2. RB Travis Dye
  3. EDGE Thomas Incoom
  4. CB Tiawan Mullen
  5. WR Elijah Higgins
  6. S Brandon Hill
  7. LB Shaka Heyward
  8. LBAubrey Miller Jr.
  9. K Jake Moody
  10. P Bryce Baringer

As mentioned, at this point in the draft, the Rams will likely be looking for special teams contributors. There should be plenty of those types of players available. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Rams target the linebacker position with the need for some depth there behind Ernest Jones.

The Rams have also had success finding late-round safeties. Taking someone like Hill, Daniel Scott, or Hicks here makes some sense. Snead also has a history of drafting edge rushers in the seventh-round with Daniel Hardy being the latest example last year.

It will be interesting to see if the Rams take a kicker or punter with these picks. The Rams have needs at both positions. If they don’t want to risk their guy getting picked up as undrafted free agents by another team, they may secure there guy with one of these two picks. In all likelihood, the Rams will wait until undrafted free agency opens after the draft ends, but it’s a scenario that shouldn’t be counted out.

Trade Up, Trade Back, or Stay Put

It’s not very often that a team outright trades up or back in the seventh-round just given the unpredictability of the draft picks. If the Rams are looking for a 2024 seventh-round pick, it might make sense to make a trade, but they likely will stay put at these two selections.

What Happens?

It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Rams take a kicker with one of these two picks. Snead selected Greg Zuerlein in the sixth-round in 2012 and then took Sam Sloman in the seventh-round in 2020. With the need at the position, Snead might decide to take his guy.

With the second pick in the seventh-round, the Rams will have their eye on a special teams contributor. That likely means a safety, cornerback, or linebacker.