Of all the positions that the Los Angeles Rams have not addressed in free agency, perhaps the most glaring is what Sean McVay plans to do if the offense has to run even a single play next year without Matthew Stafford at quarterback. There is no one else who plays the position on the roster.
Baker Mayfield signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. John Wolford and Bryce Perkins remains free agents without interest. And though L.A. might have considered quarterback in the first round if they held the sixth overall pick, that is not an option and it would be such a luxury to use their first pick—36th overall—on a quarterback who certainly would have low odds of ever panning out to become a starter.
If you go back to the year 2000 and find every quarterback who was drafted between picks 25 and 64, you will find only a handful of starters out of the 30 names that qualify: Drew Brees dominates that group (32nd overall in 2001) and is followed by Lamar Jackson, Jalen Hurts, Derek Carr, and Andy Dalton. That would be followed by Teddy Bridgewater, Colin Kaepernick, Jimmy Garoppolo, Geno Smith, Jason Campbell, and Chad Henne.
It’s been over 20 years since Brees. Then maybe on average once every six years will a team find an adequate-to-good starter, with the books yet to be closed on Lamar and Hurts.
Given that the Rams have needs all over the field, they would have to be blown away by the availability of a certain quarterback in the second round. Otherwise, needs on the offensive line, defensive line, secondary, receiver group, and linebacker could take priority on day two.
On day three, however, the Rams might address the fact that there is no backup quarterback and no other player at the position other than Stafford on the roster. If Les Snead doesn’t take a risk at quarterback on day two, then it would make sense for the Rams to use one of their eight day three picks on a player at the position who might have some potential and who could definitely aid the team as a role player.
Two such names that they’ve already been connected to are Purdue’s Aidan O’Connell and BYU’s Jaren Hall.
ProFootballNetwork’s Tony Pauline had this to say of Hall after BYU’s Pro Day:
Quarterback Jaren Hall had an outstanding throwing session today. He threw more than 50 passes, and many of them had a high degree of difficulty. Hall wasn’t just accurate — he displayed pinpoint pass placement and drove deep passes downfield with speed. The criticism from scouts after the Combine centered on Hall’s footwork dropping into the pockets from center and setting himself to throw.
Some believe that won’t be an issue as Hall will be used out of the gun at the next level more times than not, and when he does line up under center, he’ll be handing the ball off or running some type of boot action and rolling out then throwing on the move. Hall has come across great in interviews, as he’s a mature 25-year-old married man.
The age does not bother teams as we see more quarterbacks playing, and thriving, into their 30s. The Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions, and Indianapolis Colts all have interest in Hall. In fact, Indianapolis has compared Hall to Jalen Hurts, the quarterback developed by new head coach Shane Steichen. Also, keep an eye on the Rams, who are looking to come out of the draft with a No. 2 signal-caller.
Hall got a late starter on his college playing career and sat behind Zach Wilson from 2018-2020. Over the past two seasons, he has thrown 51 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, completing 65% of his attempts and also rushing for over 650 yards.
This BALL by Jaren Hall— NFL Rookie Watch (@NFLRookieWatxh) March 24, 2023
Hall had himself a DAY in front of NFL scouts at BYU’s Pro Day. pic.twitter.com/qhHhKF09vO
Hall is listed at 6’, 207 lbs, so not much bigger than Bryce Young. He’s been compared to Gardner Minshew but he could also be an upgraded version of John Wolford.
The Rams have also reportedly met with Purdue’s Aidan O’Connell:
Aidan O’Connell continued the momentum from one of the best passing workouts at last week’s Combine and looked terrific today. For those counting, he hit on 47 of 50 passes and looked very accurate. The three misses were all drops by a walk-on receiver.
Just like last Saturday in Indianapolis, O’Connell was on target with his throws and did not have receivers adjusting for errant passes. Scouts I’ve spoken with said they graded O’Connell’s passing workout at the Combine just below C.J. Stroud’s performance.
O’Connell has started for the last two seasons, throwing 50 touchdowns and 24 interceptions and is thought to be very accurate in short to intermediate areas in a pro style offense. He’s 6’3, 213 lbs, giving him closer-to-NFL prototypical size but he’s not very mobile.
The two prospects are quite different in that way. But ability to digest McVay’s playbook right away could play a key role in who Snead does draft at quarterback this year. I wouldn’t expect the Rams to use a high pick on a quarterback as they could want to remain open for a first round pick at the position in 2024.