It’s this point of the NFL Draft season where mock drafts can start to get a little crazy. We’ve exited the serious mock draft window and entered the “this could happen, but probably won’t” window of mock drafts.
That was the case on Monday when CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson had a scenario where the Los Angeles Rams traded up to the 18th overall pick with the Detroit Lions and selected Kentucky quarterback Will Levis. Here’s what Wilson had to say,
“We rounded out last week’s pro day travels with a stop in Lexington, Kentucky to see Will Levis in person. He’s built like a linebacker and watching him throw the ball in person is something to behold — you can actually hear the passes whistle — but questions remain about his ability to layer the ball to all three levels, and some inconsistencies when he rolls to his left. There’s talk that he could slip on draft day and depending on how long he lasts, maybe a team like the Rams would make a move to get him. Because if anyone can get the most out of Levis’ ability, it’s Sean McVay. (In this mock trade, the Rams get pick No. 18 and the Lions get picks 36, 77, and a 2024 2nd-rounder.)”
Given the Rams’ needs at other positions and still needing to fill a full roster in 2023, it’s unlikely that this caliber of move is made. It’s not out of question that the Rams take a quarterback. However, trading up into the first-round is where this scenario gets dicey.
Les Snead hasn’t been afraid to make the big move in the past, but this is a move that goes against what the Rams seem to building towards this offseason. The Rams traded away Jalen Ramsey and cut players like Bobby Wagner and Leonard Floyd in order to open up cap space to make a push in 2024. Even with an aging Matthew Stafford, the Rams are more likely to win with Stafford at the helm than they are an extremely raw and inexperienced quarterback.
That isn’t to say that a case can’t be made for the Rams to make this type of move. However, at this moment in time, it’s not a move that necessarily lines up with the current team-build.
There’s no question that Levis does have a high ceiling and his arm is arguably the best in the class. NFL quarterbacks are moving more towards the athletic, mobile mold than the prototypical pocket passer. As an offensive coach, McVay has to recognize this.
If McVay is in fact committed to the Rams for the long-term, then it’s fair to wonder whether or not he does want a quarterback that he can build with for the future. Is Levis that guy though? Every season there’s a raw quarterback with good arm strength that rises up draft boards. Is Levis closer to being the next Paxton Lynch than Josh Allen or Patrick Mahomes?
Giving that much draft capital to trade for a dart throw at quarterback is a very risky move and you have to make sure that you’re right. The San Francisco 49ers have experienced this with Trey Lance.
For now, Matthew Stafford is the quarterback of the Rams and that will probably remain the case at least for the 2023 season.
Eventually we’ll get back to another serious mock draft window right before the NFL Draft, but for now, we get scenarios like the one that Wilson put together.