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Random Ramsdom: Could the Rams trade back to bolster the defense in the draft?

Los Angeles Rams News and Links for 4/15/23

Ole Miss v Arkansas Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Rams trade back, bolster the defense in new 2-round mock draft (RamsWire)

“The Rams defense looks borderline unrecognizable heading into the 2023 NFL draft compared to the unit that took the field last season. Aaron Donald and Ernest Jones are really the only returning starters from a year ago, which means Los Angeles has a lot of rebuilding to do around them.

The draft is a good place to start, especially with 11 picks in their pocket. In Draft Wire’s latest mock draft, the Rams add another pick this year by trading down 12 spots with the Lions, turning the 36th pick (and a third-rounder in 2024) into the 48th and 55th selections in Round 2.

With those two selections, the Rams add a pair of defensive playmakers. At No. 48, they select Arkansas linebacker Drew Sanders, a versatile player who can play off the ball or rush the quarterback on the outside. He’s a big, athletic linebacker who started his career at Alabama, projecting well as an NFL prospect with his 6-4 frame and good range.”

Ex-Rams WR Odell Beckham Played ‘Without ACL’ During Super Bowl Run (SportsIllustrated)

“How different would the 2021 season have gone for the Los Angeles Rams if it wasn’t for the contributors of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr?

Do the Rams still win the Super Bowl? Do they even make it to SoFi Stadium to face the Cincinnati Bengals?

We will never know, but it is a potential hypothetical that many of the Rams faithful may be thinking about after Beckham revealed during his introductory press conference with the Baltimore Ravens that he played without an ACL in Los Angeles.

“That whole season I was playing without it,” Beckham said in Baltimore. “It was a crazy thing. I signed with the L.A. Rams, and I remember ElAttrache comes down there and he’s like, ‘I’ve just got to inform you that you don’t have an ACL. You know, we can redo your surgery right now.’ And this was Week Nine of the season,” Beckham continued.”

Rams NFL Draft Plans: 2 Standout WRs ‘Closely Linked’ to Los Angeles (SportsIllustrated)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: FEB 02 Reese’s Senior Bowl Practice Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

“The Los Angeles Rams have experienced what general manager Les Snead dubbed a “boring” offseason and aren’t currently slated to make a pick in the 2023 NFL Draft until the second round.

However, seeking to bounce back after a disappointing 5-12 campaign that was marred by injuries, the Rams will be active in this year’s draft, as they hold 11 selections.

But how will Los Angeles use those picks? According to ESPN, two needs have emerged above the rest.

“Sources close to the Rams say the team will be trying to add pass-rushers and pass-catchers,” ESPN writes. “Los Angeles knows it needs younger players who can rush the passer alongside Aaron Donald, but one of its bigger needs is on offense.”

Ranking Rams’ 13 offseason departures, from least to most significant (RamsWire)

Miami Dolphins Introduce Cornerback Jalen Ramsey Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

“The Rams’ roster is going to look very different than it did in 2022, and not because they’ve gone out and added a bunch of new players. They’ve suffered 13 departures already this offseason, either in free agency or by cutting and trading players.

Obviously, some losses are more significant than others. For instance, Matthew Orzech wasn’t nearly as impactful as Jalen Ramsey was, so losing him won’t be as painful as trading Ramsey was.

Now that we’re three weeks into the new league year, here’s a ranking of the Rams’ biggest offseason departures, from least to most significant.”

21 prospects most likely to be available for Rams at No. 36 overall (RamsWire)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: FEB 04 Reese’s Senior Bowl Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

“Barring a trade back with their first pick, the Los Angeles Rams are slated to make their earliest selection in the draft since Sean McVay was hired in 2017. They haven’t drafted higher than 44th in the last five years, but in the 2023 draft, the Rams will make their top selection at No. 36 overall.

That will afford them a chance to pick up a quality prospect on the fringe of the first round, and there should be plenty of impact rookies available with the 36th pick. ESPN Analytics put together a Draft Predictor which ranks prospects based on their likelihood of being available at a specific spot.

For the Rams and the 36th pick, there are 15 players with a 50% chance or better to be available. That group includes a handful of pass rushers, four cornerbacks, four offensive linemen and others.

Here’s a look at who ESPN believes will be on the board when the Rams go on the clock in Round 2.