The Los Angeles Rams could be nearing a trade for wide receiver Allen Robinson. According to recent reports, Robinson will be heading to the Pittsburgh Steelers pending a physical in which he is expected to pass.
The Rams previously gave Allen Robinson permission to seek a trade, and can confirm initial reporting that Steelers are working on terms for this. Robinson has to clear his physical. A league source expects him to do so following repair of a small fracture in his foot in Dec.— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) April 18, 2023
Trading Robinson to the Steelers would officially put an end to his disappointing one year tenure in Los Angeles. The Rams granted Robinson permission to seek a trade last month.
With Robinson potentially leaving, this leaves a gaping hole for the Rams at wide receiver. Coming into the offseason, it could be argued that there was already a need for a secondary option to Cooper Kupp. If Robinson is indeed traded, that need becomes a lot more pressing.
That’s especially the case if you look at the Rams’ wide receiver depth chart. If Robinson leaves, the number two wide receiver becomes Van Jefferson. Jefferson caught on towards the end of last season after starting the year injured. However, 2023 will be the final year of his rookie contract and at this point it seems unlikely that the Rams would sign him to an extension.
Behind Jefferson, the Rams then have TuTu Atwell, Ben Skowronek, Lance McCutcheon, and Austin Trammel. The best option in that group is arguably Skowronek who the Rams drafted in the seventh-round.
While the Rams obviously have needs at offensive line, cornerback, and edge rusher, it’s hard to say that wide receiver isn’t right up there with those position groups. As it stands, the Rams simply need everything. Everything will be on the table as the depth behind Kupp doesn’t exude a lot of confidence.
While some may not like to see a wide receiver drafted at 36, trading Robinson certainly opens the door for a wide receiver at that spot. And it most certainly almost guarantees a wide receiver is selected with one of the first three picks (36, 69, 77). That will especially be the case if the wide receivers fall later than expected in the draft which recent rumors suggest could happen.
According to Pro Football Focus,
“The top of this class is not held in very high regard across the league, and we wouldn’t be shocked if no wide receivers are selected through the first dozen or so picks, with perhaps only one or two in the top 20.”
Players like Zay Flowers and Jordan Addison could fall. If that happens, receivers such as Jalin Hyatt, Tyler Scott, and Josh Downs could be there for the taking when the Rams are on the clock.
That may not be a bad thing either. Over the past few years the second-round has been the place to draft wide receivers. Christian Watson and George Pickens were selected in the second-round last year while Deebo Samuel and AJ Brown all went in the second-round in 2019. That doesn’t mention the 2020 NFL Draft where Michael Pittman, Tee Higgins, and Chase Claypool were all taken in round two.
The Rams’ best wide receiver, Cooper Kupp, was selected in the third-round.
For a team that lacked explosive plays in 2022, Hyatt and Scott both make a lot of sense. Hyatt is arguably the best vertical threat in the draft, drawing comparisons to DeSean Jackson. Jackson is a player that McVay has tried to replicate in the Rams offense and even signed him in 2021.
Scott is also an explosive receiver who poses a vertical threat. There will be questions regarding his smaller frame, but there’s no denying his playmaking ability. While Hyatt potentially goes inside the top-40, Scott could be available when the Rams are on the clock at 69.
The Rams will likely select another receiver later in the draft, but with the need of receivers at the top of the depth chart, it seems like almost a certainly that one is also taken with one of their first three picks.
By trading Allen Robinson, the Rams have opened up another hole on the roster. With a big need at wide receiver, it opens up even more options in the second and third rounds.