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This WR could help Rams replace Allen Robinson’s skillset through draft

Ole Miss’ Jonathan Mingo is a physical receiver that wins at the catch point and is projected to go in the third round

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NFL Combine Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams traded WR Allen Robinson to the Pittsburgh Steelers this week, pending the veteran passes his physical. Robinson failed to produce at the level expected during his first and only season in LA, though his overall skillset could still be useful in Sean McVay’s offense.

The Rams still have Cooper Kupp, who can and will win in all areas of the field. Behind him is a stable of young receivers that will jostle for position among the depth chart and compete for playing time.

Van Jefferson enters his fourth season and a contract year. He has flashed ability as a deep threat and accumulated over 800 receiving yards during his first season with Matthew Stafford. Jefferson was injured to start the 2022 campaign, and he didn’t hit his stride until Stafford was shut down for the year and John Wolford, Bryce Perkins, and eventually Baker Mayfield were under center. The fourth-year pass catcher is still a bit enigmatic, though he could elevate himself as a bonafide starter in 2023 just before hitting the free agent market.

Tutu Atwell is probably LA’s most dynamic receiver, though his 5-9, 165 lbs. frame could prevent him from a full-time role within the offense. Stafford’s big time arm and Atwell’s ability to work vertically down the field are certain to produce some big time connections next season, but it’s on McVay to make the most of his talented speedster.

Atwell’s lack of size could provide an opportunity for Ben Skowronek to be the primary third receiver when the team is in 11 personnel (three WR’s, one TE, one RB), and the big receiver seemed to be coming on late last year before he was also shut down with injury. We’ve seen Skowronek improve at the catch point and the team even has a package for him to play in the backfield at fullback—perhaps McVay will expand on that role in 2023.

While Skowronek has improved in the area of contested catches, it’s probably too early to call that a true strength of his game. That’s a facet of the offense where Allen Robinson was supposed to thrive, and Stafford also found success with these types of receivers in Detroit with players like Kenny Golladay and Calvin Johnson.

If McVay truly believes he needs another option at outside receiver that can high point the ball and win contested catch opportunities, they should entertain drafting this prospect who is currently projected to go in the third round:

Jonathan Mingo would bring a physical presence to LA’s receiving corps

Mingo was a four-year starter for Ole Miss, though it took until his senior season for him to become a productive player. He notched 51 receptions for 861 yards and five TD’s in 13 games this past season, and he accumulated 112 catches for 1,758 yards and 12 TD’s over the course of his college career.

Per Dane Brugler’s and The Athletic’s “Beast Draft Guide”, Mingo is rated as a third round prospect that “has starting potential in the right situation”.

Listed under his strengths is the ability to “(use) his (6-2, 220 lbs.) frame to keep defenders from the catch point on slants or when working back to the football”. Mingo also has produced a high frequency of explosive plays relative to his overall volume of career catches: 10 receptions of 30+ yards versus 112 total grabs.

There are a couple of concerns with Mingo as a prospect, but that’s what you’re going to get with all players projected to go in the third round.

The first concern is the question surrounding his change of direction ability, and he decided to not run the shuttle or three cone at the NFL Scouting Combine. At his pro day he ran a 4.25 second 20-yard shuttle. It’s problematic when prospects’ shuttle time approaches their measure in the 40-yard dash, and Mingo ran a 4.46 40 at the combine. It seems fair to say that he’s a better straight-line athlete than sudden and agile, though receiver is a position where you can play to individual strengths.

The other concern with Mingo is his injury history—he missed most of his junior season with a foot fracture, and then he had to have surgery during the offseason before his senior year “because the injury hadn’t correctly healed” (per Brugler).

All considered, Mingo would bring a physical presence to the LA receiver room that the Rams seem to be missing. With Jefferson heading into a contract year and Kupp now on the wrong side of age 30, it’s time to look to the future at the position.

Could the Rams snag Jonathan Mingo with one of their three picks in the first three rounds of the draft?