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Final Rams 7 Round Mock Draft: Emmanuel Forbes headlines new era

A new era of Rams football begins in this final 7-round mock draft

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 01 Texas A&M at Mississippi State Photo by Chris McDill/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After purging the roster this offseason, the NFL Draft finally provides the Rams with the reset that they need. This is the beginning of a new era of Los Angeles Rams football. Jalen Ramsey has been traded and Leonard Floyd has been cut. Players that the Rams may have brought back in recent years were left to find other teams.

Following a 5-12 season, the Rams are looking forward.

While the team won’t select until Friday, they’ll be keeping tabs on who is still available heading into the second-round. The Rams currently have 11 selections, but a trade back or two could bring that total even higher by the end of the draft.

To make things less complicated, I have stayed away from trades. Every selection will be made in the Rams’ original spot.

2nd Round (36th Overall) - CB Emmanuel Forbes, Mississippi State

Emmanuel Forbes is the exact type of player that the Rams need with the 36th overall pick. This is a player that can come in and make an impact on day one. The Rams defense could have some growing pains in 2023 to start the season. The best thing that they’ll be able to do is turn defense into offense and the way to do that is with turnovers. Is there a better player to bring in than the player who led the FBS in pick sixes?

Forbes may be the best overall cornerback in man and zone coverage outside of Devon Withspoon in this class. This is a player that can come in and have a Patrick Peterson or Marcus Peters type of impact on a defense.

Yes, there will be concerns about his frame. However, if you don’t have concerns about Cam Smith at 180-pounds, then you shouldn’t have concerns about Forbes at 170. On a NFL diet and nutrition plan, Forbes will likely be playing between 170-180-pounds with a max at 185. Had Forbes entered the draft process at 180-pounds, he’s arguably a top-15 pick.

Forbes doesn’t hesitate in the run game and is very willing to come up and make the tackle. By no means does he avoid contact. Between his speed and ability to read route concepts from off-coverage, he’s a perfect fit in the Rams’ match zone. If Forbes falls out of the first-round, the Rams need to sprint to the table with their draft card.

There has been some debate on whether or not the Rams should trade down from 36. Depending on the board, the Rams should be handing in a player card when they are on the clock. The value of trading back from 36 doesn’t outweigh the player that the Rams may end up with right outside the first-round.

3rd Round (69th Overall) - EDGE Isaiah McGuire, Mizzou

In the SEC, Isaiah McGuire had 35 pressures with a 17.6 percent win-rate and seven sacks. While Will McDonald would be a good fit at 36, he’s much more of a projection due to the fact that he played out of position at Iowa State. McGuire’s athleticism is just as good with a 9.53 RAS.

It’s hard to expect immediate impact from a third-round edge defender. McGuire may have his early rookie moments, but he’s had success against top-level competition. Against Georgia, McGuire consistently won against Broderick Jones who is considered a top-three tackle in this class.

Again, McGuire may not come in and have eight sacks as a rookie. However, he’ll develop this year to become a good complimentary edge rusher. This allows the Rams to spend big on the position next offseason with nearly $75M in cap space.

If the Rams do trade back, this would be a great position to do so. Snead will be looking to close the gap between 77 and 167. Getting into the fourth round and picking up a fifth or sixth-round pick would be a good return.

3rd Round (77th Overall) - WR Jayden Reed, Michigan State

Reed may not be the flashiest wide receiver, but he might be exactly what the Rams have been missing at the position after trading Robert Woods to the Tennessee Titans.

According to Matt Harmon’s Reception Perception, Reed had a 70.3 percent success rate against man coverage which ranked sixth in college football last season. He also had an 80 percent success rate against zone which ranked fourth. His 58.3 percent success rate against double teams and 77.8 percent success rate in press finished first and second.

Reed is an excellent route-runner and because of this, will have high floor in terms of his potential at the next level. If there is a “Rams receiver” in the NFL Draft, it’s Reed and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him in horns on Friday.

5th Round (167th Overall) - iOL Ricky Stromberg, Arkansas

If you’ve been following my mock drafts this offseason, you’ll know that I am extremely high on Ricky Stromberg. When Brandon Thorn of the Trench Warfare sub-stack says something regarding the offensive line you listen and Thorn has Stromberg as one of his guys this draft process. According to Thorn,

“Stromberg is a heady player that runs the show pre-snap and is a fighter through contact, with a keen understanding of how to position his body between the ball and the defender to create seals and alleys off his backside.”

The Rams need depth at the center position. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Brian Allen as the starter in Week 1. However, they must be more prepared this season if Allen goes down with an injury. The issue last year was having to move Coleman Shelton from right guard to center after Allen got hurt. Not only were the Rams forced to have a new center with Allen’s injury, but they also needed to replace Shelton. Instead of just one change, the Rams had to make two.

Stromberg has started games along all three positions on the interior with over 40 games blocking in Arkansas’ zone-based run game. He’ll need to get a little stronger, but as a depth player early on in his career, you can’t do much better.

5th Round (171st Overall) - iDL Jalen Redmond, Oklahoma

Another one of my favorite prospects for the Rams this draft process is Jalen Redmond out of Oklahoma. He took a step back as a pass-rusher in 2022, but in 2021, he ranked sixth in the nation in pass-rush win rate at 18.9 percent. He may provide more value as a run defender immediately. Last season, he ranked sixth with an average depth of tackle of -0.4 yards. In other words, he was making plays in the backfield.

Redmond has an extremely quick get off, plays with a high-motor, and is an explosive athlete. As depth behind Bobby Brown and Marquise Copeland, Redmond is a good fit.

5th Round (177th Overall) - TE Davis Allen, Clemson

The Rams are going to need to draft a tight end at some point in their 11 picks. It wouldn’t be surprising if that came in their first three picks and ended up being Luke Schoonmaker or Tucker Kraft.

However, if they do end up waiting, Davis Allen out of Clemson is a great option. Allen is a natural receiver and has a huge catch radius which is to be expected at 6’6. His 11 contested catches last season ranked third among tight ends behind only Michael Mayer and Brock Bowers — two of the best tight ends in college football. He also ranked first in contested catch rate at 91.7 percent.

What isn’t to be expected is for him to be as good of a blocker as he is. Allen is one of the better blocking tight ends in this class. While he works to get better as an overall receiver, Allen could come in 12 personnel packages and have an impact immediately.

6th Round (182nd Overall) - CB Starling Thomas V, UAB

Thomas V provides a lot of value for the Rams. Not only is a great fit for them due to his speed as he reportedly ran a 4.28-second 40-yard dash at his pro day. He’s also versatile as an inside-outside cornerback and led UAB with 15 pass breakups. More importantly however, he provides value as a returner. The Rams need someone to return punts and kicks. Thomas does that and provides depth at the cornerback position.

The Rams have met with Thomas, meaning that there could be some initial interest here. Thomas could absolutely be an option on day three if he’s available.

6th Round (189th Overall) - RB Evan Hull, Northwestern

Hull fits exactly what the Rams need at the running back position. With two years remaining on Cam Akers’ contract, they don’t necessarily need someone who can carry the load. They also drafted Kyren Williams last season to be his compliment. What they need is depth behind both those two players or someone to compete with Williams.

Hull has a diverse route-tree and is one of the better receiving backs in this draft class. He’s also good running between the tackles and stepping up in pass protection. Hull is the perfect third-down running back or alternative to Akers as depth in the Rams running back room.

6th Round (191st Overall) - LB Dee Winters, TCU

Ernest Jones is extremely underrated and ready to take that next step in year three. Behind him, the Rams don’t have a lot of depth. I do like Jake Hummel and Christian Rozeboom. With that said, the Rams could use another player behind them.

Winters is a really good fit for the Rams. He’s a linebacker with a safety background and plays with a lot of speed. Due to his background as a safety, he has no problem covering slot wide receivers, running backs, or tight ends. The Rams didn’t bring back Travin Howard. Winters fills that player mold.

7th Round (223rd Overall) - K Chad Ryland, Maryland

The Rams could wait until undrafted free agency to take a kicker. However, when the Rams have needed a kicker in the past, Snead has used a draft pick to take one. Ryland is accurate from 50+ yards and has experience on kickoffs which the Rams will value.

7th Round (234th Overall) - QB Tyson Bagent, Shepherd

It’s fair to be concerned about the DII talent that Bagent played against at Shepherd. His week of the Senior Bowl also wasn’t great against higher-level talent, although he had flashes. With that said, give Bagent a year or two to sit and the ceiling is very high.

I actually think he compares style-wise to a very raw Matthew Stafford. That doesn’t mean Stafford is his ceiling, but they do have similar play styles. Bagent is able to make throws with different arm angles and does show some mobility to make plays out of the pocket.

The processing also seems to be there, but may just take time to get up to NFL speed. He scored a 96 percent on the S2 test. Bagent is likely a project, but he has the arm and mental game to say that he does have a high ceiling. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Rams take a quarterback like Jaren Hall or Aidan O’Connell much earlier. Still, I like Bagent as a fit to sit behind Stafford.