The Los Angeles Rams are on the clock. Well, not officially, but with all the possibilities at pick No. 36, fans are eagerly waiting for the time to wind down. Hell, the wait may get longer, General Manager Les Snead has never met a draft slot he didn’t want to barter. But with so many impact players remaining on the board, trading back may turn out to be a big mistake.
If Snead does decide to stand pat, who will be the right selection. According to my Top 100 players, these are the highest remaining candidates.
#12 Joey Porter, Penn State - 6’ 3” / 193 lbs. / 34” arms / 4.46 forty / 1.50 split
Projects as a press corner, which doesn’t fit the Rams. Good tackler with physical nature. Experts don’t like his change of direction in zone, but on film, he shows good read/react skill, particularly coming downhill and breaking on ball.
#21 Cam Smith, South Carolina - 6’ 1” / 180 lbs. / 31 5/8” / 4.43 / 1.49 split
His length, read/react skill, instincts, and downhill burst make him a natural zone defender. Ball skills, Uber-athletic,and has the alpha male mentality. Rams zones might keep him from getting grabby in coverage and needs to use that attitude more in run support.
#25 Kelee Ringo, Georgia - 6’ 2” / 207 lbs. / 31 1/4” arms / 4.36 forty / 1.54 split
Very good run defender. In theory, safety might be his best role. Good agility and short area quickness, but better long speed. Zone experience in an aggressive multiple defense.
#39 Clark Phillips, Utah - 5’ 9” / 184 lbs. / 29 1/8” / 4.51 forty / 1.51 split
Stellar change of direction and ball skills. Has hot motor and high football IQ. Kind of stockily built, very aggressive in run support and a good tackler.
#41 Brian Branch, Alabama - 6’ / 190 lbs. / 30 3/4” arms / 4.58 forty / 1.56 split
Tough, hard-nosed prospect with safety versatility. Has the instincts and ball skills for zone defense. Tweener, maybe a step slow for man coverage as a corner and a tad small for NFL safety.
#44 DJ Turner, Michigan - 5’ 11” / 178 lbs. / 30 3/4” arms / 4.26 forty / 1.47 split
Perfect example of a twitchy athlete. His skills probably relate best in man coverage, but I have no doubt he could win in zone as well. Willing tackler in run support, but is more of a chase and drag defender who will need to wrap up better against pro size and strength.
#32 Drew Sanders, Arkansas - 6’ 4” / 235 lbs. / 32 1/8” arms / 4.66 forty
Had his biggest impact as a pass rusher. Called an inside linebacker, he lined up on the edges often. Only one year of college production, so a bit of a project, but his versatility could provide heat from outside or the blitz inside.
#35 Trenton Simpson, Clemson - 6’ 2” / 235 lbs. / 32 3/8” arms / 4.43 forty / 1.55 split
Another versatile off-ball linebacker. Agility, burst, and change of direction fit into underneath zone coverage. Aggressive tackler, needs a little form work. Strong ability to make plays behind the line and sack the QB.
#47 BJ Ojulari, LSU - 6’ 2” / 248 lbs. / 34 1/4” arms
Great first step and flex, bends around the edge. Height doesn’t fit the Rams recent history, but has good length to make up. Chase and drag tackler with good pursuit. Needs some play strength work.
#49 Isaiah Foskey, Notre Dame - 6’ 5” / 264 lbs. / 34” arms / 4.58 forty / 1.66 split
Has a high upside and all the physical traits working for him. Needs play strength against NFL run game. Has good moves as a pass rusher and is respected for his character, leadership and work ethic.
#22 O’Cyrus Torrence, Florida - 6’ 5” / 330 lbs. / 33 7/8” arms
His fall is a minor surprise. Powerful blocker who has limited move skills. Rams had an official visit with him and fans would love the addition. Known for power, he did not allow a sack in 2022.
#40 Matthew Bergeron, Syracuse - 6’ 5” / 318 lb / 33 3/4” arms
Ornery run blocker who needs polish in pass protection. Many would like to see him inside at guard. Going to need some development time, his college offense was unlike anything the NFL runs.
#42 John Michael Schmitz, Minnesota - 6’ 4” / 301 lbs. / 32 5/8” arms
Solid blocker who fit into zone run scheme and reportedly only gave up two sacks over his entire 57 game college career. High floor player with no injury past.
#45 Dawand Jones, Ohio State - 6’ 8” / 374 lbs. / 36 3/8” arms
Giant human with prodigious wingspan. Just having to run around him is a determent. Mobile for size, but looks a little top heavy. If he can handle NFL speed, will have a long career as a right tackle.
#46 G/C Steve Avila, TCU - 6’ 4” / 332 lbs. / 33” arms
Has starting experience at both guard and center. Cut thick and dense, Avila shows good athleticism, but power and strength are his ticket. Plays low and uses his length for leverage.
#33 Josh Downs, North Carolina - 5’ 9” / 171 lbs. / 30 3/8” arms / 4.48 forty / 1.49 split
Highly-productive in college. Solid route runner, hands, and run after catch ability. But, do the Rams really need another small slot receiver? Maybe later in the draft.
#37 Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee - 6’ / 176 lbs. / 32 1/2” arms / 4.40 forty / 1.50 split
Explosive weapon with stellar long speed and burst. Good hands and catch radius. Questions about his route tree and ability to create his own separation. High risk/reward quotient.
#17 Michael Mayer, Notre Dame - 6’ 5” / 249 lbs. / 31 5/8” arms / 4.70 forty / 1.66 split
Traditional TE with a stellar blend of blocking and receiving abilities. Whether inline, on wing, or in slot, a high-effort player with smarts. Didn’t test well at NFL Combine, that perceived lack of athleticism could give Rams a multi-year starter.
#30 Luke Musgrave, Oregon State - 6’ 6” / 253 lbs. / 32 5/8” / 4.61 forty / 1.54 split
Athletically gifted with good footwork. Only 15 starts in four college seasons and knee surgery last year. His skillset fits in well with what the Rams do.
#64 Zach Charbonnet, UCLA - 6’ / 214 lbs. / 32” arms / 4.53 forty / 1.54 split
Runs, catches, blocks. One-cut runner who doesn’t fumble. Runs upright, but so did Todd Gurley. A fine prospect, but #36 is too rich. Plus, it appears McVay and Cam Akers are good, maybe the problem was the Rams position coach last season.
#19 Will Levis, Kentucky - 6’ 4” / 229 lbs. - 6’ 4” / 229 lbs.
High risk/reward, lightening rod selection. Positives are arm talent, toughness and athleticism. Negatives are bad decisions (interceptions), pocket poise, and accuracy.
Who’s it gonna be?
I can be too conservative at times but let’s try and work through this. Rams fans are drooling over the offensive lineman possibilities, while on the other side of the ball pass rush is a definite need and the secondary is very inexperienced. While there are many fine candidates, let’s zero in those areas and the Top 3 cornerbacks and pass rushers, while I’ll add all the linemen.
Cornerbacks #12 Joey Porter, #21 Cam Smith, #25 Kelee Ringo.
Pass rushers #32 Drew Sanders, #35 Trenton Simpson, #47 BJ Ojulari.
Offensive linemen #22 O’ Cyrus Torrence, #40 Matthew Bergeron, #42 John Michael Schmitz, #45 Dawand Jones, and #46 Steve Avila.
Right off, let’s trim Porter, Simpson, and Jones, who don’t really fit Rams schemes. Next, It seems a bit early for Ojulari, Sanders, Bergeron, Schmitz, and Avila. Maybe if the Rams traded back. Torrence has already had an official meeting with L.A., that’s a plus. I have already mocked Smith at #36, unsure if that’s a plus or not. Ringo would be a fine choice, but is the odd man out.
I think the forum would be more fun if the Rams passed on Torrence, but deep down I’m a fan of the big uglies. Los Angeles Rams take Guard O’Cyrus Torrence at #36 of the 2023 NFL Draft.