The 2023 NFL Draft has come to an end, with the Los Angeles Rams welcoming in 14 new members of the squad on a busy weekend between rounds two and seven, including Mr. Irrelevant. These are prospects who will have an opportunity to start or take on significant roles right away given the Rams rebuilding, retooling, and restocking the roster after a tumultuous offseason that includes trades, cuts, and free agent losses.
These 14 names could help the Rams in the near and long-term future, but if L.A. finds out that even four of these guys are starting at a high level in 2-3 years, that is a win for Les Snead. These are the 14 names.
2.36 - iOL Steve Avila, TCU
The Rams kicked off their 2023 draft class by addressing a need on the offensive line, the interior offensive line in particular, selecting Steve Avila out of TCU. Avila was a three-year starter at TCU, with experience at guard and center. As a team captain of the Horned Frogs, Avila is a leader by nature, and will most likely find himself as an instant starter for the Rams.
3.77 - EDGE Byron Young, Tennessee
With the second selection in the Rams class, they decided to address another position of need, this time on the defensive side of the ball, selecting EDGE Byron Young out of the University of Tennessee. Young is a freak of nature, listed at 6’2” 250 pounds he ran a 4.46 40-yard dash at the combine, proving he possesses freakish speed and athleticism coming off the edge. In his two seasons at Tennessee, he racked up 12.5 sacks, 23.5 TFLs, and 83 tackles.
3.89 - DL Kobie Turner, Wake Forest
The Rams decided to stick to the defensive die of the ball with their third selection, opting to select Kobie Turner, a defensive tackle out of Wake Forest. Turner is considered undersized for his position (sound familiar?), but possesses great strength and an extremely high motor, which makes up for his lack of ideal physical make-up. Turner transferred from Richmond to Wake Forest, racking up a whopping 43.5 TFLs over the span of his collegiate career.
4.128 - QB Stetson Bennett, Georgia
With Matthew Stafford as the only QB under contract prior to the NFL Draft, many knew that L.A. would select a quarterback at some point during the 3-day event. In the 4th round, they did just that, nabbing Stetson Bennett out of the University of Georgia. Bennett is very well known, as he was the signal-caller for the two-time defending National Champion Georgia Bulldogs, so the big-game experience is second to none. Bennett brings toughness and confidence to the position, both of which bode well for a back-up quarterback. Over his two years as a starter, Bennett threw for 6,990 yards, 56 TDs to just 14 INTs, all while completing 66.3% of his passes.
With their first pick in the 5th round, the Rams opted to grab another EDGE, selecting Nick Hampton out of Appalachian State. Hampton is considered a little undersized for his spot at 6’2” 236 pounds, but man does this kid play hard. Hampton possesses a very high-motor and has a knack for rushing the passer, racking up 26.5 sacks in his collegiate career. Hampton will most likely be a pass-rushing specialist, as well as an integral part of the kick-off and punt team.
5.174 - OT Warren McClendon, Georgia
The Rams decided to bring in some more beef up front, drafting their second Georgia Bulldog of the draft in offensive lineman Warren McClendon. McClendon was a three-year starter at Georgia, bringing loads of experience for the most dominant college football program in the past couple of seasons. McClendon played tackle at Georgia but, at 6’4” 306 pounds, it is likely that he will transition inside and play guard for the Rams.
5.175 - TE Davis Allen, Clemson
Flipping back to the offensive side of the ball, the Rams selected Clemson tight end Davis Allen to add some depth to the position. Allen is a big-bodied tight end at 6’6” 245 pounds and is an excellent 50/50 ball pass-catcher. As more of an average blocker, Allen will make his mark with the ball in his hands, hopefully turning into a real red-zone threat for the Rams. Allen snagged 88 receptions for 951 yards and 12 TDs in his collegiate career.
5.177 - WR Puka Nacua, BYU
Deciding to stay offense to close out their 5th round selection, the Rams selected BYU wide receiver Puka Nacua. Nacua is not the most athletic/fast receiver you’ve ever seen, but man this dude plays HARD and is a leader, as he was a captain for BYU last season. Nacua was the only player in the FBS last season to record 5+ rushing touchdowns to go along with 5+ receiving touchdowns, showing he is dangerous no matter how he gets the ball. Nacua recorded 2,106 yards from scrimmage on 146 touches and 19 touchdowns.
To open up their 6th round draft picks, the Rams grabbed a player with some serious NFL bloodlines, selecting cornerback Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson out of TCU, who happens to be the nephew of NFL legend LaDanian Tomlinson. Hodges-Tomlinson is just 5’8” 178 pounds, but the guy plays BIG. An uber-athletic player, Hodges-Tomlinson uses his unbelievable explosiveness to make-up for what he lacks in frame, which turned into a very productive final two seasons at TCU. Hodges-Tomlinson was named first-team AP All-American last season and racked up five interceptions over his career.
6.189 - EDGE Ochaun Mathis, Nebraska
The Rams their second 6th round selection by bringing in their third EDGE rusher of the draft, selecting Ochaun Mathis out of the University of Nebraska. Mathis is a behemoth of a man at 6’5” 250 pounds and massive 10 3/4” inch hands. From a measurables standpoint, Mathis brings it all, it’s the production that and tape that forced him to fall. A transfer from TCU, Mathis’ best season came in 2020, where he racked up 8 sacks and 12.5 TFLs, putting himself on the NFL map. If Mathis can add more layers to his pass-rushing game, he has all of the tools necessary to become an absolute steal for L.A.
6.215 - RB Zach Evans, Ole Miss
The Rams closed their 6th round with a running back, grabbing Ole Miss RB Zach Evans with the 215th overall pick. Evans was a highly touted 5-star recruit coming out of high school, signing with TCU before transferring to Ole Miss prior to last season. Evans is very stout and possesses traits of an every down back. Limited by injuries, Evans fell to the 7th round, but his talents, when healthy, far exceed the spot he was picked. Over his career, Evans rushed for 1,999 yards and 18 TDs on the ground, while adding 30 receptions for 325 yards and 2 TDs as a pass-catcher. With a rushing average of 6.9 YPC, Evans has home-run ability that could put himself into the rotation day one in L.A.
7.223 - P Ethan Evans, Wingate
Ladies and gentlemen... we have a punter.— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) April 29, 2023
Welcome to LA, Ethan Evans! pic.twitter.com/cf3U7icCKQ
Rejoice Rams fans, THERE IS NOW A PUNTER ON THE ROSTER, as the Rams selected Ethan Evans out of Division 2 school Wingate. Evans averaged 45.7 yards per punt last season on 77 total punts.
With the team’s penultimate selection, the Rams selected safety Jason Taylor II out of Oklahoma State. Taylor II truly broke out last season for the Cowboys, totaling 99 tackles and 6 interceptions, which led to becoming first-team all-conference. Taylor II is a solid tackler and highly instinctive, both great tools for a safety. Not only was he a reliable player last season for OSU, he seemed to come up big in the biggest moments, shining bright when the lights were on. Taylor II will be an instant impact special-teamer for the Rams, with the potential to become a starter down the road.
7.259 - DT Desjuan Johnson, Toledo
Mr. Irrelevant belonged to the Rams this season, as they nabbed defensive tackle Desjuan Johnson to bring the 2023 NFL Draft to a close. Johnson is yet another player that is considered undersized for his spot on the field, but his relentlessness and quickness off the ball makes up for the lack of size. Johnson played five seasons at Toledo and was absurdly productive, stacking up 210 tackles, 45.5 TFLs, and 14.5 sacks in his collegiate career. Given the state of the Rams roster, this season’s Mr. Irrelevant has a real shot to make the 53-man roster.