The Los Angeles Rams entered the 2023 NFL Draft with their backs against the wall. After a few draft classes that were underwhelming, Les Snead and co. needed a home run draft class to turn things around as the Rams look towards the future.
TCU offensive linman, Steve Avila headlined the class in the second-round, followed by high-potential players such as Byron Young and Kobie Turner. The Rams will then have high expectations for Nick Hamton, Davis Allen, Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, and Zach Evans. Fourth-round pick Stetson Bennett could be a good backup option at quarterback behind Matthew Stafford.
The Athletic’s Mike Sando got unfiltered thoughts from executives around the NFL and on said that this class has a chance to be a “Hall of Fame draft” for the Rams. Here’s what that NFL executive had to say,
“They are looking for their Brock Purdy. The reality is, no one is going to notice the guard they took, but if Stetson Bennett can play, it’s going to be a Hall of Fame draft.”
Could Stetson Bennett be the heir behind Matthew Stafford? He’s likely just a backup, but from an athletic standpoint, he compares favorably to Russell Wilson. He’s more athletic and mobile than what meets the eye. His 10 and 20-yard splits in the 40-yard dash are almost identical to Wilson’s. Bennett is a 74.8 percent athletic match to Wilson as well.
Another executive wasn’t as high on the Rams draft or their process.
“What’s interesting about the Rams is, they are at the forefront of not sending scouts on the road, not having scouts or coaches at the combine, so when you see them select players you consider to be reaches for reasons beyond the film, you wonder if they overlooked things that might have been uncovered if they’d put more resources into the process?
That may be fair criticism as it is a different approach than other teams around the league. However, what’s really the difference of watching the film or being in person if the team is still interviewing players and coaches and doing their due diligence. The Rams aren’t the only team that “reaches” on players that they like in the draft.
It only takes one home run draft class to turn around a franchise. The Seattle Seahawks were projected to be one of the worst teams in the NFL in 2022 without Wilson. Instead, they selected Charles Cross, Abraham Lucas, Coby Bryant, and Tariq Woolen. The Seahawks made the postseason and look to be one of the stronger teams in the NFC heading into 2023.
One draft can change the trajectory of a franchise and the Rams will be hoping for that with their class of 14 rookies. A “Hall of Fame” draft could lead to a second Super Bowl for Matthew Stafford, Aaron Donald, and Cooper Kupp.