The Los Angeles Rams had 14 picks in the 2023 NFL Draft. However, NFL analysts in the media still expect them to be one of the worst teams next season. While the Rams were supposed to select sixth overall in the most recent draft, they were unable to due to the Matthew Stafford trade with the Detroit Lions. However, as it stands, Sean McVay and Les Snead currently hold their first-round pick in 2024.
With losses of key starts and expected growing pains of young players, 2023 is expected to be a transition year for the Rams. With 2024 mock drafts already beginning, here’s who the draft experts have the Rams selecting.
CB Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama - Dane Brugler, The Athletic
Using the inverse order of the Super Bowl odds, Brugler had the Rams selecting ninth overall. With the ninth overall pick, he has the Rams selecting Kool-Aid McKinstry from Alabama. Here’s what Brugler had to say,
“A tall, long corner who can run, McKinstry not only has a fun first name, but he also put strong play on his 2022 tape. He tied with Emmanuel Forbes — just selected No. 16 by Washington — for the SEC lead in passes defended (16) last season.”
The Rams surprisingly didn’t address the cornerback position until the sixth-round of the 2023 NFL Draft after trading Jalen Ramsey. Unless Robert Rochell or Derion Kendrick take a step forward, it’s hard to not see the Rams needing a CB1 going into next offseason.
OT Joe Alt, Notre Dame - Todd McShay, ESPN
McShay’s mock draft didn’t have the Rams selecting until 12th overall. With the 12th overall pick, McShay had the Rams selecting Joe Alt from Notre Dame who is considered one of the top tackles going into the college football season despite being an underclassman. McShay said,
“The Rams? In Round 1? They haven’t been here since they took Jared Goff in 2016! It’s a team with a lot of needs, and I’m sure we will be talking about the quarterbacks in the class for Los Angeles over the next 12 months, too. Matthew Stafford has a big contract, but he’s 35 years old and only played nine games last season. What about his protection, though? Only two teams allowed more sacks than the Rams’ 59 last season, and while Steve Avila (a 2022 second-round guard/center) will help, bringing in someone like Alt to team up with Joe Noteboom and Rob Havenstein would be smart. Alt is massive at 6-foot-7 and 317 pounds, and he “blew” just six total blocks (pass protecting and run blocking combined) across 866 snaps last season.”
The Rams have struggled replacing Andrew Whitworth since his retirement. Would Snead really go offensive line with his first pick in three straight years? Making a run in 2024 is dependent on keeping Stafford upright. Solidifying the left tackle position is a huge step in accomplishing that.
EDGE - Dallas Turner, Alabama - Ian Cummings, Pro Football Network
The Rams drafted three edge rushers in the 2023 NFL Draft. Would they draft another in 2024 or opt to sign one in free agency? Byron Young could develop into a good complimentary edge rusher. However, the Rams will still need a premier rusher on the other side. Said Cummings,
“The Rams added Byron Young in Round 3 of the 2023 NFL Draft, granting a slight boost to their EDGE rotation. But they need more. Much more. With Dallas Turner, Los Angeles gets an explosive, bendy pressure-generator at 6’4″, 240 pounds, with elite length and pursuit speed.”
Turner gets selected by the Rams with the 10th overall pick. With a selection this high, it’s worth wondering if they would stay put or trade their 2025 first-round pick to go up and try to get a quarterback like Drake Maye.
QB Michael Penix Jr., Washington - The Draft Network
Here’s our first quarterback taken by the Rams and it’s not Caleb Williams. The thing about the number one overall pick is that it’s very difficult to come by and a team coached by Sean McVay isn’t going to be that bad.
If the Rams end up with a top-10 pick again, they’ll likely be looking at the second tier of quarterbacks in the first round behind Williams and Maye.
CB Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama - Pro Football Focus
This is the second 2024 mock draft with the Rams selecting McKInstry from Alabama. Here the Rams select him seventh overall. PFF said,
“After trading away Jalen Ramsey, the Rams need to find their next No. 1 corner. McKinstry can fill that role. He was a first-team All-American for PFF this past season, and his 18 forced incompletions tied for second among all corners in the country. He also led all Power Five players with 332 punt return yards.”