The Los Angeles Rams were busier during the 2023 NFL Draft than they had been in recent years, coming away with 14 rookie prospects and then signing another 24 as part of their undrafted free agent class.
As they have in recent drafts, Los Angeles was primary focused on adding talent in the later rounds. The Rams have had success identifying contributors in this range, though it some of that luck has run out in recent years.
Which selection is the most likely to contribute right away, and which prospect is the least likely to pan out? Let’s dive into some superlatives surrounding LA’s 2023 draft class:
Steve Avila, OG, TCU
Byron Young, OLB, Tennessee
Kobie Turner, DT, Wake Forest
Stetson Bennett, QB, Georgia
Nick Hampton, OLB, Appalachian State
Warren McClendon, OT, Georgia
Davis Allen, TE, Clemson
Puka Nacua, WR, BYU
Tre Tomlinson, CB, TCU
Ochaun Mathis, OLB, Nebraska
Zach Evans, RB, Ole Miss
Ethan Evans, P, Wingate
Jason Taylor II, S, Oklahoma State
Desjuan Johnson, DL, Toledo
Which rookie is most likely the start?
That seems to be OG Steve Avila, who was selected with LA’s highest pick since the 2016 draft. Avila was considered one of the top guards in the overall draft class, and there’s a chance he solidifies a spot on the offensive line for years to come.
If you’re playing devil’s advocate, it’s worth mentioning that Les Snead and Sean McVay anointed Logan Bruss as a starting-caliber player after the 2022 draft, but he looked unprepared in the preseason before suffering a season-ending injury. There’s no such thing as a sure thing when it comes to projecting players from college to the NFL.
Which pick is the least likely to pan out?
While Tre Tomlinson seemed like a value selection in the sixth round, especially considering his pedigree as a Jim Thorpe award winning, his size is extremely concerning and could be a limiting factor on his NFL career. At 5-8, 180 lbs., Tomlinson will be outmatched physically against some professional receivers. Some draft analysts believe Tomlinson projects better as a slot corner, but he might not be able to hold up in the run game.
Who will be the best Ram in five years?
It doesn’t feel great to pick a punter for this question, but the sky seems to be the limit for Wingate’s Ethan Evans. At 6-3, 235 lbs. and with a fairly athletic profile, Evans has room to grow with an already powerful leg.
It remains to be seen whether Evans can turn potential into production, but if he figures it out he could make Los Angeles home for years to come.
Sources Tell me #Bengals could be interested in Drafting Division 2 P/K Ethan Evans... Went to Kick with him today and I can see why, this is a ~70 yard (past the line of scrimmage) 5.46 and he's complaining it's not high enough. Bengals May have the Steal of the Draft pic.twitter.com/adYXwf4YXS— IsaacPunts (@IsaacPunts) April 21, 2023