The Los Angeles Rams are reportedly enamored with next year’s quarterback class and will use their first pick on a signal caller even if Matthew Stafford looks “pretty good” this season.
It was a few weeks ago that we were the first to amplify what Colin Cowherd said on his radio show about the Los Angeles Rams wanting Matthew Stafford to re-negotiate his contract this offseason. That story then took off, leading to others writing about the story, leading to Rams COO Kevin Demoff having to come out and deny Cowherd’s report, only to have Stafford tell reporters that L.A. absolutely did approach him about his contract.
So based on that timeline of events, if you believe Matthew Stafford, then you have to believe Colin Cowherd. I believe Stafford knows whether the Rams approached him about his contract much more than I would believe L.A.’s front office, so I believe Cowherd’s sources in this case were correct.
His sources are at it again: The Rams apparently love the 2024 quarterback draft class.
In his most recent episode of The Volume podcast, Cowherd says that even if Stafford has a good season that the L.A. Rams want to use their first round pick on a quarterback, be it Quinn Ewers or Michael Penix or whoever the best available quarterback is when they’re on the clock.
The Rams are trying to fool us. They had discussions they wanted to restructure the deal, they couldn’t. They like Matt. Bucky Brooks told me this yesterday and I heard this, if Matt gets banged up they’re drafting a quarterback with the first pick. They know how good this draft is. They look three years ahead of time and the feeling is that this is the best draft in a four-year window, the best quarterback draft. Next year. Last year wasn’t good, the following year after isn’t great. You get about two great quarterback classes per decade, about four first round guys. Next year is that draft.
There’s a belief, even if Stafford plays pretty well, the Rams are a 7-8 win team, they could be able to get a Quinn Ewers or Michael Penix Jr at 12, 13, or 15 in the draft.
By mentioning Bucky Brooks, Cowherd is referencing another member of the media and not necessarily someone in the building. However, he’s also said that he’s “heard this” about the Rams from other people, implying that these could be the same people who told him about Stafford’s contract.
If the Rams have a terrible season and end up with the first overall pick, this isn’t exactly “breaking news”, right? Drafting a quarterback at the top is nothing that needs sources. But what’s interesting about Cowherd’s comments is that L.A. is enamored with the 2024 quarterback class and thinks this is the one that they have to get a signal caller from.
Is there truth to that part of Cowherd’s argument?
Well, we know that Caleb Williams, whether you agree or disagree, is oft cited as the best prospect since Trevor Lawrence, if not Andrew Luck. He draws comparisons to Patrick Mahomes and his 2022 success at USC, which isn’t necessarily a school that is still known for having an elite supporting cast like it once did, has increased his star power dramatically since his freshman season at Oklahoma.
By most accounts, there is a large gap between him and UNC’s Drake Maye. But Maye’s prospect status is still very high and he might have even gone first overall in 2023, if eligible. He most definitely had a chance to at least go number two ahead of C.J. Stroud.
It’s after those two that I think Cowherd’s argument (or the Rams argument) of this being a historic class falls apart. At least, until we see more improvement from the quarterbacks behind them. The names he lists, Ewers and Penix, have enough red flags to think they might not be drafted in the first round next year.
There’s absolutely no consensus on the number three and if anything, the number three for one expert could be number nine for another, while his number three could be another expert’s number seven.
I have a hard time buying that any quarterback is a “great prospect” if he’s not a consensus first round pick. That’s why I didn’t think that Will Levis would be a first round pick in 2023. That’s why I didn’t think Malik Willis would be a first or second round pick in 2022.
Until Ewers, Penix, J.J. McCarthy, Bo Nix, Cam Ward, Joe Milton, Jordan Travis, Tyler Van Dyke, Riley Leonard or somebody else proves to be a consensus first round pick with a strong 2023 season, I can’t imagine that any good drafting team would be overly excited about next year’s class. There would need to be at least three quarterbacks like Maye, right now already, for that to be the case.
And I also can’t see why the 2025 quarterback class, which Cowherd references as not as good, couldn’t be much better than 2024. Once you take out Caleb Williams, the 2024 quarterback class is hanging by a thread from becoming not so much different than the 2022 class that only had one first round pick and no second round picks. The 2025 class would include Penn State’s Drew Allar, Clemson’s Cade Klubnik, the Ohio State quarterbacks, and whoever stays in school after this season.
So I don’t think that the L.A. Rams need to be committed to drafting a quarterback in the first round next year. In fact, if they don’t get Williams, I would have to imagine that not securing a premier left tackle or a top-tier weapon first would be a huge misstep and error.