What the Rams' draft needs are at each position

An important deduction. No flashy additions. And a welcome home after a short, fatal attempt to leave.

Coming from their disappointing 9-7 season, the Rams made a bold move on the cusp of a free agency cutting back an expensive star with Todd Gurley. Then they sat down or stopped bidding on premium free agents, including their own agents.

Defensive lineman Michael Brockers, linebacker Cory Littleton, edge rusher Dante Fowler, cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman and rotating safety Marqui Christian agreed to join forces with other teams. The Rams cut veteran linebacker Clay Matthews.

The Rams signed linebacker Leonard Floyd and defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson, and signed offensive linemen Andrew Whitworth and Austin Blythe. And on Friday, after a deal with the Baltimore Ravens failed, the Rams welcomed Brockers back.

Now Rams coach Sean McVay and a renewed staff with three new coordinators can look forward to a concept less than a month away.

Here’s a positional breakdown of their selection:

Quarterback

Jared Goff is preparing for his fifth NFL season and has, subject to a restructuring of his $ 134 million extension, a salary limit of $ 36 million.

Goff is in his worst season as a full-time starter. Now that Gurley is gone, he will be called upon to take more responsibility.

Backup Blake Bortles served what he planned to become a one-season internship under McVay, and strives to sign with a team that could offer competition for a starting role.

John Wolford was in the exhibition team last season.

Running back

Rams walking back Malcolm Brown (34) are congratulated by center Austin Blythe (66) and receiver Robert Woods (17) after scoring a touchdown against the Panthers on September 8.

(Brian Blanco / Associated Press)

With Gurley gone – he signed with the Atlanta Falcons – Malcolm Brown, Darrell Henderson and John Kelly are the remaining runners.

Brown served as Gurley’s backup for five seasons. Now he has the chance to prove that he can start. Henderson flashed on a few plays as a rookie, but also contributed to sales that helped the San Francisco 49ers beat the Rams. Henderson is undergoing ankle surgery. Kelly, a sixth round draft pick in 2017, spent most of last season in the practice squad.

The rams can add a veteran to the camp or seek more help in the design.

Receivers

Brandin Cooks’ name and contract came up in trade talks, but the quick veteran is still part of a host corps with Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp and Josh Reynolds.

Cooks is looking to recover from a short season due to concussion. Woods is entering the fourth year of a five-year contract that – based on its production – remains a bargain for the Rams. Kupp and Reynolds are in the last year of their rookie deals.

With four consecutive 100 meter appearances at the end of the season, Tyler Higbee came out tight as a huge weapon. His status is expected to grow as Gurley is gone – and McVay’s history of using tight targets. Gerald Everett, a second round in 2017, is in the final year of his contract. The Rams have also redrawn Johnny Mundt.

Offensive line

Whitworth’s return for a 15th NFL season will allow the Rams to postpone finding an immediate replacement, but they will be looking for prospects. Left Guard Joe Noteboom was considered the heir apparent, but he is returning from knee surgery. Similarly, center Brian Allen.

Blythe has proved versatile as a starting center or guard. Austin Corbett filled in on the left watch last season, showing why the Cleveland Browns selected him in the second round of the 2018 draft.

The right side of the line may be moving. Tackle Rob Havenstein struggled, then sustained injuries that allowed rookie Bobby Evans to step in and potentially wrestle the position. David Edwards had never played a guard before being pushed into that spot as a rookie.

Defense line

Star tackle Aaron Donald gives new defensive coordinator Brandon Staley a building block. And the preservation of Brockers ensures that there will still be a reliable runner stopper, locker room presence and mentor for young players, including nasal kit Sebastian Joseph-Day.

Robinson was a star in Alabama, but he was not a consistent force for the Detroit Lions. Tanzel Smart and Greg Gaines, a fourth round last season, are other linemen with experience.

End Jachai Polite slipped to the third round of the 2019 draft, was released by the New York Jets and the Seattle Seahawks and spent last season in the Rams exhibition squad.

Linebackers

Ram's linebacker Micah Kiser catches a ball during a practice on February 1, 2019, prior to Super Bowl LIII against the Patriots.

Ram’s linebacker Micah Kiser catches a ball during a practice on February 1, 2019, prior to Super Bowl LIII against the Patriots.

(John Bazemore / Associated Press)

Micah Kiser was on track to start last season before suffering a chest injury. Now Kiser is expected to fill the void left by Littleton’s departure. Troy Reeder started out as a rookie, and the Rams expect Travin Howard, a third-year pro, to take on a bigger role after sometimes playing well as a backup.

Floyd is a former first-round pick, but has not consistently played as one for the Chicago Bears. The Rams cross their fingers that Staley, his former coach with the Bears, can urge him to play his potential as Fowler did when he joined the Rams.

Former UCLA highlight Kenny Young was taken over in a mid-season trade that sent cornerback Marcus Peters to the Baltimore Ravens, but he did not play any defense.

Samson Ebukam has starting experience as an edge rusher. Obo Okoronkwo, who was hampered by injuries for most of his first two seasons, played well when he was physically healthy.

If Matthews doesn’t sign with any other team, it’s not out of the question that the Rams might try to get him back on a cheaper, more rewarding deal.

Defensive backs

Cornerback Jalen Ramsey played his star bill after being taken over in a mid-season trade. He will make $ 13.7 million this season pending a record-breaking expansion.

Troy Hill started opposite Ramsey, just like Darious Williams. David Long hardly played as a defender last season. Now he will trust Robey-Coleman to be replaced. Not Deayon can also find a spare role.

John Johnson, who is returning from shoulder surgery, and sophomore pro Taylor Rapp, is starting safely. Nick Scott and Jake Gervase are backups.

Special teams

New coordinator John Bonamego inherits units with unparalleled continuity under John Fassel.

But kicker Greg Zuerlein, a mainstay of Rams since 2012, agreed to the Dallas Cowboys on Friday. Punter Johnny Hekker and long-snapper Jake McQuaide are back for their ninth and 10th seasons, respectively.

The Rams have released kick-return JoJo Natson, so Nsimba Webster gets a chance to fill the role.

Leave a Comment