The 2020 NFL Draft is less than a week away, which means that The Game Haus will be doing draft profiles for every team. Each NFL team will be looked at heading into this year’s draft including what their needs are and who they could be targeting. The Los Angeles Rams will be the 32nd team evaluated.
Last season the Los Angeles Rams had the best offense in the NFL. Sean McVay looked like the next great head coach in the NFL. McVay had unleashed the full potential of their young offensive superstars and defensive coordinator had an elite defensive unit filled with superstars headlined by Aaron Donald. The Rams were projected to be one of the top teams in the NFC again this season. But they fell well short of their goal only winning nine games and missing the playoffs. Very quickly the Rams window with their current roster closed because their roster got really old, very fast. The Rams are in the middle of a retooling getting rid of their older and underachieving players and trying to replace them with what little cap space and draft capital they have.
Offensively the Rams did not have an identity this past year. Jared Goff looked afraid to throw the ball downfield at times because of his extremely poor offensive line play. Losing Roger Saffold last offseason was a huge loss to the Rams’ offensive line and offense as a whole. The root of their offensive problems came with the questions about Todd Gurley and his knee. Early on in the season, the Rams had Gurley split work with Malcolm Brown. The Rams also didn’t run the ball much and relied too heavily on the passing game. Later in the year, once they realized that wasn’t working, they tried to utilize Gurley again, but it was too late. The only positive this past year was the breakout season Cooper Kupp had. Kupp established himself as the Rams number one receiver. The Rams got rid of two of their biggest offensive playmakers since Sean McVay took over they cut Todd Gurley early in the offseason and recently traded Brandin Cooks away to the Houston Texans. This opened up some cap space for the Rams to work with. The biggest moves the Rams made were re-signing Andrew Whitworth and Austin Blythe.
Defensively, the Rams fell apart as well. The Rams re-signed Dante Fowler last offseason but lost LaMarcus Joyner, Mark Barron and most importantly Ndamukong Suh. Suh did not do too much statistically for the Rams but he freed a lot of rushing lanes for Aaron Donald when he was with the team. Donald’s sack numbers dropped from 20.5 to 12.5 this season without Suh. The Rams also made some big moves defensively trading away Marcus Peters to Baltimore so they could acquire Jalen Ramsey from Jacksonville. The Rams traded away two first rounds picks in order to acquire Ramsey. They also traded away Aqib Talib to Miami free up cap space. This offseason the Rams lost Eric Weddle, Nickel Robey-Coleman, Dante Fowler, Clay Matthews and Cory Littleton. They did sign A’Shawn Robinson and Leonard Floyd, two young players who can try to fill the voids on this roster. They also re-signed Michael Brockers after he failed a physical and lost a deal with the Baltimore Ravens. New defensive coordinator Brandon Staley will have to try to do more with less than Wade Philips had to work with.
2020 NFL Draft Picks
Second Round (two picks): No. 52, 57
Third Round (two picks): No. 84, 104
Fourth Round (one pick): No. 126
Fifth Round (zero picks):
Sixth Round (one pick): No. 199
Seventh Round (one pick): No. 234
Inside Linebacker- After losing Cory Littleton the Rams definitely need to address the middle of their defense. The Rams should select an inside linebacker early in the draft because even though Micah Kiser is supposed to “step up” and be one of the teams starting inside linebackers
Running Back- The Rams offensive system could allow for the most average running back to play well under their system, but it couldn’t hurt to add a running back who can split carries with Malcolm Browns and Darrell Henderson and possibly emerge as the alpha in the backfield.
Offensive Line- The Rams offensive line got exposed in a big way last season and was a huge reason for their decline. The Rams should draft multiple offensive linemen in this year’s draft to compete with last years rookie breakouts David Edwards and Bobby Evans for starting jobs
Edge Rusher- The Rams listed starting edge rushers are Samson Ebukam and Leonard Floyd who both have high potential but neither have produced close to 10 sacks in a season. The Rams need to add someone who can take the pressure off of Aaron Donald on the outside.
Wide Receiver- Trading Brandin Cooks does not leave as big of a hole at wide receiver as many would think. Josh Reynolds has been their do it all backup receiver who has played well in the absence of one of their starters. Reynolds could take Cook’s starting job on the outside. But if the Rams see a receiver they like fall to them they should not hesitate to pounce.
2020 NFL Draft Targets
Pick No. 52: Jeremy Chinn, S/LB, Southern Illinois
Jeremy Chinn has been creeping up draft boards the past few weeks. He would be a great add to play inside linebacker on this defense and could play the way Mark Barron did. Barron was a former safety that converted to linebacker for the Rams. Chinn is being called a poor man’s Isaiah Simmons and if he fits that reputation he could be a steal for whoever drafts him.
Pick No. 57: Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado
Laviska Shenault was projected to be a first-round pick coming into the year. He held that projection until the combine where he did not test great. He also did have core surgery this offseason which could concern teams, even though he is said to be 100%. Shenault is a part of a deep receiver group that follows the top four where any receiver can be selected because they share a similar grade. That could push Shenault down boards as well. However, Shenault is a gadget receiver that Sean McVay could make a dangerous threat in his first season in the league. At worst, his floor is Cordarrelle Patterson, but he could flourish if he lands in LA.
Pick No. 84: Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
What a steal this would be for the Rams! Jonathan Taylor played like a first-round pick for what seems like his entire college career. But people aren’t sold on Taylor because of his fumbling issues and that he doesn’t seem to be a threat in the passing game. If he lands in LA, expect him to be the team’s starting running back in his first season. Taylor has elite potential if he lands in the right situation.
Pick No. 104: Alex Highsmith, EDGE, Charlotte
Highsmith is a small school player that a team will take a chance on because of his production in college. He doesn’t have the size of a typical edge rusher in the NFL, but plays like one. The Rams can take a chance on him and use him on passing downs and possibly develop him into their starting edge rusher in a few seasons.
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