This offseason did not start well for the Los Angeles Rams. Several key players announced they were leaving in free agency, including LB Cory Littleton, EDGE Dante Fowler Jr., and DE Michael Brockers. The Rams also cut RB Todd Gurley as a cap casualty. Fortunately, Brockers returned to the Rams on a 3-year deal after failing his physical with the Ravens. The team announced extensions with critical offensive line pieces – OT Andrew Whitworth and C/G Austin Blythe – bailing out an otherwise sour offseason. This updated Rams 7-round mock draft aims to put the team back in the playoffs and give the defense a much-needed boost.
Edge Rusher: The team brought in OLB Leonard Floyd, but they still need more pass rushers, as they don’t have an answer on the roster after losing Dante Fowler. Samson Ebukam and Obo Okoronkwo are good players, but still relatively unproven. An answer needs to emerge here, especially given the state of the NFC West.
Linebacker: The Rams lost Cory Littleton in free agency, leaving their linebacker room bare. The team traded CB Marcus Peters for LB Kenny Young last year, but Young played zero snaps on defense last year. The rest of the roster is entirely unproven, and none are likely to be quality starters. The team needs answers here quickly.
Safety: With Eric Weddle’s retirement, the Rams lose a valuable player in the secondary. Weddle played over 1,000 snaps last year, and the Rams don’t have a player with his skillset on the roster.
Offensive Line: The team re-signed Andrew Whitworth to a three-year deal, but an heir apparent at left tackle is still needed. Austin Blythe’s extension was only for one more year, so an eventual replacement at center will be needed as well. The team started both Austin Corbett and David Edwards at guard, who were OK for the most part, but greater depth or potentially upgrades are necessary.
Wide Receiver: After the Brandin Cooks trade, a huge chunk of the Rams’ offense is wide open. Josh Reynolds may fill that void, but that is a huge projection at this point. Adding another player to fill the outside void left behind by Cooks would be a smart choice.
Running back: The team has voiced an opinion of wanting to run the ball more and more in 2020, and that showed down the stretch of last season. The team traded away Todd Gurley, leaving Darrell Henderson as the primary replacement. Adding more talent to rotate with Henderson is a smart choice, especially when Malcolm Brown and John Kelly are potentially free agents in 2021.
Round 2, Pick 52: Terrell Lewis, EDGE, Alabama
Selecting Terrell Lewis in the bottom half of the second round would be a dream come true for the Rams. Lewis is a dominant and powerful edge rusher with a phenomenal athletic frame. His durability is the only reason he’d be here, but Lewis is a freak of nature and would be an upgrade over the current pass-rushers on the Rams roster.
Round 2, Pick 57: Ashtyn Davis, S, Cal
I love, love, love Ashtyn Davis’s tape. There’s really nothing Davis cannot do at a high level. He’s a phenomenal athlete and great coverage safety. His background at corner shows up in his strong ability in man coverage, which is vastly important for a safety. His ball skills are top-notch, and his instincts make him a high-impact playmaker. I’ve heard he’s been slipping down some boards due to age and medicals, but the Rams would be wise to snatch him up to give them an outstanding 3-safety look of Davis, John Johnson III, and Taylor Rapp.
Round 3, Pick 84: Bryan Edwards, WR, South Carolina
Edwards steps in as the Cooks’ replacement on the outside right away. Edwards has the speed to challenge defenses vertically as well as after the catch. He’s physical in his releases and run style after the catch and won numerous reps against top-flight SEC corners. Edwards’ medicals are likely going to push him down draft boards, but the Rams can’t afford to pass on his value here.
Round 3, Pick 104: Justin Strnad, LB, Wake Forest
Adding legit coverage options for the Rams LB unit is a must. It seems like the draft community forgot all about Strnad after he ruptured his bicep in October, but he shouldn’t be dismissed, especially in this linebacker class. Strnad is an explosive athlete who looks more like a linebacker playing safety. He’s fluid and lightning-quick against the run and can deploy from multiple positions in coverage. Strnad needs to develop his play recognition and IQ, but he’s the type of linebacker you bank on late in Day 2.
Round 4, Pick 126: Reggie Robinson II, CB, Tulsa
The Rams have met with Robinson over the offseason, and it’s a pick that makes sense for the Rams now and in the future. The Rams let Nickell Robey-Coleman walk in free agency, thinning out their CB room. Troy Hill is set to be a free agent next year. The Rams would be smart to pick his replacement as well as boost the depth of their secondary.
Round 6, Pick 199: Michael Warren II, Cincinnati
Warren isn’t the flashiest runner in the class, but he’s tough, physical, and is at his best in between the tackles. Warren would add a good short-yardage back to complement Henderson that is also a solid pass-catching option. Warren isn’t explosive, but he doesn’t have to be with Henderson there.
Round 7, Pick 234: Kyle Murphy, G, Rhode Island
Murphy is a good backup option coming from the smaller school ranks. Murphy lined up at tackle, guard, and center at Rhode Island but is at his best on the interior. His best asset is his ability in pass protection with good quickness and anchor ability. He isn’t the most powerful blocker, but his movement skills and ability in space would fit in well with the Rams’ zone-heavy scheme. Murphy could develop at guard or center and push for a starting role with additional physical development.