Los Angeles Rams 2023 NFL Draft: Team Needs and Top Targets

What are the most pressing Los Angeles Rams draft needs? With the 2023 NFL Draft here, let's dive into the positional gaps they might fill.

With the NFL Draft upon us, the Los Angeles Rams are still reeling (one would assume) from a 2022 campaign that fell painfully short of lofty expectations. They finished with the worst record of any defending champion in NFL history. As they attempt to regroup, what are the Rams’ biggest team needs during the draft, and which targets might be most appealing for a franchise attempting to right the ship?

Los Angeles Rams Team Needs Following Round 1

  • OT
  • G
  • EDGE
  • CB
  • S
  • LB
  • WR
  • RB

The Rams got everything they wanted in the 2021 season after going all in. The repercussions aren’t always fun and easy, as this franchise learned the hard way in 2022. Injuries and weakened play crushed L.A.’s hopes.

The Rams do have 11 picks in the 2023 NFL Draft but no first-rounder. We might not be surprised if they move up more than once, forgoing quantity for slight increases in quality. This year might be L.A.’s last best chance for a while to compete for a division title — if nearly everything breaks positively.

Much like their NFL West compatriots, the Cardinals, there isn’t much that the Rams don’t need on their roster. Massive holes exist at offensive tackle and guard. The Allen Robinson experiment failed, and with Cooper Kupp entering his age-30 campaign, this squad desperately needs WR help.

MORE: FREE NFL Mock Draft Simulator With Trades!

Additionally, the Rams don’t have a single running back that should inspire complete confidence. While Cam Akers flashed a bit down the stretch last season, his injury history should compel this franchise to go hunting for a capable backfield playmaker.

Los Angeles also has virtually no pass rush outside of Aaron Donald. They traded away Jalen Ramsey, which pretty much cemented their rebuilding status. Jordan Fuller is a fine safety, but the rest of their safety corps consists essentially of late-round and undrafted players from the 2022 class.

Predictions for Remaining 2023 Draft Picks

We used PFN’s Free Mock Draft Simulator to project some realistic targets for L.A. at each of their draft positions. Here’s a breakdown of the results.

Round 2, Pick 36: Josh Downs, WR, North Carolina

PFN college football analyst Ian Cummings recently labeled Josh Downs as an “underrated Round 1 contender.” So we shouldn’t be surprised if a team snatches him up early in Round 2. The WR-needy Rams are a prime candidate.

Round 3, Pick 69: Marvin Mims, WR, Oklahoma

Don’t be surprised if the Rams aren’t content to wait this long for their second selection, especially if the draft’s flow suggests they might miss out on one of their top third-round targets. Marvin Mims would give them a speedy receiver to pair with a rookie like Downs, as well as Van Jefferson and Tutu Atwell, to form an ascending second-tier group behind Kupp.

Round 3, Pick 77: Tank Bigsby, RB, Auburn

Another pick, another hole to fill. A former five-star recruit, Tank Bigsby possesses bell-cow experience and three-down abilities. Take note of his 62 collegiate receptions, including 30 in his 12-game senior season.

Round 5, Pick 167: Rashad Torrence II, S, Florida

This is where things get more interesting. Will the Rams wait 90 picks before cashing out in the draft’s latter stages? I’d be surprised, but what do I know? For now, Rashad Torrence II likely would be a depth piece at this stage.

Round 5, Pick 171: Eric Gray, RB, Oklahoma

Eric Gray would hand L.A. another backfield option to assess this year as they try to figure out how to consistently employ an effective running game alongside the seemingly post-prime Matthew Stafford.

Round 5, Pick 177: Tyjae Spears, RB, Tulane

It might look like PFN’s MDS is having fun now, giving the Rams their third RB of the draft. But Tyjae Spears is an intriguing pick here. The recent Cotton Bowl MVP might have the chops to be a role player in Year 1, especially if Los Angeles discovers they don’t have enough to work with.

Round 6, Pick 182: Shaka Heyward, LB, Duke

More defensive help in the form of Shaka Heyward. To be blunt, I’d be shocked if the Rams keep all of these picks.

MORE: NFL Draft Order

Depth and developmental projects are nice. But they need playmakers now because if Stafford truly is on a career downturn, and if Kupp has perhaps one or two more great years remaining, it’s now or never before a mammoth rebuild is necessary.

Round 6, Pick 189: Payne Durham, TE, Purdue

Tyler Higbee will turn 31 during the 2023 season. Regardless, Payne Durham probably wouldn’t be the answer, providing more value as a blocking tight end than as a playmaker.

Round 6, Pick 191: Jalen Graham, LB, Purdue

Back-to-back Boilermakers. Jalen Graham would be another defensive depth piece.

Round 7, Pick 223: Malik Cunningham, QB, Louisville

Why not? L.A. doesn’t have a clear backup to Stafford. Malik Cunningham would be an exceptional dual-threat QB, though presently, he’s more refined in the running game than as a passer.

Round 7, Pick 234: Nick Herbig, EDGE, Wisconsin

One more defensive player to close things out, giving the Rams another “let’s see what he can do” guy in Nick Herbig. This is the nature of the NFL Draft and why some are won or lost based on whether a late-round pick strikes gold.

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