The Los Angeles Rams came ever so close to hoisting the Lombardi Trophy last season. If they wish to have the chance to fix that, they have to nail this upcoming NFL draft.
The Rams have some ammunition in this draft but have a late first round pick at #31. Picking at 31 is an awkward situation, as it is late enough to lose out on most of the top-tier talent, but is not early enough to justify reaching on a lesser player. What can the Rams do in this scenario?
Option One: Trade Down
While many fans wish to see their next new star walk across the stage and grab his jersey, it sometimes is unrealistic to expect that. After pick #31, the Rams do not select again until pick #94. That is well over 60 players gone in between those selections. In a time where the Rams do not have any glaring needs on the roster, a trade is likely. What could the Rams get for pick #31? Since the 2010 draft, here are the trades that have occurred from picks 30-32 where the team traded down:
2010: Minnesota traded pick #30 and a fourth-round pick to Detroit for #34, a fourth-round pick, and a seventh-round pick (Lions selected RB Jahvid Best).
2012: Denver traded pick #31 and a fourth-round pick to Tampa Bay for #36 and a fourth-round pick (Buccaneers selected RB Doug Martin).
2014: Seattle traded pick #32 to Minnesota for #40 and a fourth-round pick (Vikings selected QB Teddy Bridgewater).
2017: Seattle traded pick #31 to San Francisco for pick #34 and a fourth-round pick (49ers selected LB Reuben Foster).
2017: New England traded pick #32 and a third-round pick to New Orleans for WR Brandin Cooks and a fourth-round pick.
2018: Philadelphia traded pick #32 and a fourth-round pick to Baltimore for #52, a fourth-round pick, and a 2019 second-round pick (Ravens selected QB Lamar Jackson).
Typically, these deals have been for a high second round pick and a pick swap in the fourth round. The Rams have pick #133 in the fourth, so moving up into picks #103-110 would be a boost for the Rams draft. The strength of this upcoming draft is in its depth, and the Rams could capitalize on that.
Option Two: Player Trade?
The Rams have been rather aggressive with their draft picks and have shown no issue trading for players. Last season, they traded pick #23 of the 2018 draft for WR Cooks. They also made the trades for CB Marcus Peters and LB Dante Fowler Jr. Could they go that route again this year? If this deal were to happen, it would likely occur on draft day.
Option Three: Draft a Prospect
This route is the common one, and for a good reason. At pick #31, who are some of the potential targets the Rams could choose? The Rams have a common theme of drafting Senior Bowl players. Using the handy visit tracker the folks at Downtown Rams uploaded, we can narrow down the list of names for pick #31 by their first-round tape and these visits.
- OT Andre Dillard, Washington State
- OT Dalton Risner, Kansas State
- CB Amani Oruwariye, Penn State
- S Nasir Adderley, Delaware
If we expand past the criteria of Senior Bowl to just offseason visits, we can add
- C Erik McCoy, Texas A&M
- EDGE Clelin Ferrell, Clemson
- IDL Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame
- EDGE Montez Sweat, Mississippi State
- IDL Dexter Lawrence, Clemson
- EDGE Chase Winovich, Michigan
Analyzing the visits
With the departure of key players like Ndamukong Suh, Rodger Saffold, and John Sullivan, the Rams have holes to patch in the trenches. Looking at the names on this list, it’s clear the Rams are looking heavily into fixing those spots in the draft. Interior offensive line, defensive linemen, and secondary players seem to be the theme for the Rams draft.
Winovich seems like the perfect match of talent, need, and draft slot. Winovich is teammates with uber-athlete Rashan Gary, who is expected to be drafted before Winovich in the first round. Chase Winovich is a great pass rusher in his own right, with a fantastic toolbox of pass rushing moves to pair with a relentless motor. If the Rams wanted to address the pass rush, Winovich would be a great pick for the Rams.