Our series “32 NFL mock drafts in 32 days” kicks off with the hosts of the 2022 Super Bowl, the LA Rams. Los Angeles made possibly the biggest move of the offseason when they acquired QB Matthew Stafford in a trade from the Detroit Lions. Out goes Jared Goff, two future first-rounders and a third in 2021. In comes a dynamic playmaker who is hoping to take this team to the next level; one who, even in his advanced age, is a clear upgrade over Goff.
The Rams are now trying to build their offense around Stafford’s strengths. After whiffing on Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, and John Ross, the Rams settled for a smaller contract with perennial burner, DeSean Jackson. The center position seems like the only problem the Rams could still address on offense, while the same can be said about pass-rusher on the defensive side.
With the Rams’ remaining $12 million in cap space (after allotting $5 million for rookie contracts), look for the team to lock up center Austin Blythe and then see who is still left on the pass-rushing market. Some names to keep an eye on are Ryan Kerrigan and Aldon Smith. Both have been greeted with a colder market than expected and could possibly be interested in a one-year “prove-it” deal in order to rehab their value and hit the market again in 2022 (when the salary cap is expected to jump exponentially).
After that, the Rams should not be expecting many starters to come from the last weekend of April. The main focus will be on finding depth and possibly some starters for 2022. That depth is going to be especially important on the defensive side of the ball, as many back-ups or injured players from 2021 (David Long, Travin Howard, Taylor Rapp, Greg Gaines, Obo Okoronkwo) are expected to take on larger roles for the Rams, leaving behind open spots for rookies. Who knows, maybe someone who is a projected backup emerges as a starter just as Jordan Fuller did in 2020. Let’s take a look at who the Rams might be targeting next month.
LA Rams 2021 NFL Mock Draft: Day Two
Trade: Rams Receive 64 and 123. Buccaneers receive 57 and 257.
2.64 | Spencer Brown | OT | Iowa
This is the only pick where I had the Rams trading up or down. In this scenario, all of the top pass-rushers are off the board when LA comes onto the clock, and they have a hard time deciding between the two Browns. Instead of Deonte, the Rams move down and grab Spencer. A huge, athletic tackle who can learn from Andrew Whitworth and even start in the case Rob Havenstein is dealt during the draft
3.88 | Ben Cleveland | OL | Georgia
Cleveland was a pick back in my previous rams mock. Cleveland fills the role of a backup that is playing multiple positions, something that always comes in handy late in the season. Your depth will be tested, that is no question. The Rams need to have the correct answers come January, and Cleveland could be one of the variables in that equation.
3 (comp) | Joe Tryon | EDGE | Washington
Tryon will have a lot to prove coming into the NFL. The scouting reports say he is too slow to play OLB and too small to play the defensive end position. Tell that to the players he lined up against in the Pac-12. The 262-lb EDGE rusher comes into the league with a ready-made skill set of pass-rush moves, scheme versatility, and even a little room to add weight to his frame. Tryon is not getting some of the hype of other pass-rushers, and the Rams have got to be loving that.
LA Rams 2021 NFL Mock Draft: Day Three
4.123 | Divine Deablo | DB | Virginia Tech
Some may say that Deablo is just a faster version of Taylor Rapp and to that I say….so what? That type of player can certainly help a defense that needs help from their safeties in the run game. With Raheem Morris utilizing more one-high safety looks in 2021, it will be even more paramount that the team gets fast players and tacklers into the other spots. Deablo fills both of those categories.
4 (comp) | Tyson Campbell | CB | Georgia
Campbell is a bit of a project at this point. He is an outstanding athlete but has got to stop “face guarding” his opponents and learn to mirror. Those are techniques that the Rams have perfected over the last few years and Campbell could be their latest hidden gem. Could Tyson be in the mold of Troy Hill, Fuller, and Darious Williams? It is certainly possible, and even if it doesn’t happen, this is a worthwhile pick based on Campbell’s athleticism alone.
6.209 | Joshua Kaindoh | EDGE | Florida State
Another dart throw for the Rams. Kaindoh was a highly-sought-after prospect at Florida State but never really lived up to the hype. He is very talented and athletic but the motor runs hot and cold and he needs to get stronger. Still, at this point in the draft, getting players this explosive is a big bonus for LA.
LA Rams 2021 NFL Mock Draft Recap
The team did not really address the interior of the defensive line, but the opportunity simply never presented itself. You can only reach so far for a “position of need”. If there are better players on the board, regardless of position, you have to consider all of your options. Every time the Rams came up in this mock draft, the value of a DT was just not there.
In a situation like this, the Rams would simply pivot to more snaps for the starting defensive lineman. Any IOL the team brings in for 2021 would be playing a marginal amount of snaps, anyways.
So, that is what I think the Rams would do in this scenario, what do you think? Comment below, or on Twitter and let me know!
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