Los Angeles Rams NFL Draft Recap/Grade – 2018
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Los Angeles Rams Draft Picks (2018)
Key Positional Needs Entering Draft
- Inside Linebacker
- Tight End
- Defensive End/Outside Linebacker
The Los Angeles Rams did not make a selection during the 2018 NFL Draft until late in the 3rd round pursuant to several trades including the acquisition of wide receiver Brandin Cooks for this year’s 1st round pick. As a result this draft class will undoubtedly leave their fan base burning up Google and YouTube to figure out what they got. However, the Rams maneuvered around to create depth going into the draft with 8 picks and walking away with 11 players. They already have so many quality players, they needed some quantity. The draft is the least expensive way to acquire the aforementioned depth. Let’s see what the Los Angeles Rams ultimately did with their selections.
First of all, the Los Angeles Rams are bringing back all 5 starters along their offensive line. That is huge and there aren’t many other teams that are able to say that. Even though the Rams have continuity up front the offensive line is not necessarily young so L.A. used their first pick in the 3rd round to grab depth at offensive tackle. They added another tackle in the 6th to develop and they also grabbed Brian Allen from Michigan State a Center that could learn behind Roger Saffold and John Sullivan on the inside. Allen has starter potential, comes with a ton of experience, and brings a lot of leadership to the table. Noteboom has the size and strength to develop into a starter as well.
The defense underwent a major overhaul this off-season, replacing several starters and gaining several All-Pro players. The Los Angeles Rams’ brain-trust wanted to add depth at every level of the defense and they accomplished that by adding seven players to their front 7 including: two edge rushers, four defensive lineman and one inside linebacker. It’s a copy cat league and the Eagles re-emphasized the importance of having depth along the defensive line. The Rams should be able to keep that defensive line fresh with the talent they added in the draft. The Okoronkwo and Young should compete for immediate playing time on the edge.
Overall, the Los Angeles Rams looked at the 2018 prospects and concluded that no receiver in this year’s draft class would make a bigger impact in 2018 than Brandin Cooks and they added youth and depth to several key positions adding 11 players not including un-drafted free agents. I gave them a C+ focusing solely on the players they selecte because most of the picks were developmental players that would need a lot of coaching before we should expect for them to make an impact. However, their off-season as a whole gets a BIG, FAT A+.
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo was my favorite pick because he is the one player in the Rams 2018 draft class most certain to have an immediate impact. The Rams off-season left very few holes, but trading away Robert Quinn to do Dolphins left them in need of some pass rush on the outside. Obo was very productive in the last 2 seasons. He fell in the draft because he lacks that length and size that is prototypical for elite edge rushers. At 6’2” 253, he piled up 17 sacks, 29 tackles for loss, 5 passes defended, and 5 forced fumbles in 26 games the last 2 seasons. He is a high motor guy that should be able to bring some outside pass rush and will benefit from the combination of Suh and Donald in the middle of that Rams defense.
Fantasy Football Implications
The only fantasy relevant player the Los Angeles Rams picked up in this draft was John Kelly who I think was a great value selection for the Rams and could have competed on most rosters for playing time. He is a volume back that shows good balance and does the dirty work between the tackles. Watch his tape against the Florida Gators and you will gain a new appreciation for John Kelly. He’s a solid dynasty stash and is going to be the Todd Gurley handcuff although he won’t see the field much in 2018 barring injury to Gurley.