While NFL general managers and related personnel sweat it out in stuffy war rooms during the 2021 NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Rams will be making their Day 2 and 3 selections in a decked out resort pad in Malibu, California. Because of the Jalen Ramsey trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Rams do not have a first-round pick in this year’s draft. But under the Sean McVay regime, the Rams have done a pretty banner job of nabbing solid talent in later rounds. This year, the first pick the Rams will have comes in the second round at 57 overall.
Although there are not many holes this current roster, the team could use a few young sparkplugs at certain positions to really get the ball rolling– literally.
Rams Draft History Repeats Itself
The Rams actually have quite the history when it comes to the 57th pick. Dating back to 1949, with the selection of Charles Reynolds out of Texas Tech, the franchise has chosen seven players at the 57th slot. Another player of note that was taken with that pick is Rob Havenstein, who has dutifully started at right tackle for the Rams going on six years now. Most recently, the team selected wide receiver Van Jefferson out of Florida with the 57th pick in last year’s NFL Draft.
Who Should the Rams Draft With Day 2 Picks?
Even with the losses of key players, like safety John Johnson III, Troy Hill, Michael Brockers and Austin Blythe in this tumultuous NFL Free Agency period, the Rams still field one of the most complete rosters in the league. But there is always room for improvement, and if this team wants to compete for a Super Bowl, there are a few needs that need to take priority in the draft. Other than the 57th pick in the second round, the Rams have two picks in the third round (88 and 103).
One of the biggest holes that needs addressing is the interior offensive line, especially after the departure of Blythe. One player that could potentially be a steal for the team is Alabama’s Landon Dickerson. If not for a checkered injury history, Dickerson would be projected to go much higher than the late second round (and still could potentially). He is a punishing, physical center who knows how to use his body to attack multiple defenders at a time.
Another wise choice for the team would be Dickerson’s Alabama teammate Alex Leatherwood. Leatherwood primarily played tackle at the collegiate level, but has said that he would not mind switching to guard at the pro level and has experience playing both positions. While he has the strength and aggressiveness to be a cornerstone at the pro level, some scouts believe that Leatherwood would make a better fit at guard at the NFL level because he sometimes struggles against speedy edge rushers. Another prospect that has been linked with the Rams is Cincinnati’s offensive tackle James Hudson — another sturdy blocker.
Should the Rams Draft Defense?
Another area of immediate concern for the Rams is the inside linebacker position. LSU’s Jabril Cox should be available at the 57th spot. Even though Cox is used to a 4-3 scheme rather than the 3-4 scheme that the Rams run, his elite coverage ability and ability to thrive in space could potentially make him a dangerous cog in defensive coordinator Raheem Morris’ revamped defense. There is a very, very slight chance that Tulsa’s Zaven Collins falls to the Rams at 57, and it would behoove the team to select him. Collins is not only adept at making big tackles in the run game, but his coverage abilities are top-notch as well. But the team may decide to hedge their bets on one of their later Day 2 picks in the third round at 88 or 103, because finding serviceable talent at the inside linebacker position is historically more of surefire thing than other positions.
At least one of those latter Day 2 picks should probably be focused on the cornerback position. David Long Jr. has been impressive in his limited snaps on the field, but the team could surely use (at the very least) depth given the loss of Troy Hill this offseason. The Rams have brought in a cavalcade of secondary prospects for workouts over the last few weeks. One prospect that could potentially be perfect for the team is Florida State’s Asante Samuel Jr. In just eight games last season, Samuel Jr. picked off three passes, broke up another three passes, recovered two fumbles and forced a fumble on his own. Having Samuel Jr. opposite Ramsey could potentially be a dream come true for the Rams. Other cornerbacks that could develop into core starters are Washington’s Elijah Molden or even Oregon’s Thomas Graham Jr.
As is the new normal with this team, the Rams have limited draft capital to work with. The plus side, however, is that there will be no shortage of talent for them to choose from with the picks they do have. Although Day 2 picks are of course not as sexy as Day 1 picks, the Rams are in prime position to capitalize on what they have to work with.