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Rams Mock Draft: There’s so much work ahead, but it is never too early to project

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  • Rams Mock Draft: There’s so much work ahead, but it is never too early to project

    Rams Mock Draft: There’s so much work ahead, but it is never too early to project
    By Vincent Bonsignore Dec 26, 2018

    The​ Rams still aren’t sure​ who​ they’ll​ play in the​ first round of​ the playoffs,​ let alone​ whether they’ll skip​ the Wild​​ Card round by earning a free pass through the first week, so you can probably imagine where they are in the process of finalizing their 2019 draft plans.

    Put it this way, we haven’t even gotten to the main course of the college football bowl season, so there is still an incredible amount of scouting, background checking, analyzing and assessing to do before anyone can truly say they’ve got a handle on next April’s draft.

    And that doesn’t even account for the self-scouting they’ll do of their current roster to decide what their most pressing needs might be.

    (Hint: The Rams will be looking for defensive help, specifically on the defensive line, edge pass rusher, linebacker and safety and there is always room for young cornerbacks and offensive linemen to groom. Granted, some of those areas will be filled through free agency, which precedes the draft by a month, but for every hole that gets filled another is liable to be created.)

    Keep in mind, safety Lamarcus Joyner, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and outside linebacker Dante Fowler Jr. are all unrestricted free agents at the end of the season, and how their situations unfold will go a long way in determining where the Rams zero in come April.

    That said, while most hands are on deck as the Rams prepare to mount a postseason march they hope reaches Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta, an incredible amount of resources and staff hours are being devoted to a future that extends well beyond this season.

    Specifically, maximizing the seven picks they expect to have when the draft unfolds in Nashville in four months.

    As we sit today, general manager Les Snead and his scouting staff continue to chip away at their draft board. They’ll typically assemble a 150-player big board and, considering the pace of these things, are likely nearing the halfway point of that process.

    But there are still a ton of data banks left to tap into as they tweak and tinker and adjust that board over the next few months, including the Jan. 15 deadline for college juniors to decide whether they are declaring for the draft or returning for their senior years. The official infusion of those juniors to the current crop of prospects will certainly change draft boards across the NFL.

    Beyond that are big-time scouting events at the East-West Shrine game on Jan. 19 in St. Petersberg, Fla., which features more than 100 FBS Division I players, and the Senior Bowl a week later in Mobile Alabama.

    The NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis takes place in late February, at which more than 300 prospects will be poked, prodded and tested at Lucas Oil Stadium and teams can visit individually with a maximum of 60 players. That sets the stage for the additional private workouts teams will invite players to go through to at their team facilities, on top of college Pro Day workouts respective colleges put together for their draft prospects.

    Needless to say, there is still a vast amount of work to be done as the Rams set their draft board and identify their needs and role play every imaginable scenario that might play out in the hours and minutes and seconds leading up to their picks.

    Four months from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell identifying the Rams top pick at the end of the first round, we’ve put together a blueprint of what we might actually see unfold for them over the course of those three days in Nashville.

    The Rams currently hold four picks, with their second-round pick being dealt to the Kansas City Chiefs last March for Marcus Peters and their third-round pick going to Jacksonville at the trade deadline for outside linebacker Dante Fowler Jr.

    However, the club will get compensatory picks for losing Trumaine Johnson, Sammy Watkins, Derek Carrier and possible Cody Davis in free agency. The Rams remain hopeful that will mean two third-round picks for Johnson and Peters and either a sixth or seventh-round pick for Carrier.

    Let’s assume it’s two thirds and a seventh rounder. That means they’ll have a pick — or two — in every round but the second and seven picks total.

    This is how we see them proceeding if that remains the case:

    1. Jerry Tillery, DT, ND
    The Rams simply have not gotten the production they had hoped for from Suh when they signed him as a free agent last offseason. Whether it’s a scheme issue, a position situation or just the natural erosion due to age, Suh has not been as productive as the Rams expected. And with Aaron Donald hitting his peak years, it’s vital they add a viable, productive complimentary piece next to him that teams must account for and can also take advantage of all the attention Donald gets. The 6-foot-7, 305-pound Tillery has played inside during his four-year career at Notre Dame and could be a Day One starter for the Rams either as a replacement for Suh at noseguard or sliding over to end playing between a tackle and guard. He’s got the power and quickness to excel inside or outside, where his length, speed and pass rush ability can shine.

    3. Jaylon Ferguson, OLB, Louisiana Tech
    While Fowler has added the dynamic of speed off the edge since his arrival at the trade deadline, he’s an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year, leaving his long-range status in Los Angeles uncertain. Fellow outside linebacker Sampson Ebukam is a first-year starter, and his production reflects his inexperience and how raw he was coming out of Eastern Washington two years ago. Collectively, the Rams have not gotten the push they hoped for off the edge, a component vital to Wade Phillips’ 3-4 defense and one they will certainly be looking for in free agency and the draft. The Rams do have rookie Ogbonnia Okoronkwo on the roster, and the redshirt year he’s essentially taken since breaking his foot in OTA’s should not be taken as a negative on his potential. The Rams remain eager to find out what they have in the Oklahoma edge rusher, especially with a full offseason and training camp under his belt. For that matter, the learning curve for Ebukam was expected, and the Rams still have big hopes for him. That said, grabbing a young pass rusher in the draft is of utmost importance, and if one of the higher rated prospects fall to them at the end of the first round it would shock no one if they went in that direction with their first pick. Either way, Ferguson represents value in the third round as his speed and explosiveness and body type make him a potential fit in the Rams 3-4 scheme.

    3. Vosean Joseph, ILB, Florida
    Cory Littleton has enjoyed a solid season in his first year as a starting inside linebacker and figures prominently in the Rams plans. But he heads into the 2019 offseason as a restricted free agent, so nothing is guaranteed. Fellow ILB Mark Barron has two years left on his contract but, considering his injury issues and underwhelming production compared to what he’s paid, he’s a potential salary cap casualty. The Rams will be looking for upgrades inside regardless, and Joseph offers an intriguing skill set as an active, instinctual run stopper who can see and play through blocks and, despite is smaller stature, packs a major punch when he meets up with ballcarriers. He also has the necessary athletic ability to develop into at least an average pass defender.

    4. Iman Marshall, CB, USC
    The Rams are set at cornerback next year with Aqib Talib and Peters expected back, and valuable slot corner Nickell Robey-Coleman under contract through 2020. But that peace of mind has an expiration date as Peters and Talib are scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency after the 2019 season. Marshall represents great value at this point in the draft as a rookie role player with the potential to develop into a starter later in his career. Marshall had his struggles at USC but flashed enough playmaking ability and skill to make a case some of his issues can be eliminated with better coaching.

    5. Mike Edwards, S, Kentucky
    With Lamarcus Joyner’s status uncertain with his pending free agency, the Rams have a definite need to develop a young safety alongside John Johnson, who has developed into a Pro Bowl caliber player in just his second year. Edwards is a sound, productive and tenacious tackler and continues to improve in pass coverage.

    6. Drew Sample, TE, Washington
    Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee have been more involved in the offense as the season has unfolded, and Everett is a player to keep an eye on moving forward as a big-time target for Jared Goff. Higbee has settled in as a productive blocker and, when called upon this year, more reliable in the pass game. But the Rams will be on the lookout for another tight end they can groom and Sample is a young player whose best football is in front of him.

    7. Lanard Bonner, OT, Arkansas State
    The Rams are always on the lookout for developmental offensive linemen and Bonner, who has played both tackles during his college career, could have the versatility to move to a guard spot.


  • #2
    I love this time of year. Santa leaves with his bag of presents, and Nick comes in with his bag of prospects.
    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    Comment


    • #3
      Few thoughts....

      a) i think this draft outlook assumes that Allen is good enough to take over the starting center spot;

      b) that Saffold is given a contract extension.

      c) I would NOT wait until day 3 for a cb or safety, but I would for a LB (translation: I would grab a player for the secondary in the 3rd, and look for my linebacker(s) in the 4th or 5th)

      d) Losing Fox and Easley really hurt the line this year; ultimately, I'm ok with getting a DT early. I think the allure for Tillery is that he can bounce to DE depending on package... that might be the tandem AD needs. But a hog at NT are plenty available later in the draft if the Rams just need a space eater. If so, I think you grab a different position in the 1st and get a hog later. Depends on what son of bum wants/needs


      cheers - go rams

      Comment


      • #4
        Great minds think alike. I too looked at Jerry Tillary as a good option for us in round 1 based on drafting late'20's early '30's. I was also looking at Zach Brown of Boston College, although he is a lighter weight DL. My attraction was his run stopping ability. We keep thinking pass/edge rusher is a draft priority and it is important. But I'm hoping we find a way to sign Fowler and add a run stopper in our DL. Our run defense this year was less than stout.

        I like that Bonner is versatile as I feel we need more depth at OG than we currently have on the roster. I would hope Vosean Joseph is the 2019 version of Leighton Vander Esch if we select him. You're right about Barron. I too felt that he'd be a salary cap casualty after the season ends. If we lose Lamarcus Joyner he'll need to be replaced either in FA or sooner than round 5, IMO.

        Good first stab. Go Rams!

        Comment

        Related Topics

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        • Nick
          Nick's "Wait, we've only got a month to go?" Rams Mock Draft (ver. 1)
          by Nick
          We are a little less than a month away from the NFL Draft, so i thought I’d throw together a Rams mock. I used The Draft Network’s mock draft simulator, which I’m finding fascinating and enjoyable every time I use it. Here are the results I got from today’s simulation, with some explanations behind the picks...


          1.31: DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia
          -With this pick, I was prioritizing offensive and defensive linemen as well as edge rushers, but Baker was the best value on the board. Both Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib are entering contract years, and even if the Rams bring Peters back, Talib is 33-years-old and shouldn’t be counted on for the long haul. Baker might be a bit of luxury pick, but it allows the Rams to groom an eventual starter at a position that is very important to Wade Phillips’s scheme.

          3.94: Connor McGovern, OL, Penn State
          -The Rams obviously need offensive line help, whether it’s merely depth behind some worthy starters or someone to push for starting time along the inside. McGovern was again one of the best values on the board at this spot, and I think he offers the Rams starter potential down the road. Austin Blythe is a free agent after this year, and eventually Joe Noteboom will shift to left tackle. McGovern could be groomed to take the left or right guard spot in 2020 while providing immediate depth.

          3.99: Daylon Mack, DL, Texas A&M
          -Many mocks have the Rams looking for defensive tackle help in the first round, and rightfully so. While the Rams have replaced LaMarcus Joyner and have retained Dante Fowler, they haven’t filled the hole left by Ndamukong Suh. Texas A&M’s Daylon Mack is surprisingly explosive for his size, and can help in run defense the way Suh was expected to.

          4.133: Wyatt Ray, LB, Boston College
          -The Rams brought Dante Fowler back on a one-year contract, so he’s still essentially in that “prove me” stage with the team. I don’t think he’s done enough to warrant a big extension, but his addition certainly improved the defense in 2018. That being said, the Rams need more help rushing the passer from guys not named Aaron Donald. Clay Matthews will be a short term option across from Fowler, and while the Rams have some bodies they’d like to see develop, it’s worth taking a shot on another one here on Day Three with Ray.

          5.169: Will Harris, DB, Boston College
          -I kind of feel that Harris being available in the fifth round was a bit of a steal in this simulation, but I might be higher on him than some. Harris, to me, is just an all around solid player. He’s probably not going to wow you, but he is a reliable starter at the college level who could learn for a year or two behind Weddle before eventually - maybe - taking his place in the starting line-up. Worst case scenario, a guy like Harris sticks on your roster as a valuable backup and special teams player.

          6.203: Karan Higdon, RB, Michigan
          ...
          -03-29-2019, 04:40 PM
        • Harry S. Truman
          Mock Draft- Off-Season
          by Harry S. Truman
          First, here's my predicted free agent signings..

          - Chase Blackburn
          OLB
          Giants

          - He's a steady tackler, not much of a pass rusher, but he's consistent all around otherwise. On top of things, he's got a good work ethic, and is familiar with a Spagnulo run defense. At 26, he's still got some upside yet.

          - Leigh Bodden
          CB
          Patriots

          - Bodden was New England's best DB in 2009, picking off 5 passes, while racking up 55 tackles and more importantly helping New England improve their pass defense, and was crucial in helping the Pats cut their allowed passing touchdown numbers.

          - Charlie Whitehurst
          QB
          Chargers

          Has a good arm with accuracy, good size for the position and has spent his first three seasons in the NFL learning behind one of the NFL's best young QB (Phillip Rivers) and a very good QB developer as Head Coach (Norv Turner).

          Rivers has actually gone on record and said that Whitehurst is overdue for a starting QB opportunity, and stated when he gets the chance, some team will be glad they gave him that shot.

          I view Whitehurst as a low risk, high reward pickup. He likely won't cost much, and if he develops, the Rams have their QB situation solved. If not, it was a low risk signing and they can focus their attentions to adding a QB in the first in next year's draft.

          Re-sign

          O.J. Atogwe
          Alex Barron
          Leonard Little

          Lastly.. Bring back Bulger as a backup.

          And.. The draft.

          Round 1
          - Ndamukong Suh
          DT
          Nebraska

          Suh is just what the doctor ordered for this defense. I think they've already got some pieces in place for future success, Suh will be the addition that could make them that much stronger. Suh, Long and Laurinitis is a very solid core, and one that could be dangerous for years to come.

          Traditionally, teams don't spend #1 overall picks, and the money associated with it on Defensive Tackles.. Then again, Suh isn't your traditional DT.

          Round 2
          - Brandon LaFell
          WR
          LSU

          I think WR is the biggest weakness on the Rams offense. While I like Donnie Avery, they need more.

          I think LaFell could quietly, when it's all said and done, become the best of this class. He has good route running skills and leaping ability; good size; good field vision and body control; has a competitive streak a mile long; is very productive and gets good YPC numbers because of his ability to break tackles and take hits. He's not going to ever win a foot race. He isn't slow by any means, but his timed sped won't ever wow you, however his other intangibles more than make up for the "lack of speed".

          He reminds me a large amount of Dwayne Bowe (and not just because both went to LSU). Bowe has quietly had a very good start to his career...
          -02-11-2010, 04:33 PM
        • Nick
          Kiper Mock Draft 1.0: Rams go quarterback in first round
          by Nick
          Mel Kiper's 2016 NFL Mock Draft 1.0
          Jan 14, 2016
          Mel Kiper Jr.


          Welcome to another draft season. I've been ranking this class officially on the site since May, but I know many of you don't consider draft season officially underway until mock drafts start popping up.


          A few reminders at this (very) early stage in the game. For one, NFL personnel folks are still really early in their evaluations. Nobody has a draft board yet, and we still have postseason all-star games, combine testing, medicals and individual workouts to get through. Drafting for need isn't a great idea in most cases -- GMs really do mean it most of the time when they say, "We took the best player available" -- and I'm especially leery of making need the big issue here. Every team has at least a dozen roster moves to make (and for some, twice that), and there's also free agency. "Need" isn't a clear term yet. Lastly, there could still be an underclassmen or two who decides to jump into the draft. That said, off we go.


          A player with an asterisk next to his name has a year of eligibility remaining. Two asterisks implies two years.




          1. Tennessee Titans


          *Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio St.


          Getting the best defensive lineman in any draft really transcends need. Every team wants great D-linemen, and Bosa has the upside of a star. He's a dominant pass-rusher who piled up 51.0 tackles for loss over three seasons despite running into a steady supply of double-teams, and he's also outstanding against the run. You can move him around on the line at will. The son of a former first-round pick, he comes in ready to contribute.




          2. Cleveland Browns


          *Jared Goff, QB, Cal


          It goes without saying the Browns need to take a hard look at quarterbacks, and Hue Jackson should have the chance to start fresh with someone other than Johnny Manziel. Goff has tremendous talent and upside. He has shown off an NFL arm since he arrived at Cal and has a great mind for the game. He has also shown how resilient he can be, growing with and leading that team at Cal, which would be a great trait in Cleveland.




          3. San Diego Chargers


          *Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss


          Ken Whisenhunt is back at offensive coordinator for the Chargers, and the immediate need for this team is going to be figuring out a way to keep Philip Rivers upright. Injuries have decimated the Chargers' offensive line, and adding Tunsil means they get an immediate starter. This kid is a flat-out gifted left tackle prospect, the kind of player who could go No. 1 overall to Tennessee. Get him here and you'll be pleased.




          4. Dallas Cowboys


          DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon


          It's rare to find a team picking...
          -01-17-2016, 01:30 PM
        • Nick
          NFLDraftCountdown's 2005 2-Round Mock (1/17/05)
          by Nick
          Scott Wright's 2005 MOCK DRAFT - January 17th, 2005

          1. San Francisco 49'ers: Aaron Rodgers, QB, California

          This is a team in flux with a new front office and coaching staff coming in but more often than not any good rebuilding effort centers around a franchise quarterback. Tim Rattay can be an excellent backup in the league but anything more would have to be considered wishful thinking so with the #1 overall pick they have the opportunity to bring in a centerpiece to rejuvenate the franchise. This is a close call and Alex Smith of Utah also has a good shot at being the first quarterback selected but I give the edge to Rodgers because of his local ties as well as his growing up a fan of the 49'ers. Simply put, he understands what this franchise once was and will take a personal interest in helping to restore that luster. Don't be fooled though, Rodgers is more than deserving of the #1 overall pick based on talent alone and is one of the few players in this Draft who I feel has true star potential. He doesn't have the height you would prefer but his mechanics are textbook and flawless, he is smart after having been tutored by noted quarterback guru Jeff Tedford, he has a great arm and his accuracy is nothing short of amazing. Keep in mind that this is a team that has developed a reputation for being cheap lately so you can't rule out them trading down to save money, but doing so would likely eliminate any chance of landing either of the two franchise signal callers. In my mind there is no doubt that San Francisco should stay at #1 overall and select a quarterback.

          2. Miami Dolphins: Cedric Benson, RB, Texas

          There is a new sheriff in town and a lot will depend on how Nick Saban assesses the talent on the team, but A.J. Feeley played much better down the stretch and after already investing a high second round pick in him you would think they would be inclined to give him another shot. What this team really lacks is a stud running back after Ricky Williams abruptly retired on them just before the start of training camp. Remember, this was a team with Super Bowl aspirations and the only major change was the loss of Williams so you have to believe that major strides could be made if they can bring that running game back to life. Cedric Benson is one of the most productive running backs in college football history and is a sure thing who will be a 1,000+ yard rusher as a rookie in the NFL. With three great running backs available the Dolphins may look to move down a little and try to recoup the second round pick they dealt to Philadelphia to acquire Feeley and then nab Cadillac Williams or Ronnie Brown later in the top ten if possible. You can't completely rule out Aaron Rodgers or Alex Smith here since Feeley was far from impressive for most of the season and with Saban's defensive roots he may want to bring in some talent on that side of the ball as well, but when all is said and done my money...
          -01-19-2005, 09:10 AM
        • Nick
          2019 NFL Mock Draft: Dolphins, Broncos, Chargers, Jaguars land new quarterbacks
          by Nick
          2019 NFL Mock Draft: Dolphins, Broncos, Chargers, Jaguars land new quarterbacks
          Defense is the name of the game in the top five, but four QBs still go in the top 32 picks
          By R.J. White
          @rjwhite1
          CBSSports.com Apr 29, 2018 • 12 min read

          The 2018 NFL Draft is now behind us, which means it's time to get cracking on 2019 NFL Draft preparation.

          Here's an extremely early look at how the 2019 draft could play out. Attention was paid to contract situations heading into next offseason, though some assumptions were made that certain star players would stay with their respective teams.

          One thing to note is that there is some monster defensive line talent that could be available next year, including four players from Clemson alone. If the teams that drafted new franchise QBs this year struggle to win games in 2018, they should be well-positioned to land a blue-chip defender next year.

          Looking for a hot new podcast that's your home for all things NFL? Look no further. The Pick 6 Podcast with Will Brinson has you covered every weekday morning with new episodes around 30 minutes each. Subscribe: via iTunes | via Stitcher | via TuneIn | via Google Play.

          The draft order in this mock was determined by using SportsLine's projections before the 2018 NFL Draft. So if your favorite team is picking too high, please note that we're not taking into account that they aced this past draft and are definitely winning the Super Bowl next year.

          Round 1
          1. Cleveland Browns
          Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State. It's possible this Bosa has more upside than his brother Joey, who has only dominated as a pass-rusher in his first two years in the league. If Cleveland ends up with the No. 1 pick for a third year straight, they should consider adding an elite defensive lineman like Bosa after passing on Bradley Chubb in 2018.

          2. New York Giants
          A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss. The Giants will probably want to take a quarterback here, unless Davis Webb or fourth-round pick emerge as a potential long-term starter this year, but which QB will it be? Take your pick of four or five guys at this point. I expect at least one to emerge as a top-of-the-draft type talent, but at this point, let's slot in Brown. He should still shine amidst the Ole Miss program's drama, and the Giants must find talent at receiver next year, especially if Odell Beckham isn't returning.

          3. New York Jets
          Dexter Lawrence, DL, Clemson. The massive Lawrence is in for a massive season with Clemson. Even if his stats don't come out looking impressive, coaches are going to fall in love with his ability to wreck offensive lines. The Jets have said goodbye to multiple talented linemen in recent years, and here's the guy who could be the next in line for this defense. Leonard Williams will be in his expensive option year in 2019, so this is also insurance that the line will still have...
          -04-30-2018, 04:45 PM
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