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Draft Analysis

NFL Draft Needs: NFC West

by NBC Sports EDGE Staff
Updated On: April 18, 2020, 2:42 pm ET

The Rotoworld Football crew’s Ian HartitzNick MensioJohn Daigle and Hayden Winks are breaking down every team's biggest needs, division by division, and Josh Norris offers potential solutions in this month's NFL Draft.

For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.

Los Angeles Rams

Notable Offseason Additions: DT A'Shawn Robinson, OLB Leonard Floyd

Starting Offense

QB: Jared Goff
RB: Malcolm Brown
WR1: Robert Woods
WR2: Cooper Kupp
TE: Tyler Higbee
LT: Andrew Whitworth
LG: Austin Corbett
C: Brian Allen
RG: Austin Blythe
RT: Rob Havenstein

Starting Defense

DE: Aaron Donald
DE: Michael Brockers
NT: A'Shawn Robinson
MLB Micah Kiser
MLB: Justin Lawler
OLB: Leonard Floyd
OLB: Samson Ebukam
CB: Jalen Ramsey
CB: Troy Hill
SCB: Darious Williams
S: John Johnson
S: Taylor Rapp

Team Needs

Hartitz’s Analysis

Offensive line: The Rams failed to adequately replace LG Rodger Saffold or C John Sullivan in 2019 and suffered extreme regression from LT Andrew Whitworth. Jared Goff's contract is too expensive to move on from immediately. Ranking 19th in adjusted line yards per rush and allowing Goff to be pressured on 35.8% of his dropbacks isn't good for business.

Secondary: Obviously CB Jalen Ramsey is a baller, but the Rams still have another starting CB position to fill after trading both Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib. Slot CB Nickell Robey-Coleman (PFF's No. 19 ranked corner) is now in Philadelphia. Troy Hill (No. 12) was fantastic after stepping into the starting lineup, but at the very least the depth of the unit should be addressed. The same is true for the safety group after Eric Weddle announced his retirement.

Linebacker: Neither Samson Ebukam nor Leonard Floyd has shown the ability to be a high-end edge rusher to this point. Inside LBs Micah Kiser and Justin Lawler will attempt to replace stud LB Cory Littleton, who ranked among the league's top-six players in each of the last two seasons in combined pressures, pass deflections, interceptions and forced fumbles. The Rams are one of five teams with fewer than $10 million devoted to their LBs in 2020. More talent is needed across the board.

 

Rams' 2020 Draft Picks

Norris’ Options

2 (52). LT Hakeem Adeniji, Kansas - The Rams must elevate their offensive line, both in the present and planning for the future. Fans of the team blamed the front five for the demise of the offense. That’s what happens when a quarterback needs to operate in ideal situations, series after series, game after game. Currently, that same group stands to return in 2020. Adeniji is an athletic left tackle who can absolutely hold up in pass protection on an island. Maybe he could shift inside or to the right side if the team wanted to get him on the field early.

2 (57). EDGE Josh Uche, Michigan - A part-time player at Michigan, it would not be surprising if Uche’s best snaps were ahead of him. He presents great explosion, some dip and the skills to be a headache for offensive tackles. Uche was also super productive as an off-ball linebacker, blitzing from multiple alignments. His motor to close leads to production.  

3 (84). LB Willie Gay, Miss State - Gay really doesn’t have a full season of games under his belt. That’s worrisome, but he might be a top two round prospect if he played the same number of snaps as his peers. Gay is a dynamic athlete, closing and tracking balls in front of him in a flash. And he absolutely has the fluidity to travel in coverage down the seam. Corey Littleton’s 1,039 snaps obviously need to be replaced

3 (104). S Geno Stone, Iowa - Eric Weddle’s 1,031 snaps, second most on the defense, also need to be replaced. Enter Geno Stone, who absolutely flies around the field and finishes with intent. Stone spent 66% of his time at free safety, but also saw 18% of his snaps in the box and 14% in the slot.

4 (126). WR John Hightower, Boise State - Expect the Rams Offense to look quite different this season compared to the last few. Namely, more two receiver and two tight end sets. Still, the team might be on the lookout for a vertical playmaker, and Hightower is the name I keep going back to in order to fill that role.

6 (199). OL Cameron Clark, Charlotte - More offensive line depth. It’s a strong bet that Clark will move inside in the NFL, and his physical grip allows him to control his opponent once he gains inside leverage.

7 (234). CB Javelin Guidry, Utah - Guidry is a highly athletic slot corner with tremendous closing speed.

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