By Lucy Rendler-Kaplan // @LUCYrk78
The most excitement recently surrounding the LA Rams began even before the 2018 NFL Draft began! To begin with, the Rams already had a pretty solid roster. They then added wide receiver Brandin Cooks, defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh, cornerback Aqib Talib, and CB Marcus Peters.
I’ll admit, I’ve been a Suh fan for going on more than 10 years now, having worked with him and his agent closely at a previous job, although I recognize how polarizing he is. I was ecstatic when the Rams picked him up.
The draft may have started slowly for LA Rams fans, with no picks on the first day, but it quickly picked up momentum. On the second and third days of the draft, general manager Les Snead brought in 11 players.
As a new writer for the LA Rams, it’s taken me a few extra days to get caught up with the new 2018 NFL Draft Picks. Now that I have, let’s analyze how the draft went for the Rams:
Round 3, No. 89 overall: Joe Noteboom, OT, TCU: Noteboom is a solid player, but it was a bit of a surprise that he was drafted as their first pick. I believe general manager Les Snead could have (should have?) used this pick to draft a more pressing need. IF Andrew Whitworth retires after this season, then this pick will turn into a great decision and less of a surprise.
Round 4, No. 111 overall: Brian Allen, C, Michigan State: Another surprise pick, unless you look at Allen as Snead building for the future, over immediacy.
Round 4, No. 135 overall: John Franklin-Myers, DE, Stephen F. Austin: I think Rams fans were surprised that it took till their third pick that LA drafted an edge rusher. I believe this was the team’s greatest need, heading into the draft.
Round 5, No. 148 overall: Micah Kiser, LB, Virginia: I’m not sure that any of the Rams first three draft picks will see the field this season, but that changed when Kiser was drafted. He’s coming off a very productive college career, achieving 33.5 tackles for loss, 19 sacks, 12 passes defended and 8 forced fumbles in 37 games in the last three seasons at Virginia. He finished his senior year as a third-team All-America choice and first-team All-ACC. Out of the current linebackers on the squad, Mark Barron currently holds the only “for sure” spot, but I think Kiser can compete for field time with Cory Littleton, Ramik Wilson, and Bryce Hager.
Round 5, No. 160 overall: Obo Okoronkwo, LB, Oklahoma: Okoronkwo is another player that has the chance to become a starter this season. He can compete for playing time along with Matt Longacre and Samson Ebukam.
Round 6, No. 192 overall: Jamil Demby, OT, Maine: Demby is strong and put up great numbers at the Combine, but it’s unlikely he will play this season. I believe he was chosen as more of a developmental player.
Round 6, No. 195 overall: Sebastian Joseph, DT, Rutgers: Joseph was a three-year starter on the defensive line at Rutgers. He finished 2017 with 35 tackles and a forced fumble and I predict he’ll enter preseason workouts competing for a starting spot on the Rams.
Round 6, No. 205 overall: Trevon Young, DE, Louisville: I’m a bit wary of Young, only due to the fact that I’m not sure he’s fully recovered from a fractured hip injury, which kept him out of the entire 2016 season. Perhaps, for now, he can work on special teams, until he’s back to 100%.
Round 7, No. 231 overall: Travin Howard, LB, TCU: A+ pick. Howard is fast and led TCU in tackles for three consecutive years. I think we might see him on the starting line this season!
Round 7, No. 244 overall: Justin Lawler, DE, SMU: Lawler is a bit smaller than we’re used to seeing in this position. If he can bulk up and work on his speed a bit, I think he might develop into a great rookie.
All in all, I’d give the LA Rams draft a solid B, moving closer to a B+. Free agency will be interesting – hopefully, Snead will focus on increased depth and competition at the safety position. Follow along with us and tweet along with me @lucyrk78 and we get closer to the full 53-man roster!
Talk Rams with Lucy on Twitter // @LUCYrk78