I’m back with another mock draft for the Los Angeles Rams. Since my last mock draft, players have risen or dropped considerably down the board and of course, the Rams have since traded away their first-round pick. So now, here is my fourth Rams mock draft.
3rd round – 87th overall: Uchenna Nwosu, EDGE, USC (6-3, 251 pounds)
The captain for the USC Trojans was a menace for passers alike in the Pac-12 conference. From Josh Rosen and Luke Falk to Justin Herbert, Nwosu did not back down. His impressive display of relentless pursuit, athleticism and almost 35-inch arms makes him quite the big deal. Now, with the Rams not having a first-round pick due to the recent acquisition of Brandin Cooks, they will likely need to hit it out of the park with talent in this draft. I believe Nwosu will be a steal in the third but I do believe he will be there at this pick for the Los Angeles Rams.
The team has Nickell Robey-Coleman, Robert Woods and Justin Davis who all played at USC and Nwosu would join them if this pick indeed happened. Nwosu still has an enormous amount of upside after starting the sport at the end of his high school career. I believe that Nwosu and Samson Ebukam would be a nightmare for teams that already will have to figure out how to block a trio of Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh and Michael Brockers but also be able to throw on Aqib Talib, Marcus Peters, Robey- Coleman, Sam Shields, LaMarcus Joyner and John Johnson III.
This pick would clearly fill a need at the outside linebacker spot that is pretty big right now. It’s uncertain how big of a role last year’s day three selection EJuan Price would play on this team but it’s worth noting that they cut him during the season and placed him on the practice squad. Nwosu would upgrade a defense that is almost complete and would provide everything that this organization needs as far as character and play on the field.
4th round – 111th overall (via Miami): Kalen Ballage, RB, Arizona State (6-1, 228 pounds)
The Rams let go of Lance Dunbar and while they have Malcolm Brown and Justin Davis on the roster, neither possess the upside and the total package that Arizona State RB Kalen Ballage brings to the table. Ballage is a freakish athlete that I have been mocking to the Rams since the first mock of this draft. He is likely the best receiving back in this draft and he showed it big time in front of a lively audience (including myself) at the Senior Bowl. Sean McVay may have not attended but I do know Les Snead was there and for someone that drafted his first four players all from the Senior Bowl last year, there is a good chance he is going to show some bias towards Senior Bowl attendee’s.
Ballage had a game in college in which he had eight touchdowns, but make no mistake his team did not know how to use him properly and so he’s about to become a better pro than he was a college player. Ballage has a monster look to himself as he stands 6-foot-1 and weighs over 220 pounds. He may not be your stereotypical scat back but if you pass on Ballage because he doesn’t look like a Chris Thompson-like back, then you will be passing on an extremely talented player for a lesser talented player just to say he looks the part.
4th round – 135th overall (via NY Giants): Shaquem Griffin, EDGE/LB/S, UCF (6-1, 227 pounds)
Another player that I’ve been mocking since the end of last year’s draft in my “Way too early mock draft” Shaquem Griffin. High motor, high character, big-time work ethic, elite level play speed, adequate play strength and high football IQ? Yes, please. Griffin is the twin of Seattle Seahawks CB Shaquill Griffin, who would easily be a first rounder if not for his amputated arm from his age of four years old. Still, Shaquem has shown that having one hand gives you no excuse to go out on that football play and do what you believe you can do.
Besides the obvious combine performance when Shaquem ran a 4.38 forty-yard dash, the Senior Bowl performance in which he showed the versatility to play inside, outside linebacker and even as a defensive back. Griffin also showed off the ability to bench press 20 repetitions with just a hand and a prosthetic hand.
Wade Phillips likes having players that are versatile and the Rams if they acquired the services of Shaquem Griffin in this upcoming draft would not only have tons of new fans but they would have a swiss army knife in Griffin who could play all over the defense and add another dimension to an already terrifying defense. Would Shaquem be a feel-good story? Sure, but there is more than meets the eye when you talk about the explosive and hardworking Shaquem Griffin.
4th round – 136th overall (via New England): Shaun Dion Hamilton, ILB, Alabama (6-0, 228 pounds)
Shaun Dion Hamilton has all the talent, athleticism and potential in the world. The only issue I’ve seen with him has been the injuries. If Hamilton can stay healthy, he will have a chance to steal away one of the starting ILB spots. This is a player that played around an elite college defense, so if he had to come into what the Rams have now in Los Angeles he would be able to transition pretty easily. As of right now, the Rams project Mark Barron and Cory Littleton to start on the inside but make no mistake a pick of Hamilton could mean he pushes one of them out of their starting slot.
Hamilton is one of the best coverage linebackers in this draft and because of that, he will be even more valuable for Wade Phillips defense. Really, Hamilton has tons of strengths as far as his football IQ, experience with calling the best defense in the game, anticipation and instincts that cannot be coached. If the only issue with Hamilton is the injury, well then going to the team that just had the fewest amount of injuries in the season might be the right option.
6th round – 176th overall (via NY Giants): Tony Adams, G/C, NC State (6-2, 322 pounds)
Alas, here is the first player and the only one of this entire mock that the Rams have actually met with. Tony Adams was a three-year starter and showed the versatility to play guard and center on the Wolfpack offensive line. Adams was a team captain and showed consistency over the course of his college career, refusing to miss games and also refusing to give up sacks on the QB. He’s quick and disciplined, as it’s worth noting that Adams only was penalized twice in his college career.
The Rams clearly need to think about their offensive line and with a bunch of sixth-round picks, that’s exactly what I have and expect they will do during the draft. The team will look to draft diamonds in the rough that they feel embody the culture and work ethic that it takes to play for this organization and they will develop these guys. In my personal opinion, Adams is a lot better than a sixth-round pick and I see him becoming an above-average starter some day but the issue is his length, his height and basically what he cannot control. I’ll take a talented three-year starting captain that has the versatility to play center or any guard spot at a consistent and disciplined level in a heartbeat. I’m sure that’s the Rams thinking as well.
6th round – 183rd overall (via Miami): Timon Parris, OT/G, Stony Brook (6-6, 312 pounds)
We just talked about an undersized guard and now here is a mammoth tackle. Timon Parris has been making scouts shiver over his amazing footwork and frame. A four-year starter at Stony Brook and someone that has an NFL left tackle build in a draft that is extremely weak at the position overall, there is a chance he’s gone way before the sixth round. With Parris, this is, by all means, a developmental tackle, he has a lot to like but he still shows hesitation in his usage of his hands and he allows his man to get the first punch which hurts his overall leverage in one-on-ones.
Parris makes tons of sense for the Rams seeing as Andrew Whitworth is on his last legs and will need to be replaced as soon as possible. Parris is a developmental guy but he started all four years in college, showed the coach-ability and isn’t a projection. You watched Parris play LT in college and you know he can play it in the NFL if all works out. It’s going to take some fine tuning but Parris could be a legitimate top 20 LT in the NFL if developed the right way. Rams OL coach Aaron Kromer would be chomping at the bit to make this happen.
6th round – 194th overall (via Detroit): Matthew Gono, OT/G, Wesley College (6-4, 316 pounds)
Matthew Gono is one of those diamond in the rough type of offensive lineman you simply have to take a flyer on any time you have four sixth-round picks and not a lot of needs. Gono is an extremely athletic offensive lineman that played LT in college. Coming out of Wesley, this player simply has not been tested physically like he will be in the NFL but you see some things you have to like about Gono. His quickness and the way he’s able to explode in short area situations while being able to also get up the field and into the second-level is something to watch. Gono is someone that shows the ability to be a monster of a pulling guard.
Gono has a mean streak and his play is very technically sound. He may not have enormous upside but you could see Gono if developed correctly becoming a starting guard in the NFL.
6th round – 195th overall (via Bills): Aaron Stinnie, OT/G, James Madison (6-5, 309 pounds)
Another sleeper in this draft and quite frankly a project and even a wild-card is Aaron Stinnie. The former defensive tackle really showed out in the FCS as a left tackle. Stinnie has been moving up draft boards a bit and could see himself getting as high as the sixth round. I like the pick here, someone that has athleticism and things to work with. As previously mentioned, the Rams have an offensive line that is aging and will need to develop future players quickly. The sixth-round of this draft could be boring for a lot of Rams fans but if you draft four offensive linemen and you have the caliber of coaching that the Rams do in Aaron Kromer, then there is a good chance at least one of them will be an above-average starter and another will be an average starter. When you dip into the sixth-round those are the risks for waiting on a certain position.
I do believe the Rams will avoid taking a center since they really like Austin Blythe. Stinnie has the upside, the strength, the quickness and the overall consistency to warrant the pick here. He was an All-American in college and with next-level NFL coaching, he could develop into an above-average starter.
Potential UDFA’s (16):
RB Quinton Flowers, South Florida
WR Devonte Boyd, UNLV
WR DJ Myers, Midwestern State
TE Ben Johnson, Kansas
OT Nick Gates, Nebraska
G Salesi Uhatafe, Utah
DT Bilal Nichols, Delaware
EDGE Davin Bellamy, Georgia
EDGE Dewey Jarvis, Brown
ILB Matt Boesen, TCU
ILB C.J. Johnson, East Texas Baptist
ILB Nyles Morgan, Notre Dame
CB Jalen Davis, Utah State
CB Mike Ford, SE Missouri State
S Jamar Summers, UConn
S Damon Webb, Ohio State
UPDATED RAMS DEPTH CHART:
– BOLD (drafted player)
– Italics (UDFA signed player)
QB: Jared Goff/Sean Mannion/Brandon Allen
RB: Todd Gurley/Kalen Ballage/Malcolm Brown/Justin Davis/Lenard Tillery/Quinton Flowers
FB: Sam Rogers
XWR: Brandin Cooks/Josh Reynolds/Mike Thomas
ZWR: Robert Woods/Fred Brown/Devonte Boyd
SWR: Cooper Kupp/Pharoh Cooper/Tavon Austin/DJ Myers
TE: Tyler Higbee/Gerald Everett/Temarrick Hemingway/Johnny Mundt/Henry Krieger-Coble/Ben Johnson
LT: Andrew Whitworth/Timon Parris/Aaron Stinnie
LG: Rodger Saffold/Tony Adams/Salesi Uhatafe
C: John Sullivan/Austin Blythe/Aaron Neary
RG: Jamon Brown/Jake Eldrenkamp/Matthew Gono
RT: Rob Havenstein/Darrell Williams/Michael Dunn/Nick Gates
LE: Michael Brockers/Ethan Westbrooks/Morgan Fox
NT: Ndamukong Suh/Omarius Bryant/Bilal Nichols
RE: Aaron Donald/Dominique Easley/Tanzel Smart
OLB: Uchenna Nwosu/Matt Longacre/Carlos Thompson/Dewey Jarvis
ILB: Cory Littleton/Bryce Hager/Shaun Dion Hamilton/Nyles Morgan/Matt Boesen
ILB: Mark Barron/Ramik Wilson/Shaquem Griffin/C.J. Johnson
OLB: Samson Ebukam/Garrett Sickels/Ejuan Price/Davin Bellamy
CB: Marcus Peters/Sam Shields/Dominique Hatfield/Taurean Nixon/Jalen Davis
CB: Aqib Talib/Troy Hill/Kevin Peterson/Marcus Sayles/Mike Ford
NB: Nickell Robey-Coleman/Blake Countess
FS: LaMarcus Joyner/Marqui Christian/Damon Webb
SS: John Johnson III/Isaiah Johnson/Jamar Summers
K: Greg Zuerlein/Sam Ficken
P: Johnny Hekker
LS: Jake McQuaide