This offseason the Los Angeles Rams had the difficult task of repairing and upgrading their team as they saw fit following a heartbreaking 13-3 emotional Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots. In this piece, we will take a look at the best move the Rams made this offseason and the worst.
Best Honorable Mention: Rams trade up to 70th-overall to select Memphis RB Darrell Henderson
The drafting of Darrell Henderson was one of those bold moves that shocked everyone watching the NFL Draft. The Rams heard all of the noise about Todd Gurley, what the media knows and what they think they know about Gurley’s knee.
However, regardless of the severity of the injury, this was arguably the best running back in the draft sitting there in the third round. Watching the film, names that popped up were Alvin Kamara and Jamaal Charles.
Darrell Henderson is a special back, and the Rams know it’s more about the type of talent he brings to the table and less about him replacing Gurley. The C.J. Anderson and Gurley combo against the Dallas Cowboys woke up the Rams, and now Sean McVay is going to be looking to attack on offense like that again in 2019.
Worst Honorable Mention: Not selecting a developmental quarterback from the draft or adding one during undrafted free agency
Whether it’s fair or not, this is what happens when there aren’t many miscues in the offseason. The Rams, after all, are coming off of a season in which they went to the Super Bowl. That’s why this is going to seem like ‘cherry picking’ in the honorable mentions.
The Rams completely ignored drafting or picking up a developmental quarterback and instead decided to roll with Blake Bortles, John Wolford and Brandon Allen, all of which are fine, but they arguably passed up on better talent with more tools at their disposal.
Bortles being the backup is not the issue, and neither is the Wolford signing who displayed some excellent ability in the AAF, but rather Brandon Allen.
Allen is turning 27 in September. It was a good pickup when the Rams first signed him after Jacksonville waived him. However, Allen isn’t finding that next level and he’s going to be 27 with hardly any experience.
Here’s a list of undrafted quarterbacks I would have signed over at least keeping Brandon Allen but maybe even John Wolford.
- Tyree Jackson, Buffalo (Buffalo Bills)
- Jacob Dolegala, Central Connecticut State (Cincinnati Bengals)
- David Blough, Purdue (Cleveland Browns)
- Brett Rypien, Boise State (Denver Broncos)
- Kyle Shurmur, Vanderbilt (Kansas City Chiefs)
- Drew Anderson, Murray State (Arizona Cardinals)
- Taryn Christion, South Dakota State (Seattle Seahawks)
And here’s a short list of players drafted that I wouldn’t have minded spending a pick on as well.
- Clayton Thorson, Northwestern (Philadelphia Eagles) – 5th round
- Gardner Minshew II, Washington State (Jacksonville Jaguars) – 6th round
- Trace McSorley, Penn State (Baltimore Ravens) – 6th round
Best: Rams sign FS Eric Weddle to a two-year deal
Eric Weddle takes home the award for best Rams move of the offseason. The bottom line is this: the Rams essentially lost their long-time starting defensive back LaMarcus Joyner and replaced him with a better player.
Weddle is a player that is beyond the realm of intelligent. He’s a player that has instincts you can’t teach, he has a nonstop motor, and he’s just overall a very aware player on the field.
He isn’t the same player he was in his prime, but the Rams haven’t had a safety like this in a long time. You could make the argument the last time the Rams had a safety this good was Aeneas Williams in the early 2000s.
Weddle is going to be a breath of fresh air for this Rams defense. Unfortunately, after an excellent debut season at the safety position for Joyner, he was not the same player last year, and that made it relatively easy to not re-sign him and move on.
The Rams didn’t do a lot this offseason, but any time a football team can add a seasoned veteran that is still considered one of the best in the world at what he does, it’s a pretty easy win.
What also makes the Weddle pickup such a good move is that Rams enter potentially their last season with defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. Weddle is a valuable extension of the coaching staff and will be a great mentor to young players like John Johnson III, Taylor Rapp, Cory Littleton, and others.
Worst: Rams trade up to 97th overall to draft Oklahoma OT Bobby Evans
The Rams didn’t have many bad offseason moves this offseason which is why this is such a tough decision and once again might be nit-picking. However, the Rams worst offseason move was trading up for Oklahoma offensive tackle Bobby Evans. The Rams gave the New England Patriots their 101st overall pick and their 133rd selection in exchange for the 97th and 162nd picks.
It wasn’t so much the selection of Evans as it was the players that were available for the Rams in this spot. The Rams have the right tackle spot locked up with Rob Havenstein, and the left tackle spot looked to be in waiting for Joseph Noteboom.
Perhaps the Rams viewed Evans as the future left tackle, but either way, he wasn’t that impressive in college. He’s a three-year starter at right tackle and took over at left tackle once Orlando Brown Jr. left for the NFL.
That doesn’t mean Evans can’t be useful, but I would have taken the tackle the Rams drafted in the fifth round, David Edwards, over Evans in this slot. Evans is a draftable player, but he wasn’t worth trading up in the third round. Here’s a list of players the Rams passed up on to take their second-straight third-round offensive tackle in back-to-back drafts.
- OT Yodny Cajuste, West Virginia (New England Patriots)
- WR Hakeem Butler, Iowa State (Arizona Cardinals)
- S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Florida (New Orleans Saints)
- EDGE Maxx Crosby, Eastern Michigan (Oakland Raiders)
- EDGE Anthony Nelson, Iowa (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
- CB Julian Love, Notre Dame (New York Giants)
- S Khari Willis, Michigan State (Indianapolis Colts)
- CB Kendall Sheffield, Ohio State (Atlanta Falcons)
- G Dru Samia, Oklahoma (Minnesota Vikings)
- EDGE Christian Miller, Alabama (Carolina Panthers)
- S Amani Hooker, Iowa (Tennessee Titans)
- EDGE Austin Bryant, Clemson (Detroit Lions)
- S Sheldrick Redwine, Miami (Cleveland Browns)
- TE Trevon Wesco, West Virginia (New York Jets)
- G Ben Powers, Oklahoma (Baltimore Ravens)
- G Phil Haynes, Wake Forest (Seattle Seahawks)
- DT Renell Wren, Arizona State (Cincinnati Bengals)
- CB Iman Marshall, USC (Baltimore Ravens)
- CB Isaiah Johnson, Houston (Oakland Raiders)
- LB Drue Tranquill, Notre Dame (Los Angeles Chargers)
- S Ugo Amadi, Oregon (Seattle Seahawks)
- QB Jarrett Stidham, Auburn (New England Patriots)
Not all of these players would have made more sense over Evans, but the now Rams offensive tackle would be in the middle of this pack or near the bottom. It seemed like a reach at the time, and that’s why it’s considered the worst move of the offseason.
There’s a good chance if this is the worst move of the offseason though, it means the Rams are in for a good year. Evans wasn’t drafted to be a player this year. His pick was all about the future. Again, it was way too early, the Rams gave up too much, and they left too much on the board.
They would have even been better off picking up nose tackle Greg Gaines who is expected to have a significant role on this team. The Rams did run the risk of losing out on Gaines to potentially reach on Evans who plays the same position as last year’s third round pick.
It will undoubtedly be interesting to see this draft class develop though. Evans still has an excellent chance to become an outstanding player with the coaching of Aaron Kromer on the offensive line and the leadership of Andrew Whitworth.