The last selection in the 2019 NFL Draft happened almost two months ago, but the rookies have finished up OTA’s and reports for training camp later next month. Last year’s rookie class didn’t have a significant impact for the Rams during the season, and the 2019 class might be the same way. However, with that said, here is my crack at projecting the numbers for the Rams’ 2019 draft class.
*Shame on you if you thought I was going to project stats for UDFAs.
Taylor Rapp, S, Washington – Round 2, 61st overall
Despite not being a projected starter, Rapp should see the field quite a bit. After all, he was the first pick for the Rams in 2019 and newly acquired Eric Weddle is 34-years old. He will be used in unique packages, special teams and will substitute late in games when the Rams are up by multiple scores.
For reference, in 2018, Blake Countess played 58 snaps on defense and 356 snaps on special teams and recorded nine tackles, one interception, and two passes defended. Rapp should have a more significant role on defense than Countess and therefore a better stat-line.
Projected stat line: 22 tackles, one interception, three passes defended, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
Darrell Henderson, RB, Memphis – Round 3, 70th overall
Shortly after the selection of Rapp, the Rams moved up the draft board to secure Henderson, the handcuff back to Todd Gurley. With Gurley’s health in question, Henderson could see a lot of time on the field. The speedy one-cut back out of Memphis averaged 8.9 yards per carry over the last two seasons and is a threat to score on every play.
According to Rams general manager Les Snead, Henderson is “a very specific human who could split out and have him run some routes.” He could have a similar role to Patriots running back James White.
When things went south for Gurley near the end of the 2018 season, the Rams brought in C.J. Anderson to help take the load off him. Anderson ran for 299 yards and two touchdowns in two regular season games and added 189 yards and two touchdowns in three playoff games. In a 16-game season, that comes out to a pace of 1,561 yards and 13 touchdowns. Henderson won’t put up those numbers, but he is an explosive player that can make a significant impact in 2019.
One last note, I expect Gurley to be healthy and return to his First Team All-Pro form.
Projected stat line: 100 rushes, 560 rushing yards, 19 receptions, 190 receiving yards, six touchdowns.
David Long, CB, Michigan – Round 3, 79th overall
Barring a significant injury to Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib or Nickell Robey-Coleman *knocks on wood*, Long will be the fourth corner on the depth chart. He should also see a lot of time on special teams. Long is a smaller but quick cornerback with tremendous ball skills. When he does step on the gridiron, despite limited play, he will make a positive impact.
With Peters and Talib missing a lot of time in 2018, Sam Shields and Troy Hill combined for 766 snaps. If everyone stays healthy, Long won’t come close to the snap count of Shields or Hill.
Projected stat line: 16 tackles, two interceptions, three passes defended, one fumble recovery
Bobby Evans, OT, Oklahoma – Round 3, 97th overall
When it comes to offensive linemen stats, the only ones that matter are games started, games played and snaps played.
Evans, being the highest drafted offensive lineman from the Rams this year, could be the first guy off the bench. After losing Rodger Saffold and John Sullivan, there could be a lot of shuffling on this year’s line. He could get similar playing time to 2018 third-round pick Joseph Noteboom (78 offensive snaps and 95 special teams snaps)
Projected stat line: 0 games started, 16 games played, 130 snaps played
Greg Gaines, DT, Washington – Round 4, 134th overall
Despite being picked in the fourth round, Greg Gaines might see the most playing time amongst the Rams’ draftees. Ndamukong Suh left for Tampa Bay, and someone needs to fill his void. In addition to Suh, it appears as if Ethan Westbrooks and Matt Longacre won’t suit up in horns this season. The starting defensive line is either going to feature John Franklin-Myers or Gaines, and I expect them both to play quite a bit. Gaines will see more snaps on first and second down.
Gaines is only 6’1”, but he will play alongside another guy that was deemed undersized, and that is the back-to-back defending Defensive Player of the Year, Aaron Donald. If he doesn’t start, Gaines should be the first one on the field as depth or an injury replacement.
Projected stat line: 24 tackles, one sack, one fumble recovery
David Edwards, OT, Wisconsin – Round 5, 169th overall
David Edwards was selected two rounds later than Bobby Evans, but he could see the field sooner (pun not intended). After all, he has taken reps at left tackle with the ones during OTAs. Just like Evans though, he will probably see time on field goal kicks and point after attempts.
Projected stat line: 0 games started, 16 games played, 145 snaps played.
Nick Scott, S, Penn State – Round 7, 243rd overall
The Penn State captain was selected primarily for his dynamic ability on special teams, but if you recall the conversation between him and Wade Phillips when he got drafted, Scott could make his way onto the field at safety on defense. That possibility is still unlikely, though.
Projected stat line: 8 tackles
Dakota Allen, LB, Texas Tech, Round 7, 251st overall
The former ‘Last Chance U’ star is a hard rookie to project. He fell in the draft due to off-field issues dating back to 2016, where he and two other men committed robbery and cut from the Texas Tech football program. However, he is a talented player.
Cory Littleton and Micah Kiser are the projected starters, and he will have to battle with Bryce Hager for the backup position. Allen could make his way onto the field for a couple of plays per game, and he should make an impact on special teams.
Projected stat line: 12 tackles