The Los Angeles Rams don’t have a lot of glaring needs this offseason. Yes, they could solidify the edge and linebacker positions. However, outside of that, adding depth in the secondary and on the offensive line are the only real needs.
One other spot that the Rams could look to make an addition is at wide receiver. While the Rams have Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp, the team could use a vertical threat that can take the top off of defenses. This was something that was truly lacking on the offense in 2020.
The only question is where the Rams will make this sort of addition. Will they spend big in free agency or are they looking for a low-tier fourth wide receiver that can play a role? Will they be looking at 57th in the draft or maybe wait until day three? These are both legitimate questions.
The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue touched on this exact question. Here’s what Rodrigue had to say:
“The Rams are looking for a complement of explosive plays after a season relying mostly on catch-and-run (and YAC) explosives … That means they’ll need a player to get vertical, to make the air-yards explosives more readily available. Now, this player won’t receive the bulk of targets. It’s unlikely he even receives more than 25-30 percent of targets, considering the personnel illustrated in the above bullet points … Because of target distribution, it makes less sense to spend big on vertical speed, and that rules out a few high-dollar free agent targets. It’s more likely that, if the Rams go for a receiver in free agency, he’s between the $2 million per year to $4 million per year range.
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the Los Angeles Rams aren’t going to spend big on a third wide receiver. The days of having a third wide receiver of the caliber of Sammy Watkins and Brandin Cooks are likely over. The Rams have Kupp and Woods and will likely just be looking to compliment them.
This takes out players like Curtis Samuel and likely even Nelson Agholor and Corey Davis. If the Rams make a signing at wide receiver in free agency, it will likely be for someone like John Ross. He fits that $2M-$4M price tag that Rodrigue discusses.
Rodrigue then touched on the possibility of adding someone in the draft:
They’ve gone that direction before. And if that’s the case, I do see them lean toward a gadget guy who can get vertical quickly, and possibly double on kick and punt return duties. However, this would mean a commitment from McVay to play that receiver as a rookie.
There are some good points in here. The draft is obviously the cheapest option for the Los Angeles Rams to address this need. However, it also means using on of their few draft picks on this need. It also means McVay playing a rookie on offense.
Cam Akers got some looks last season, but didn’t truly take over until late in the year. The Rams and McVay typically like to give their rookies a year to develop. This is a large reason why Van Jefferson didn’t get a lot of looks last season. If the Rams add a deep threat in the draft, he’s going to need to play more than 15% of offensive snaps and get more than a 5% target share.
The last point that is worth touching on is that if the Rams do go this route, they’re going to be looking for a specific type of player. The type of player that Rodrigue mentions fits player profiles for someone like Demetric Felton, D’Wayne Eskridge, Amari Rodgers, Whop Taylor, Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Jaelon Darden, and Marquez Stevenson.