The NFL Draft is finally here. While the Los Angeles Rams won’t select until Friday, they’ll be keeping tabs on who is still available heading into the second round. The Rams currently have six selections, but a trade back or two could bring that total to seven or eight by draft’s end.
Every week for the last two months I’ve been doing a 7-Round Rams mock draft. We’ve finally made it to the last one. Below is what I believe the Rams will do, not what I personally would do.
57th Overall – CB Asante Samuel Jr, Florida State
As the draft nears, I am more convinced that the Rams are going to go cornerback with their first pick at 57. A trade down is possible in the right situation, but if they stay put, a cornerback seems like the direction that they will go. If they do in fact go cornerback, Asante Samuel Jr. is a fantastic choice.
Now, the Rams will have to cross their fingers and hope that Samuel is still there at 57. A lot is going to have to happen. However, if he is, the Rams need to run to the podium. A pairing of Jalen Ramsey and Asante Samuel Jr. at cornerback could be lethal for opposing offenses.
I don't care how tall he is. Asante Samuel Jr. can ball. pic.twitter.com/pZUWSBbpeA
— Aaron Nagler (@AaronNagler) April 25, 2021
Samuel Jr. is a near perfect fit for what the Rams look for in their cornerbacks. He’s 5’10, 184-lbs, but plays bigger than that size would indicate. Samuel Jr. is a physical cornerback and several draft profiles list him as being a competitor. He led the ACC with 14 pass breakups in 2019 and led his team once again last season.
88th Overall – WR D’Wayne Eskridge, Western Michigan
If D’Wayne Eskridge is still available with the 88th overall selection, Sean McVay might turn in the card before Les Snead has the chance to trade back or write in someone else’s name. Wide receiver might not be the most pressing position of need, but the explosiveness that he brings would be difficult for the Rams to pass up.
The Rams offense lacked explosiveness and big plays last season. That’s exactly what Eskridge brings to the table. It’s fair to point out that the Rams did sign DeSean Jackson in free agency and did draft Van Jefferson at 52 last year. However, everybody knows about Jackson’s injury history and simply put, Eskridge brings an ability to the table that Jefferson can’t. The two players would be more than able to split reps at the third wide receiver spot depending on the situation.
I swear, D'Wayne Eskridge is daring me to leave him outside of my top-5 WRs of this 2021 NFL Draft. pic.twitter.com/fxcfdGForW
— Kyle Yates (@KyleYNFL) January 25, 2021
Eskridge also brings an ability on special teams as a returner which the Rams also need. He’s a good route-runner and shows a lot of effort blocking in the run game. Both traits are something that McVay will value outside of his speed.
114th Overall – iOL Drew Dalman, Stanford
*TRADE ALERT! Rams trade pick 103 to the Denver Broncos for picks 114 and 152.
If the Rams are able, I expect them to attempt to trade down from 103. After pick 103, they don’t select again until 141 and then there’s a gap after that until picks 209. With this trade, I closed the gap slightly until pick 141 and grabbed another selection between 141 and 209.
This is also the perfect spot to take center Drew Dalman out of Stanford. With the addition of Kevin Carberry, it would not be surprising for the Rams to take one of Dalman or Walker Little. With the need at center, Dalman makes the most sense.
3 games of Drew Dalman done. Watched UCLA, CAL, UW.
+Smart, good eyes
+Consistent in run and pass
+Gets to 2nd level well
+Good upper body strength
+Under control pic.twitter.com/xiYTcWVyzp
— Zach (QBs Suck) Gartin (@All22_Addict) April 6, 2021
Dalman is considered to be slightly undersized, but at 6’3, 299-lbs, he’s right in the range of other interior offensive linemen that the Rams have drafted. He’s shown versatility with experience at guard and center, and has been a starter for the last two seasons. Given his experience with the Rams’ new offensive line coach who comes from Stanford, Dalman is a perfect scheme fit.
141st Overall – EDGE Shaka Toney, Penn State
Shaka Toney could be a late-round steal for an NFL team. Over the last two seasons, Toney was overshadowed by Jayson Oweh and Yetur Gross-Matos. This last season, Toney was the most productive pass rusher for the Nittany Lions and finished just three sacks behind Gross-Matos in 2019.
The Rams certainly need an edge rusher opposite Leonard Floyd. The team lost Samson Ebukam in free agency and could add some depth alongside Terrell Lewis and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo.
Shaka Toney turning the corner – my goodness pic.twitter.com/vueKa3axWk
— Connor Rogers (@ConnorJRogers) October 24, 2020
Toney brings elite athleticism and playmaking ability. Like Ebukam, Toney has a lot of physical traits, but will likely just be a situational pass rusher at the next level.
152nd Overall – S Tariq Thompson, San Diego State
This selection comes from the earlier trade with the Denver Broncos. After losing John Johnson III, the Rams could add a safety for depth. It’s expect that Jordan Fuller and Terrell Burgess will start, but behind them, the Rams only have Taylor Rapp and Nick Scott.
Thompson was a four year starter at San Diego State and accumulated 12 interceptions throughout his college career. His ball skills are some of the best in the class as he also had 35 pass breakups. Like Burgess he has the ability to play down in the slot and could line up as a nickel cornerback. He has the versatility and brings support in the run game that the Rams typically look for.
209th Overall – LB Ernest Jones, South Carolina
Many Rams fans are going to want the team to address linebacker with one of their first two or minimally three picks. I remain skeptical. Les Snead has only ever drafted one linebacker before day three and only two linebackers before the sixth round. I expect another draft with linebacker being addressed late.
If they do go linebacker late though, Ernest Jones is actually a very solid option and fits what the Rams look for. This isn’t another Clay Johnston situation. Jones ranked fifth in the SEC in tackles last season.
Ok, Ernest Jones hits people. We have a gap filler ladies and gents. Oklahoma Drill starts in 5. pic.twitter.com/ZUUErhr8pm
— Matt Alkire (@mattalkire) March 28, 2021
Ernest Jones might be the perfect fit for the Rams. He’s extremely lengthy with 33.375 inch arms. He’s a disciplined tackler who’s stout against the run. He’ll need to develop in coverage, but he can be an early contributor with a good training camp. He brings a certain attitude to the game and attacks the ball. He needs to improve in coverage, but he could be an early contributor.
252nd Overall – iOL Harry Crider, Indiana
Before today, you might not have heard of Harry Crider, but he could be a potential late round target for the Rams. He brings exactly what the Rams look for inside at offensive line and can add some depth.
He doesn’t have the idea size or frame, but 6’2, 307-lbs he’s right in the area of past centers that the Rams have drafted. He’s very smart and is also has very good technique that makes up for that lack of size. He started at guard as a sophomore, playing 12 games, and played center during his junior and senior seasons.
I see you @HarryCrider. Gets to the second level, drives his man back to the endzone. Ends up in the perfect spot to help push the running back in for the score. Never gives up on the play pic.twitter.com/pfA5fOAOrR
— Joe Broback (@joebroback) November 16, 2020
Crider would be a developmental prospect, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Rams drafted him or signed him as an undrafted free agent.