If there is one philosophy to live by, it’s this: mock draft season is every season. It may be week four of the NFL season and the Los Angeles Rams are 3-0, but it’s never too early to look at what talent you may be watching for in the 2022 NFL Draft. While this mock is obviously very early, positional needs are bound to change until next April, but we still get the general sense now.
I’m using Mock Draft Database’s simulator, which comes highly recommended. They account for projected compensatory picks, which according to Over The Cap, will be one fourth and four sixes for the Rams. There aren’t any trades in this draft, as without a better idea of the draft order, it’s extremely hard to nail down trade value. So without further ado, here is the first Los Angeles Rams 2022 NFL Mock Draft.
Round 2 – Pick 61: OT Rasheed Walker, Penn State
Walker is a veteran tackle for the Nittany Lions who is in his redshirt junior year. He has started every game at left tackle since he earned the job in 2019. He’s a top notch athlete, and can move his large frame well. He packs a heavy and powerful punch, and has great length. In their first pick, they address arguably the biggest need, as Walker would be the replacement for the aging Andrew Whitworth, who will be 40 this December. If Walker could win the job outright, the Rams would also save $13 million if they decided to cut Whitworth, or more likely he retires. They have to address this need quickly, and Rasheed Walker is a fantastic option to do so. This just makes sense for the Rams in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Round 3 – Pick 94: CB Tiawan Mullen, Indiana
Mullen made a big jump from 2019 to 2020, and it earned him several accolades, including being named to two first-team All-American teams (Phil Steele and FWAA). A versatile presence at cornerback, he possesses next level reaction speed and processing. He loves to get a jump on the play and make the difference. He’s a physical player and can be found all over the field. He may need some work in man coverage, but for a third round pick, the Los Angeles Rams would be adding a solid corner. Aside from Jalen Ramsey, they are weak at corner, and Mullen’s value matches up perfectly with their late third round pick.
Round 3 – Pick 100: LB Owen Pappoe, Auburn
Snead’s drafted two third round linebackers in the last two years, but could still use a difference maker. Pappoe could be that guy. He sets the second level as a linebacker and refuses to let the offense break off big gains. He’s useful in pass coverage, and can rush the quarterback. If they decide to spend another third on a linebacker, Pappoe (as it stands now), should be available, and could be the one they need.
Round 4, 141 – iOL Dohnovan West, Arizona State
A versatile interior lineman is just what the Los Angeles Rams need, and what they’d be getting out of West. After two years at guard, he’s bumped inside to center in 2021. He’s a powerful lineman who combines a nice bit of speed into his game. Adding him the fourth round would be a big pickup for the Rams, as he should provide some stability, and could even compete to start.
Round 5, 172 – RB CJ Verdell, Oregon
Running back doesn’t jump up as a huge need for the Rams, but it will be soon. Recent addition Sony Michel becomes a free agent after this year, and Darrell Henderson is only signed until 2022. With inevitable uncertainty surrounding Cam Akers’ return, it will be beneficial to pick up an RB in a draft where there is plenty. Verdell is one of those many running backs. The highly productive redshirt senior has 25 career touchdowns. He’s got nice contact balance, and good top end speed. He’d be a quality pickup in the fifth, and compete with Henderson next year for touches.
Round 6, 211: CB Cam Taylor-Britt, Nebraska
Of the positions the Los Angeles Rams might need in the draft, the most likely one they’ll take twice is cornerback. While Taylor-Britt isn’t going to come in a starter, he could make a very good depth piece and may see real playing time. At Nebraska, he’s racked up 99 tackles, 12 passes defended, 5 interceptions and 4 forced fumbles. He’s an aggressive and physical corner who plays smart. The Cornhusker would make a talented late round pickup for the Rams in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Round 6, 212: LB Grant Morgan, Arkansas
The Rams double down on another position, taking all-SEC linebacker Grant Morgan. Morgan saw an enormous jump in production last year, going from 39 tackles in 2019 to 111 in 2020. He’s a smart player who is able to come down the field and stop runs and short passes very well. The Rams could very well be lacking linebacker depth next season, and Morgan is right for need.
— Pat Pryor (@PryorNFL) September 27, 2021
Round 6, 213: TE Brant Kuithe, Utah
While Tyler Higbee has taken a nice jump and is producing this season, the Los Angeles Rams are still looking for another quality tight end. Kuithe is productive receiving TE with 1,222 yards on 96 receptions and 8 touchdowns. He also can be physical and has ability as a blocker. Picking up Kuithe in the 6th, on any of three comp picks, would be a nice snag for the Rams, and maybe get them a long term backup for Higbee.
Round 7, 234: EDGE DeAngelo Malone, Western Kentucky
Malone attends the same college as the aforementioned Tyler Higbee did. He’s a solid pass rusher for the Hilltoppers, and excels at finding a way into the backfield of C-USA offenses. Edge defender isn’t a red hot need for the Rams, but they would definitely benefit from a reliable backup. Malone would provide pass rushing upside and be able to take on a role with a solid amount of playing time.
Round 7, 250: iOL Will Putnam, Clemson
The goal for this pick is obviously for it to be the last one of the draft, which would mean the Los Angeles Rams are Super Bowl champions. Most teams don’t treat 7th rounders like the Rams, each of the three 7th rounders selected by the Rams in 2021 have seen the field. They’ll hope to repeat that rare success in the 2022 NFL Draft. Putnam started all 12 games at right guard last year, blocking for number one overall pick Trevor Lawrence. Without great depth at guard, Putnam could be the interior lineman to pick up in the final round for the Rams.