Right here’s the state of affairs … Your group can win one Tremendous Bowl, however there’s a catch: Your group shall be among the many worst within the division for the foreseeable future after successful the large recreation.
Would you continue to take the Tremendous Bowl win?
Everyone knows what Los Angeles Rams GM Les Snead would do.
The Rams’ season continues to disintegrate because the group fell to 3-9 after final weekend’s loss to the Seahawks. Los Angeles, although, doesn’t have a first-round decide after buying and selling it away to Detroit to amass quarterback Matthew Stafford. In trade for Stafford, the Rams despatched QB Jared Goff, who was the No. 1 total decide in 2016, and a 2021 third-round decide and first-round picks in 2022 and 2023.
And it labored amazingly final season, because the Stafford-led Rams defeated the upstart Cincinnati Bengals and star-in-the-making QB Joe Burrow in February’s Tremendous Bowl.
Would issues be harder in 2022? Certain. Climbing again up that second is all the time troublesome, even with a full complement of returning gamers.
However 3-9 troublesome?
Blame it on accidents, beginning with Stafford.
He’s seemingly going to overlook the rest of the season with what’s being reported as a spinal wire contusion. The damage is severe, too – there’s no assure Stafford will ever return from the damage, not to mention this season.
Alas, the Rams don’t have that early first-round decide to doubtlessly nab Stafford’s future alternative. That decide belongs to Detroit.
As an alternative, Los Angeles will seemingly flip its consideration to a different place badly in want of restore: the offensive line. Regardless of no picks within the first or fourth rounds, the Rams nonetheless have 11 picks within the 2023 NFL draft.
Proper facet already set for 2023?
Los Angeles began its twelfth totally different offensive line mixture final Sunday, changing into the one group within the Tremendous Bowl period to make use of a unique beginning 5 alongside the road in every of the primary 12 video games, in keeping with Elias Sports activities Bureau by way of ESPN.
Let’s check out the Rams’ line:
LT Ty Nsekhe (undrafted free agent, 2012): 65.2 PFF grade
LG Matt Skura (undrafted free agent, 2016): 49.1
C Brian Allen (fourth spherical, 2018): 63.9
RG Coleman Shelton (undrafted free agent, 2018): 53.3
RT Rob Havenstein (second spherical, 2015): 73.2
Different linemen used embrace: OT Alaric Jackson (undrafted free agent, 2021): 64.1; T Joseph Noteboom (third spherical, 2018): 67; G Bobby Evans (third spherical, 2019): 29.8; G Oday Aboushi (spherical 5, 2013): 62.8; G David Edward (spherical 5, 2019): 58.2; G Jeremiah Kolone (undrafted free agent, 2018): 36.1, and; T Chandler Brewer (undrafted free agent, 2019): 66.6
Now, out of that complete, Evans, Nsekhe, Edwards and Skura are all unrestricted free brokers. Evans, Edwards and Skura are having below-average seasons, whereas the very best of the group, Nsekhe, shall be 38 subsequent season and isn’t part of the group’s long-term plans.
Draft-wise, the Rams’ current historical past is a bit misleading. Los Angeles has drafted eight offensive linemen since 2018, a span overlaying the previous 5 drafts. That features one first-rounder and two third-rounders.
Nonetheless, solely a type of linemen has panned out. This yr’s rookies, third-round guard Logan Bruss of Wisconsin and seventh-round sort out AJ Arcuri of Michigan State, have mixed for 54 snaps on offense, all by Arcuri. Bruss was misplaced for the yr after tearing his ACL and MCL throughout a preseason recreation in opposition to Houston.
Tremayne Anchrum, a seventh-round guard in 2020, has acquired two snaps on offense. In the meantime, the group might lose guards Bobby Evans and David Edwards (third- and fifth-round picks, respectively, in 2019) and first-round sort out Joseph Noteboom (first-round, 2018) this offseason to free company. Deal with Jamil Demby (sixth spherical, 2018) is out of the league.
That leaves Allen, the 2018 fourth-rounder, as the one offensive lineman not too long ago drafted by the group who has loved some modicum of success. Transferring ahead, you work Havenstein shall be again at proper sort out, as he’s the group’s highest-graded lineman. Pencil in Bruss at one of many beginning guard spots.
So, should you squint a bit, you possibly can see the beginnings of a stable offensive line. If Bruss begins subsequent season at proper guard, then Los Angeles conceivably has the complete proper facet of their beginning line already set, with Havenstein at proper sort out and Allen returning at heart.
That takes the group again to its lack of a first-round decide.
Even when the Rams had managed to carry onto that decide, the group might need handed on a sort out with a excessive first-round decide, because the Rigdon large board ranks the highest two OTs increased than most analysts.
Nonetheless, there’s a common consensus high two: Ohio State’s Paris Johnson (No. 5 within the Fanspeak-Jake Rigdon large board) and Northwestern’s Peter Skoronski (No. 8), though Skoronski’s dimension makes him a candidate to maneuver to protect.
After that, Georgia’s Broderick Jones (No. 22) and Ohio State’s different OT, Dawand Jones (No. 29), additionally might hear their names referred to as on Day 1.
Some outstanding analysts, although, say it is a unhealthy draft for groups that want a beginning offensive sort out. Right here’s what Professional Soccer Community’s Tony Pauline stated concerning the offensive tackles: “I’m not a fan of the OT class, I imagine it’s terrible in comparison with current courses, and at most, there shall be two tackles chosen within the first spherical, Paris Johnson Jr. of Ohio State in addition to Peter Skoronski of Northwestern. I’ve Skoronski on my guard board till I discover his true measurables.”
Provide and demand, although, means it’s potential all 4 tackles are taken within the first spherical (whether or not they should go within the first it or not).
For now, begin with Tennessee’s Darnell Wright (No. 54), Maryland’s Jaelyn Duncan (No. 73) and Syracuse’s Matthew Bergeron (No. 77). These three make up the third tier of tackles.
General, these seven tackles are the one ones ranked among the many top-100 prospects.
By comparability, 9 of the highest 77 gamers this previous draft had been tackles, with 5 of them going within the first spherical in what was in any other case thought-about a median, top-heavy draft for that place.
So the a method the Rams are assured of coming away with a possible beginning rookie left sort out is that if they draft one with their decide within the second spherical – even when which means they must over-draft that participant.
The group’s comparatively excessive decide within the second spherical, although, must be within the vary of the third-tier group of tackles that features Wright, Duncan and Bergeron, assuming all enter the draft.
One other one to observe is Oklahoma’s Anton Harrison (No. 140), who is far decrease on the Rigdon large board than the place some analysts rank him.
From Pauline: “Contemplating the void of expertise on the offensive sort out place, a scenario made much more dire after Olumuyiwa Fashanu of Penn State introduced he was returning to State School, Harrison’s worth will improve. I presently grade the junior as a mid-second-round selection however firmly imagine he might find yourself within the backside third of spherical one.”
The group might go OL in Rounds 2 and three
So, except the group’s wage cap scenario someway magically adjustments, anticipate a type of aforementioned gamers to man the left facet of Los Angeles’ line in 2023 – and hopefully past.
It then turns into exponentially simpler to discover a guard able to beginning as a rookie, even on Day 3.
Los Angeles has one decide in every of the second and third rounds, none within the fourth, then has three within the fifth, 4 within the sixth and two within the seventh rounds, giving them 11 complete.
Due to this fact, don’t be shocked if the Rams’ double-dip at offensive line with its decide within the third spherical.
Just one inside lineman cracked the highest 50 within the Rigdon large board, Florida’s O’Cyrus Torrence (No. 38). Nonetheless, there’s good depth, with eight guards and 5 facilities ranked among the many high 150 prospects.
Ideally, Los Angeles will come away from the draft with a mix of Torrence and Harrison with its first two picks within the second and third rounds. The extra sensible combo, although, could be Wright and a guard like Texas A&M’s Layden Robinson (No. 100).
Then, with 9 picks remaining, Los Angeles can take a best-player-available strategy.
Certain, they’ve wants elsewhere – 2019 second-round security Taylor Rapp will even be an UFA, so security may be a precedence. And Stafford’s future is up within the air with few choices to switch him.
However the Rams can’t draft for want with the remainder of its picks after these two rounds, as the entire remaining picks are within the fifth spherical or later.
That may imply the group doesn’t handle the now-shaky QB scenario till the fifth spherical, the place gamers like TCU’s Max Duggan (No. 158) and Wake Forest’s Sam Hartman (No. 173) may very well be accessible.
Right here’s the newest Fanspeak mock draft, together with the groups that don’t have a decide in Spherical 1:
1. Houston Texans: QB Bryce Younger, Alabama
You’re going to get bored with seeing his identify right here each week, so right here’s a tidbit to chew on: Younger is the most-popular participant mocked to Houston with the No. 1 total decide by nationwide analysts, in keeping with NFLMockDraftDatabase.com.
2. Chicago Bears: Edge Will Anderson, Alabama
Right here’s why Chicago received’t commerce out of this decide for a QB-needy group: then it’ll miss out on both Anderson or Georgia DL Jalen Carter, the 2 clear-cut finest defensive gamers on this draft.
3. Seattle Seahawks: QB C.J. Stroud, Ohio State
Love him or hate him, each Seahawks’ QBs are UFAs on the finish of the season, and Stroud is the next-best sign caller. If Detroit is drafting behind Seattle, then perhaps the groups can swap picks for draft capital and hope both Will Levis of Kentucky or Anthony Richardson of Florida are nonetheless accessible – large dangers on many ranges. That is the most secure decide.
4. Detroit Lions: DL Jalen Carter, Georgia
Who’s gonna QB the group subsequent yr? Who cares – simply watch this and know this dude will pair with Aidan Hutchinson for the subsequent decade. That’s a win.
Jalen Carter is a person amongst boys #Georgia #LSU #SECChampionship
— CFB Saturday Slate w/ Mick N Bus (@MickNBus_CFB) December 3, 2022
5. Carolina Panthers: QB Will Levis, Kentucky (TRADE WITH PHILADELPHIA)
Look by way of Twitter too lengthy and also you may come away considering Levis is the worst QB prospect within the historical past of the draft. Scouts nonetheless like him.
6. Philadelphia Eagles: CB Cam Smith, South Carolina (TRADE WITH CAROLINA)
NFLMockDraftDatabase has the group taking Georgia CB Kelee Ringo with this decide. That could be a catastrophe, though Ringo has followers amongst a number of outstanding draft analysts. You’ll be able to wager Eagles defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson is aware of a factor or two about Smith, as Wilson is an Higher Marlboro, Md., native, which is about 25 miles south of Fort Meade, Md., the place Smith went to highschool his freshman by way of junior years.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: OT Paris Johnson, Ohio State
The group wants extra playmakers to encompass QB Trevor Lawrence, however they’ll additionally want a brand new RT if Jawaan Taylor indicators elsewhere in free company. See above relating to shortage of place.
8. Arizona Cardinals: OT Peter Skoronski, Northwestern
It seems like QB Kyler Murray is on borrowed time in Arizona. Both manner, the Cardinals are going to want a greater offensive line.
9. Indianapolis Colts: QB Anthony Richardson, Florida
This decide simply seems like a catastrophe ready to occur, so the brand new teaching workers shall be essential if paired with this decide. With that stated, Richardson has some Josh Allen-vibes to him in that he’s coming into the skilled degree with issues about his accuracy and decision-making – however there’s no denying his elite athletic traits.
10: Denver Broncos: QB Tanner McKee (TRADE WITH ATLANTA)
With a view to transfer up from No. 24 to No. 10, Denver must surrender its first 4 draft picks to maneuver up this excessive, in keeping with CalculatorSoup. Would Atlanta be prepared to tackle Russell Wilson’s contract to sweeten the deal and decrease the price of picks? To be clear, this might be an enormous over-draft and subsequently an infinite danger. And it could restrict Denver’s potential to repair its leaky offensive line. However the group can’t assume McKee – or, for that matter, Richardson – falls to them within the third spherical. Take note, QB needy groups Detroit and Washington are lurking not too far behind the No. 10 total decide, plus Las Vegas, Tennessee, each New York groups, Baltimore and Minnesota all could also be available in the market for a brand new signal-caller, relying on what occurs within the offseason. So, mainly, as quickly as Richardson is drafted, anticipate McKee to go not quickly after – even when it’s comparatively excessive within the first spherical.
11. Inexperienced Bay Packers: Edge Myles Murphy, Clemson
The Packers might use some upgrades to its offensive line, however they’re additionally not generally known as a group that reaches within the first spherical. That’s why the decide of Murphy could be a no brainer. That is what occurs when groups with wants at premium positions like offensive sort out and quarterback panic in Spherical 1 – it pushes gamers like Murphy down, normally to a greater group’s profit.
12. Las Vegas Raiders: CB Joey Porter Jr., Penn State
Know what would actually make Pittsburgh followers made? Draft the son of a former Steelers nice only a few picks forward of them. Porter remains to be a work-in-progress however might flip right into a star by years 2 or 3.
13. Houston Texans: Edge Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech
Bear in mind how we stated final week that Wilson might fall within the draft, primarily as a result of he’s deemed scheme-specific to a 4-3? Yeah, now we notice how dumb that sounds.
14. Pittsburgh Steelers: OT Broderick Jones, Georgia
It’s humorous how typically even the very best groups say they don’t draft for want, then one thing like this occurs. Truth is, Jones isn’t a nasty prospect and may go on to get pleasure from a protracted, productive profession. However he seemingly received’t be ranked as a top-15 prospect by many analysts on account of his measurables. Handle the place within the subsequent spherical? Then you definately’re hoping a lower-ranked prospect remains to be accessible Then you definately’re hoping a sort out worthy of beginning as a rookie remains to be accessible. That could be a fair larger danger than taking Jones in Spherical 1.
15. Detroit Lions: CB Christian Gonzalez, Oregon
The Lions want playmakers on protection, particularly at cornerback, and Gonzalez is the very best CB left. Simple resolution. They could remorse not taking a QB with their first first-round decide, however a Jalen Carter-Christian Gonzalez pairing might be a safer wager than Anthony Richardson/Gonzalez.
16. Los Angeles Chargers: DL Bryan Bresee, Clemson
The Chargers are one other group that doesn’t attain within the draft. If this decide comes right down to Bresee or TCU receiver Quentin Johnston, then anticipate the group to go along with the higher-ranked participant, which on this case is Bresee, who occurs to fill a necessity for the Chargers, too.
17. New England Patriots: TE Michael Mayer, Notre Dame
A pleasant, protected decide for New England’s pair of younger QBs.
18. Washington Commanders: WR Quentin Johnston, TCU
That is the place Johnston lastly lands, because the Commanders don’t have anybody on offense who actually scares opposing defenses. This can be a begin.
19: Tampa Bay Buccaneers: RB Bijan Robinson, Texas
A participant like Robinson might assist lengthen QB Tom Brady’s profession and effectiveness. Present starter Leonard Fournette is signed by way of 2024, when he’ll be 29 – proper on the verge of that cut-off level when most RBs traditionally have misplaced their effectiveness. Both manner, some analysts say Robinson is a greater prospect than Fournette was when he went No. 4 total in 2017.
20: Seattle Seahawks: TE Darnell Washington, Georgia
This can give Stroud an enormous goal and the offensive line a de facto “sixth” lineman.
21. Tennessee Titans: WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State
The Titans additionally want extra playmakers on offense as RB Derek Henry and QB Ryan Tannehill. Final yr’s decide of Treylon Burks was an excellent begin. JSN provides them one other dynamic participant to fret opposing offenses, however his well being shall be carefully monitored after he missed most of this season with lingering hamstring points.
22. New York Jets: S Brian Department, Alabama
Let’s take a glass half-full strategy: QB Zach Wilson could also be a serious disappointment up to now, and the group’s surprisingly good season could put them out of attain of drafting a QB in Spherical 1. Nonetheless, the group could have discovered at the least an appropriate stop-gap in Mike White, who has handed for an unimaginable 684 yards, with 3 touchdowns and a couple of interceptions, since taking up for Wilson the previous two video games. And the group could have the defensive rookie of the yr in CB Ahmad Gardner (though Seattle CB Tariq Woolen can also be making a robust case). So you can also make the argument right here that New York ought to come away with Department and be very pleased with the decide. However that received’t occur – Jets followers could howl if the group takes a security with this decide.
23. New York Giants: RB Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama
Say you possibly can have one in every of two however not each unrestricted free brokers: QB Daniel Jones or RB Saquon Barkley, who’re each having fun with career-years. Most groups would persist with the QB on this state of affairs, plus a youthful RB like Gibbs could be a less expensive choice to re-signing Barkley.
24. Atlanta Falcons: WR Jordan Addison, USC
Taking a QB in Spherical 1 could be an admission that Desmond Ridder, the group’s third-round select of Cincinnati, was a nasty decide. Contemplating Ridder hasn’t taken a single snap this season, that appears extremely unlikely; therefore, the explanation Atlanta could be prepared to commerce down on this draft. RT Kaleb McGary shall be a UFA on the finish of the season, however re-signing him could be a greater possibility than taking a danger on the fourth-best OT in Spherical 1. Due to this fact, the run on offensive playmakers continues with the decide of Addison, who would pair properly with this yr’s stable first-round decide (and one other USC receiver), Drake London.
25. Baltimore Ravens: WR Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee
One other decide, one other offensive playmaker. Baltimore is seemingly all the time trying to find a star receiver – the group has drafted eight WRs since 2018, together with two within the first, third and fourth rounds. Hyatt will assist the group stretch the sphere as soon as once more.
26. Cincinnati Bengals: CB Kelee Ringo, Cincinnati
CBs Eli Apple shall be an UFA and Chidobe Awuzie is out for the foreseeable future with a torn ACL. Taking the best-remaining CB makes an excessive amount of sense right here. Nonetheless, there are some issues about Ringo, as he’s been focused usually this season, largely with success. Ringo allowed three receptions of over 30 yards in opposition to LSU within the SEC Championship Sport, one landing and was referred to as for a go interference penalty within the endzone – all presumably in opposition to “lesser” expertise.
27. Dallas Cowboys: RB Devon Achane, Texas A&M
Click on right here for a full rationalization of this decide – it’s not as loopy because it sounds.
28. Kansas Metropolis Chiefs: DE B.J. Ojulari, LSU
The Chiefs have their decide of an excellent remaining group of go rushers. Simply preserve this in thoughts: Go rushers are an funding sooner or later, as they sometimes take a couple of seasons earlier than they acclimate to the NFL. Working example: Kansas Metropolis rookie first spherical decide George Karlaftis of Purdue has 2.5 sacks up to now.
29. Minnesota Vikings: CB Jaylon Jones, Texas A&M
Minnesota is to cornerbacks what Baltimore is to receivers in that the Vikings all the time appear to be in seek for an excellent CB. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Jones has nice dimension however didn’t put up large numbers this season as opposing groups typically didn’t look his manner.
30. Buffalo Payments: OT Dawand Jones, Ohio State
Spencer Brown, the group’s third-round decide in 2021, has been a disappointment at proper sort out with a PFF grade of 48.8, among the many lowest within the league amongst beginning tackles. The large 6-foot-8, 340-pound Jones could also be a little bit of a attain right here, however what do you give the group that seemingly has the whole lot?
31. Philadelphia Eagles: LB Trenton Simpson, Clemson
See above. The truth is, drafting for Philadelphia is form of like shopping for a present for that super-rich member of the family – what are you able to get them that they don’t have already got a greater model of? Simpson would kind of be like shopping for that member of the family a Starbucks reward card: Ingenious? By no means. However it’s each wanted and shall be appreciated.
Los Angeles Rams, second spherical: G O’Cyrus Torrence, Florida
New Orleans Saints, second spherical: TE Dalton Kincaid, Utah
Cleveland Browns, second spherical: WR A.T. Perry, Wake Forest
Miami Dolphins, second spherical: RB Kendre Miller, TCU
San Francisco, third spherical: RB Zach Charbonnet, UCLA
* Draft order courtesy of Tankathon.
** Miami misplaced its first-round decide on account of tampering prices.
Jake Rigdon (@jrigdon73) covers the NFL draft for Fanspeak.com. He additionally covers the NFL draft from a Dallas Cowboys perspective on this subReddit. And his large board is up to date at the least as soon as per week in the course of the season and main as much as the draft.