The 2020 Senior Bowl is just a day away and for 30 NFL teams, the game will be the main focus of all general managers, coaches, and decision makers. The Rams are facing one of the toughest challenges in the 2020 NFL Draft with no first round pick and plenty of holes left to fill. However, his year’s draft class is loaded with talent on both sides of the ball for mid-round prospects with many participating in the Senior Bowl. So let’s take a look at some players Rams fans should be eyeing very closely this weekend.
1. Ben Bartch, OT St. John’s
Bartch is perhaps the biggest surprise of this year’s Senior Bowl. The Division III talent raised eyebrows from the weigh-in showing despite his small school, he’s still a big lineman. Add onto the fact that he has experience playing both guard and tackle and doing both with success and his appeal grows even more. Not too soon for the Rams either.
Andrew Whitworth was a great free agent signing by the team to anchor their offensive line for the past few years but he is now 38 years old and is not a lock to even return to L.A. in free agency this year. Even if he does come back, the Rams were riddled with injuries on the O-line and could use more depth. Bartch has proven he can go against the top talent in College Football and small school concerns along with some technique issues will likely cause him to slip into the third or fourth round, ripe for the picking for L.A.
2. Josh Uche, EDGE Michigan
Not only do the Rams have very little draft stock when it comes to early rounds, but they also have very little cap flexibility largely thanks to the massive contracts given to Jared Goff and Todd Gurley. Not a lot of flexibility with some key free agents on defense means there’s going to be at least one odd man out and probably more.
One of those casualties could very well be Dante Fowler Jr. who will be looking for a big day in all likelihood. If Fowler does end up leaving in free agency, the Rams will be looking for another pass rusher to shore up the edges.
Uche had plenty of question marks surrounding himself going into this week largely due to his size. At 6’1”, 241 lbs, there was even some discussion about putting him in the inside linebacker position. However, he has proven he has a natural pass-rushing ability and has already shown his coverage skills are better than most other rushers. Uche could be just the type of mid-round pick the Rams can plug a hole with immediately.
3. Neville Gallimore, DT Oklahoma
Here is one of the most controversial draft prospects in this year’s class. He didn’t do anything legal, has no character concerns presently but average-at-best production with a defense as good as Oklahoma’s surrounding him has many evaluators concerned he may not be as good as he seems. However, Gallimore has shown he can handle one-on-one blocks repeatedly during the Senior Bowl practices and has some scouts rethinking their position on him. On the Rams, Gallimore can learn under Aaron Donald and provide immediate depth that L.A. needs basically everywhere on defense.
4. Troy Pride Jr., CB Notre Dame
Jalen Ramsey is yet another free agent that is facing the Rams this offseason but it’s hard to imagine they let him walk given the haul they gave up for him. Even if L.A. does retain Ramsey, they desperately need some depth at the cornerback position and Pride may have proven himself to be the perfect candidate for the Rams to target.
The main knock on his game coming into this week was his lack of playmaking ability as he only has had multiple interceptions in a season once in his college career. He has turned on that playmaking ability at the Senior Bowl practices though, playing well against other standouts like Anthony Gandy-Golden and Michael Pittman Jr. If Pride can keep his big-time performance up during Saturday’s game, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him in the yellow and blue come next Fall.
5. Darius Anderson, RB TCU
Malcolm Brown went into this season looking like he was exactly the backup to Todd Gurley the Rams very desperately needed. That turned out to not be the case as Brown finished the year with just 255 rushing yards. While Gurley did look healthier than many expected him to be, it would still be smart for the Rams to target a more suitable backup in case his knees continue to be a problem down the line.
Anderson is a back that is rising quickly up the draft boards due to his Senior Bowl performance. While his senior year at TCU was slightly disappointing, it can be blamed more on poor offensive coaching and inconsistent line play. Anderson has enough natural quickness and burst to be a good change of pace back for Los Angeles available in the middle rounds, and would even pair nicely with Darrell Henderson.