5 Prospects To Watch At The Combine For The Rams
Les Snead is becoming famous (maybe infamous) for trading away their first round draft picks. The Rams haven’t selected from the first round since taking Jared Goff in 2016. This upcoming draft is no exception. Their first pick will be in the second round, 52nd overall. Of course, the upside has been acquiring ‘known quantities.” The downside to ‘known quantities’ is they cost way more than an unknown rookie. Salary cap issues, anyone?
The great news is there are always late-round diamonds in the rough to be found. This weekend, the Rams brass are getting an up-close look at the rough at the NFL Combine. These are the 5 prospects to watch at the combine.
Cesar Ruiz – OL
Job one of this Rams’ off-season is to get some protection for their $134 million man. Jared Goff struggles when he is under pressure and last season is the best example of that. Drafting Ruiz would be a step in the right direction, in fact, he didn’t allow a sack in 2019. That’s good protection.
He could easily earn the starting job at center or guard. The biggest issue the Rams offensive line faced was inconsistency, both in play and in health. If there is one thing that Ruiz is, it is consistent. He played all 26 games for Michigan. Not only was he on the field every Saturday, but he is also a robot on the line. He doesn’t waste movement and he plays with ease and doesn’t panic. Don’t mistake that ease for softness, he has an explosiveness that catches defenders off guard.
The biggest knock against Ruiz is his footwork. The most interesting drill to watch Ruiz execute will be the three-cone drill.
Isaiah Wilson – OT
Drafting this mountain of an offensive tackle would also be a step in the right direction. Wilson is 6’7” 340lbs and has a nearly 7’ wingspan and a size 18 shoe. He improved in his time at Georgia, but is still a raw talent. Wilson relies on his size and strength rather than skills. With a lot of molding, he could move into a starting role at tackle within the foreseeable future.
The Rams would have to work on his footwork and leverage. Because his center of gravity is high, he often leans rather than pushes. He will create substantial buzz coming out of the combine but will need time and mentorship to get him to meet his potential.
Zack Moss – RB
The Rams need to run the ball and Todd Gurley doesn’t seem to be the long-term answer. Zack Moss might be. He is being compared to Marshawn Lynch and NFL Analyst Lance Zierlein wrote, “Watching Moss’ game tape is like watching an exercise in controlled violence on just about every carry..” Moss had a stellar career for the Utes, finishing his college career as the all-time rushing leader for the U of U.
Despite a lot of favorables, Moss isn’t expected to go in the first round. The combine will not do him any favors. He isn’t the fastest or the strongest guy out there. The combine won’t highlight what he does best, which is run through people like a cement truck. Similarly, Marshawn Lynch wasn’t impressive at all at the combine in 2007. Rams fans should root for Moss to underperform, so he is overlooked until the 52nd pick.
Nick Coe – DE/OLB
The most intriguing thing to watch for from Nick Coe, is how hard he will push himself. Will he push through to the finish line on the 40? Will he fight for an extra rep on the bench? Coe had a breakout season for Auburn in 2018. He recorded seven sacks, two forced fumbles and was second on the team in tackles. Coming out of the season he was considered to be a first rounder. In 2019 he saw his playing time cut. Coe started only one game in 2019 and 10 in 2018. He is now expected to go in the second round. Coe is a natural pass rusher, but lacks versatility. He has a lot of raw talent, but would need time to develop. The Rams have proved the ability to develop young talent on defense.
Due to the cut in his snaps, he decided not to play in the team’s bowl game and declared early for the draft. Decisions like that don’t have an effect on teams drafting players like Nick Bosa, but a player like Coe should want every opportunity to prove himself. It could call into question his maturity and character. Of course, the combine doesn’t measure a player’s character, but it can reveal a lot about work ethic and grit. A strong showing from him at the combine will prove that he is more the 2018 version than the 2019 and will alleviate any stigma of immaturity.
Isaiah Simmons – LB
If there is anyone the Rams should trade up to get, it is Isaiah Simmons. He is a scary combination of big, fast and strong. He is 6’3” 228 lbs with a 6’10” wingspan and a former state champion long jumper. In his final season at Clemson, he played all over the place switching between linebacker, safety, edge rusher, nickel back, and cornerback alignments. He recorded 102 tackles, eight sacks, and three interceptions. An old school defensive coordinator might not know what to do with such versatility, but first-year DC Brandon Staley is anything but old school.
He would also help with the team’s cap problems. Cory Littleton’s next contract is going to have many more millions than his last. Simmons would allow the Rams to let him go, but have a high ceiling linebacker. Also, the Rams would have to trade away a pretty penny (Todd Gurley, cough cough) to get high enough to get Simmons. It’s a win-win, get a great player on a rookie deal, dump some big money.