Day 1 Recap And Analysis For The Rams
Is it possible to have a perfectly balanced draft? If that is even a thing, then this year was it. At times it seemed it was going all chalk, but at just the right time the perfect level of intrigue inserted itself.
Of course, it wasn’t high drama when the 49ers picked Trey Lance, but there certainly was a large contingent demanding that Mac Jones was a Kyle Shanahan quarterback. But Shanahan has eyes for a different kind of QB. That, or he is trying to atone for the draft sin of not taking Patrick Mahomes. (By drafting the guy that looks the most like Patrick Mahomes.)
It has to be mentioned that the first big news of the day had nothing directly to do with the draft, but it did cast a long shadow over the draft. Aaron Rodgers wants out of Green Bay and that he listed which teams were acceptable landing grounds. The list included the Raiders, the Broncos, and the 49ers. The Niners made it abundantly clear with their pick that they were still not interested in him 16 years after not drafting him.
But as the picks came off the board and the ninth pick quickly approached, the Denver Broncos, who were favored to take a QB in the draft and were rumored to move up, stayed put and did not draft a QB. Leading many to speculate that a deal had been done to ship the disgruntled Super Bowl champion to Denver.
The latest news from the Packers is that they have no intention of moving Rodgers and are committed to him as the starter. So the Broncos will ride with Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater and still may take a quarterback in later rounds. Which will give them the competition they were looking for. Not only that, but they should be happy with Patrick Surtain ll. Many pegged him as the best corner in the draft class.
This was all but forgotten just two picks later when the Chicago Bears traded up to select Justin Fields. It was hard to determine if Fields was relieved to come off the board or if he was not happy to be going to the Bears. For the sake of Bears fans, we will say it was his stealy ice-water-in-his-veins demeanor.
But wait, didn’t the Bears just trade up to draft a quarterback. Sure, but Mitch Trubisky obviously isn’t the franchise guy they thought he would be and it is not smart to death grip on a sunk cost. But the obvious question is, did Trubisky fail the Bears, or did the Bears fail him? And will Fields just be Trubisky 2.0?
If it seems like this draft is a little too exciting at this point, don’t worry. The Cowboys and the Raiders brought the energy way down by over-drafting their respective picks. And if it’s still a little too exciting, the Patriots drafted Mac Jones. It’s not boring that they picked a QB nor that Jones is boring. It’s just the most predictable pick in the draft other than Trevor Lawrence. Since the national championship game, people have been trying to say he reminds them of Tom Brady without saying Jones reminds them of the greatest quarterback of all time.
Even though the Rams didn’t have a pick in the first round this draft has some big implications. The good news is that there are still some great players that slipped out of the first round that are intriguing for the Rams, some that might keep the Rams in play in the second round. Trading back to accrue picks to add depth is still very much in play, but if the right guy at the right position is available at 57, they will snag him.
No centers have been taken so far, so Quinn Meinerz or Creed Humphrey could drop to them. Also, offensive tackles Dillon Radunz and Liam Eichenberg are still available. The Rams could also be captivated by some of the available cornerbacks. Asante Samuel Jr., Ifeatu Melifonwu, and Aaron Robinson would be a good fit playing opposite Jalen Ramsey in the hole left by Troy Hill. There is a chance that a wide receiver or an edge rusher may entice them to stay, but there won’t likely be a talent left at 57 that would change the tide.
The biggest implication is how this round shifted the Rams strength of schedule. They will play a team with a quarterback drafted in this year’s first-round four times. They play two games against the 49ers and games against the Bears and Jacksonville. Neither the Bears nor the Jaguars are now complete teams, but they did get much better with these additions. That said, either Fields or Lawrence could make a significant immediate impact.
The Rams have struggled against the Shanahan offense, and as a division rival, both of the 49ers games have huge playoff implications. It is unclear when or if Trey Lance will start next season, but to call Jimmy Garappolo injury prone is an understatement.
As for the other teams in the division, so far, they haven’t made big strides toward improvement. Seattle didn’t have a pick in the first round and only have three picks across the board.
The Cardinals decided not to pick one of the many offensive linemen available to offer some protection to Kyler Murray. They opted to add an edge rusher instead. Pass rushing was a need for Arizona and they may have felt they needed to get it in the first round given how shallow this draft class is at that position. Murray was hurried 10th most last season.