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Drafting To Run It Back And Beyond

The Los Angeles Rams entered the draft in the luxurious position (while drafting from a luxurious house) of not needing to WIN NOW and instead used their eight picks (that seemingly fell from the sky)to find ways to run it back. The way Les Snead has been drafting the last few years has allowed the Rams’ cupboards to remain stocked enough to where there weren’t any GLARING needs.

Yes, players have left, and teams always have needs but this isn’t a situation where the Rams were drafting as if their current run is ending. They came away with eight rookies and a veteran that are all capable of working into the rotation to varying degrees and allow them to reinforce their chances to Run it Back.

Despite all the jokes, the Rams didn’t trade down from the 104th pick and instead took Logan Bruss out of Wisconsin. Drafting a lineman from Wisconsin is something the Rams like to do and they found a guy that can both start today (replacing Austin Corbett) and who can take over when they most likely lose fellow Badger David Edwards in 2023.

Run It Back: Solidify The Offensive Line

Aside from having a fantastic lineman name, Bruss helps solve the one aspect of the Rams’ offense that absolutely needed solving. He’s an excellent run blocker which the Super Bowl demonstrated was a glaring weakness. Despite having a young group of guys such as Bobby Evans, Tremayne Anchrum Jr., and Coleman Shelton that can slot into any position, they felt that drafting a lineman was their top priority.

They ignored the position last year and it almost bit them throughout the year with injuries and COVID. Bruss is the first new player for coach Kevin Carberry to mold and he could easily wind up taking the job over any of the incumbents.

Run It Back: Run The Ball

Another internet joke is that the Rams would eschew a position of need and draft a running back to give Sean McVay a new toy. Drafting Kyren Williams didn’t come at the expense of need but it certainly gives McVay a new toy. Much like Logan Bruss, Williams solves a huge hole in the Rams’ offense. Cam Akers‘s injury aside, the Rams struggled to find a consistent running game. Sony Michel was their best starter towards the end of the season and Darrell Henderson couldn’t stay healthy.

Williams’ biggest asset is how great he is both as a pass blocker and as a weapon in the passing game. Henderson came up BIG in the Super Bowl but he can’t be counted on to stay healthy, not to mention he’s in the final year of his rookie contract.

Williams can contribute this season both on special teams along with fellow back Jake Funk and depending on how his camp goes could wind up taking snaps from Henderson sooner than later.

Run It Back: Build Around Jalen Ramsey

Drafting a corner or two was the biggest priority going into this draft. Apparently, the Rams are avid readers on the LAFB Network because they did just that. Of the cupboards that needed restocking, the corner spot is one that was beginning to get a little thin. Darious Williams was picked up in free agency by Jacksonville and that’s left a big hole next to Jalen Ramsey.

Yes, the Rams have David Long Jr. but he’s allowed the highest receptions on the team, and Robert Rochell is coming off an injury. They didn’t have the money for Stephon Gilmore and they needed a vet while their rookies develop and they found one in Troy Hill.

Not only do they bring the proto STAR back but they did so without sacrificing a pick from this draft (it was for a 5th next year). Hill fell out of favor in Cleveland which is weird because he started 471 snaps from the slot last year which led anyone else on the Browns plus he led all corners with 41 tackles.

He and Ramsey can play the STAR role, which will allow for more flexibility with Ramsey. The rookies they drafted, Derion Kendrick and Decobie Durant are likely to work into the rotation throughout the year.  Durant is a smallish corner but is a ball shark having led the MEAC with 14 picks last year. Kendrick should eventually take the David Long role after next season. He didn’t allow a TD last year and had the third most picks in the SEC.

The last big thing the Rams did was restock their safety cupboard. While they have a lot of bodies there, the fact that they had to go to the woods and convince Eric Weddle to come out of retirement spoke volumes. Jordan Fuller is coming off an ankle injury, Terrell Burgess never seemed comfortable coming off his ankle injury the year before, and Taylor Rapp isn’t long for this team both because his skill set hasn’t expanded on top of his health concerns. Nick Scott might leave next year as well so the Rams needed to get started at replenishing sooner than later.

They selected Quentin Lake and Russ Yeast in the sixth and seventh rounds. The Rams allowed the highest completion percentage on throws in the middle of the field. They need more bodies in the secondary regardless but now they have two projects to develop. Considering they missed out on Tyrann Mathieu the need for more safety help is even greater than it was a week ago.

Despite their “f–k them picks” reputation the Rams are adept at optimizing their draft capital. They always come away with first-year starters with guys from the middle rounds. Either they become Cooper Kupp and become fixtures on the team or they become John Johnson where they would LOVE to keep them but their cap constraints price them out and then they get a comp pick. So it’s all good. This year they found a way to get better immediately and signal who they’re prepared to lose next year. It’s a complicated formula but it works and it will need to work to run it back.


Los Angeles Rams Cornerback Troy Hill Photo Credit: Will Navarro | LA Rams

Los Angeles Rams Cornerback Troy Hill Photo Credit: Will Navarro | LA Rams

Chauncey Telese

Author Chauncey Telese

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