The Los Angeles Rams roster is littered with prospects from the NFLPA Bowl. Starters Nick Scott and Brandon Powell both played in the collegiate all-star game. Last season, they added Lance McCutcheon and Daniel Hardy. They were also on the game’s rosters.
The Rams rely on scouting and developing late-round diamonds in the rough. And that is exactly what populates the roster of this NFLPA Bowl roster. The offensive Rams Draft Prospects can be read about here.
Offensive Rams Draft Prospects From The NFLPA Bowl
Michael Ezeike, TE, UCLA
Michael Ezeike is a Rams draft pick if I have ever seen one. At his size, 6’5” 252, he is a mismatch for linebackers and safeties. The Rams love that. He is also fast and athletic enough to go toe-to-toe with nickel and outside corners. Which means he could switch from tight end to wide receiver. The Rams love freak athletes with versatility.
If all this sounds familiar, it should. Ezeike is almost a facsimile of Rams 2021 fourth-round draft pick Jacob Harris. They even were accomplished soccer players before becoming football players. Now I know what you are saying, the Harris experiment hasn’t gone terribly well thus far. Largely due to injury, Harris has hardly seen the field. The argument I would make is that, in theory, a hybrid player like Ezeike should make life very hard on defensive coordinators, especially paired with Cooper Kupp. But, at the end of the day, all that is still a what-if.
What is known is that the Rams will have to address the tight end position in some form or fashion in the offseason. The new Rams offensive coordinator, Mike LaFleur, does seem to have a thing for tight ends. In San Francisco, he had George Kittle and he brought in both Tyler Conklin and C.J. Uzomah while with the Jets. This means they will likely look for a more traditional tight end than Harris this time around. But what may make Ezeike the perfect combo is his more traditional size. He outweighs Harris by about 50 lbs and could be as athletic as him.
Jon Gaines II, OL, UCLA
Similarly to Ezeike, Jon Gaines II is a prototypical Rams draft pick. The quality that makes him a Ram is his versatility. During NFLPA Bowl practices he played center guard and tackle. He played all positions during his time with the Bruins. He isn’t just a versatile lineman, he is also pretty darn good at what he does. UCLA averaged over 200 rushing yards per game in each of his last three seasons. In 2022, the Bruins led all FBS teams with an average of six yards per rush.
When asked if blocking for Dorian Thompson-Robinson was like blocking for a running back, he replied, “Dorian, no. He’s all quarterback.” This means that as the line got better pass blocking, Thompson-Robinson was able to become a better quarterback.
Gaines would bring a lot of on-the-field talent to the Rams, as well as instant depth to all three interior line positions, but his greatest attributes are the less tangible elements. He’s smart. He committed to the Ivy League’s, Princeton University, before being recruited by Chip Kelly. He graduated in three years with a degree in Political Science and finished his Master’s degree in December. He made the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll for six quarters. Not only does that show an acute intellect, but also a commitment and work ethic that is rare.
He is also a gifted and charismatic leader. Michael Ezeike singled him out in my interview with him as a strong and consistent voice through their time together at UCLA.
All these attributes would make Gaines a huge addition to the Rams offensive line. They love smart and versatile linemen and now more than ever they need that. Adding a leader to that mix would go a long way to make up for what was lost with Andrew Whitworth’s retirement.
Gaines stock is on the rise. He left the NFLPA Bowl early to attend the East-West Shrine Bowl, a more prestigious collegiate all-star game.
Titus Swen, RB, Wyoming
The MVP of the NFLPA Bowl game was given to a quarterback. But it should have gone to Titus Swen. The game-winning drive was 57 yards long. Swen picked up 47 yards on that drive. The bulk of which came on back-to-back runs of 23 then 24 yards. This took the American team from their own 44-yard line to the National team’s nine-yard line. This set up the game-winning field goal.
Outside of those carries, plus one that was used to bleed the clock, Swen averaged 4.4 yards per attempt (all-in-all he had 9.1 YPA) This was particularly impressive because of the talented defenses on both sides. All other running backs on both teams combined for 52 yards on 25 attempts, or 2.2 yards per attempt.
In his last season at Wyoming, Swen rushed for 1,039 yards and 8 touchdowns. His 86.6 yards per game was good for fifth-best in the Mountain West Conference. He rushed for 212 yards against one of the best defenses in the MWC, Boise State. In that game, he broke an 83-yard touchdown run which represented 41 percent of the Cowboys points scored in that game.
Swen ended up leaving the team before their bowl game against Ohio University and his presence was missed. On the season the Cowboys averaged 181 yards per game. Against the Bobcats, they only barely got over the century mark. Ohio allowed 144 yards per game last season.
The Rams running back room is a bit scant at the moment. The Rams have bigger fish to fry in the second and third rounds. And my guess is that Swen will be available on day three of the draft. Cam Akers hasn’t proven to be a consistent option and Kyren Williams hasn’t seen the field enough to make any judgments yet. Swen showed good speed to the outside and good vision and power running ability up the middle. He also seems to have the ability to shine the brightest in the big moments.