When the Los Angeles Rams, formerly the St. Louis Rams, are on the clock at the NFL draft, they should have one positional focus that towers above all else: Offensive linemen.
Last year’s showing proved this much. The Rams went 9-7 and missed the playoffs while struggling to gain any sort of traction on the ground. They’re super reliant on running back Todd Gurley, but they don’t yet have the bodies up front to carve out the holes necessary to help him pick up big gains.
Only six teams last season averaged fewer yards per rushing attempt than the Rams. That, in turn, forced them into third-and-long situations in which they needed to trust the arm and precision of quarterback Jason Goff. And though they signed him to a record NFL extension months prior, he just didn’t play the way expected of big-money QBs.
Improving the offensive line depth will go a long way toward helping both Gurley and Goff. Another pass-catcher to stretch defensive coverages would be good as well. Unfortunately for the Rams, they might not have access to an immediate difference-maker.
Looking at the depth chart, they need at least one offensive tackle and one interior offensive lineman. The problem: They don’t have their own first-round pick. They flipped it as part of the Jalen Ramsey trade. And not only does their first pick doesn’t come until the second round, but they won’t be on the clock until the end of it, at No. 52.
Many draft experts don’t even have them taking an offensive line contributor at that spot. There aren’t a ton of notable names expected to be available in that range. This year’s second-round well is flush with defensive tackles, players in the secondary and the occasional position offensive player.
Maybe the Rams will get lucky and fall into offensive guard Damien Lewis out of LSU. Given the year he just had, though, most don’t believe he’ll make it out of the 40s.
With no clear offensive-line options on the board, the Rams shouldn’t force it. They can pick up a defensive tackle or, more preferably, roll the dice on another receiver. Jalen Reagor from TCU and K.J. Hamler from Penn State are two downfield weapons that could still be on the board when the Rams make their initial selection.
Whatever they end up doing, it sure seems like they won’t be able to immediately plug their holes on the offensive line in the draft—at least not before Round 3.