- The biggest need, the hidden need and what else the Rams should be looking for in the 2019 draft.
Two weeks ahead of the NFL draft, Andy Benoit and Gary Gramling are breaking down draft needs for all 32 teams. You can also see every team in a single post here.
Biggest Need: Interior O-line
Rodger Saffold must be replaced at left guard. And at center, savvy veteran John Sullivan’s football IQ has been so integral to this offense that you wouldn’t be surprised to see the Rams call the 34-year-old around Labor Day to lure him back for one more year. (They chose not to exercise his contract option in March, but that was to save $6.25 million in cap space.) Even if the idea of milking one more year out of Sullivan is floating in the back of Sean McVay’s and GM Les Snead’s minds—and it’s just a guess that it even is—the Rams still needs long-term insurance at center or guard. They used their second pick last year on Brian Allen, but that came in the fourth round. Their first pick, third-rounder Joseph Noteboom, will get a chance to start inside, but the hope is he can one day assume 37-year-old Andrew Whitworth’s left tackle spot. With one of the league’s best O-line coaches (Aaron Kromer), the Rams, theoretically, can trust in their ability to develop a project player. But being in full-fledged win-now mode, they’d almost certainly prefer to find a reliable plug-and-play guy.
Hidden Need: Cornerback
Depth is already a concern for this season, plus every corner on the roster, including starters Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib, is in the final year of his contract. Locking up Peters is the top priority, but given his locker room reputation in college and at Kansas City, plus his inconsistent technique and boom-or-bust style of play, you want to wait until the last possible minute to make that long-term commitment. Which means Peters could well play out this season and then the 2020 season on the franchise tag before getting his deal. A lot can happen during that time. The Rams need options at his position.
Also Looking For: Pass Rusher
The Rams signed the soon-to-be 33-year-old Clay Matthews, not the 25-year-old Clay Matthews. And with Ndamukong Suh gone, they’re down a penetrator inside.
Who They Can Get
There's maybe a 50/50 chance the Rams can stay where they are and grab NC State's Garrett Bradbury, an athletic pivot who is NFL-ready. If they're prepared to go with Allen and look toward the corners and pass rushers, Washington's Byron Murphy, who thrived playing off-coverage in college, is a natural fit. Temple's Rock Ya-Sin would also be an interesting developmental prospect. Among the pass-rushers, they could be in the right range for Louisiana Tech's Jaylon Ferguson on the edge, or perhaps they go with Notre Dame DL Jerry Tillery and worry about how he fits next to Aaron Donald later.
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