NFL Draft season is officially upon us and teams are continuing their extensive research on all of the prospects in this year’s draft. The draft is one of the best ways to add depth or replace a lost player in the NFL. This draft is going to be an important one for plenty of teams.
One of the teams who will need to succeed in this draft is the Los Angeles Rams. Coming off of an embarrassing Super Bowl loss, the Rams are looking forward to 2019.
The Rams first selection in this year’s draft will be the 31st overall pick in the first round. Here are five potential players that the Rams could select when they are on the clock for the first time.
5. Jerry Tillery (DT, Notre Dame)
In the upcoming free agency, the Rams could lose Ndamukong Suh. The Rams could look to re-sign him but if his asking price is too steep, the Rams need to move on.
Drafting a defensive tackle could be the Rams ultimate move in the first round. Jerry Tillery is one of the guys they’d definitely consider if they are looking for a defensive tackle.
Of course, he would need to be available at the 31st pick in the draft. If he is, Tillery has the potential to be an every-down starter in the NFL.
Multiple scouts have issues with his character but the Rams took in guys like Suh, Marcus Peters, and Aqib Talib with no issues arising.
Tillery had his best season in 2018, where he had 8.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks for Notre Dame. His strength at the point of attack and ability to rush the passer from the interior makes him an intriguing option for the Rams.
4. Byron Murphy (CB, Washington)
Another decision the Rams will need to make is whether or not they keep Peters and Talib for the long haul. If not, the Rams could be contemplating on taking a cornerback with the 31st pick.
Byron Murphy would be a likely candidate if cornerback was the route the Rams chose. Murphy would be projected higher in this draft if there weren’t so many pass rushers.
At Washington, Murphy totaled six interceptions and 74 tackles in two seasons. He would be a worthy replacement for either Peters or Talib in the future.
When you watch Murphy he plays bigger than his weight indicates and isn’t afraid to make tackles in the run game. His mobility and ability to change direction to locate the ball are also phenomenal.
If the Rams want to strengthen their secondary, Murphy wouldn’t be a bad choice at all if he’s still available.
3. Dexter Lawrence (DT, Clemson)
If the Rams are looking to add a true nose tackle in this draft, look no further than Dexter Lawrence from Clemson. Lawrence is solid, standing at 6’3″ and weighing in at about 350 pounds.
At Clemson, Lawrence was the ultimate run-stopper but was lackluster at rushing the passer. His ability to fill the gap and maintain his position makes him a day-one starter in the NFL.
In his three seasons with Clemson, Lawrence totaled 18 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, and 131 total tackles. The Rams could absolutely use someone like Lawrence to improve their run defense.
In 2018, the Rams were ranked 23rd in the NFL against the run. This is likely due to the fact that Suh was playing nose-tackle in a 3-4 defensive scheme.
Suh has always been a pass-rushing defensive tackle in a 4-3 scheme. Lawrence would be a nice addition to a defensive line that comprises of Donald and Michael Brockers.
2. Nassir Adderley (FS, Delaware)
Another huge need for the Rams this offseason is free-safety. The Rams are likely to let Lamarcus Joyner go after he played on the franchise tag in 2018.
Joyner struggled in 2018 after having an impressive 2017 in Wade Phillips’ defense. With Eric Reid recently getting a contract extension from the Carolina Panthers worth around $22 million over three-years, Joyner will likely get a nice payday in free agency.
If the Rams need to fill the void left by Joyner, look no further than Nassir Adderley out of Delaware. Adderley is quick to read offenses and is very good in run support.
When you watch the film you can see he isn’t afraid to take on blocks and is a great form tackler. He has had past experience with playing cornerback so that has helped him with his coverage skills.
If Adderley is still obtainable at the 31st pick, the Rams would be wise to consider drafting him.
1. Brian Burns (OLB, Florida State)
If the Rams lose Dante Fowler—or even not—I believe their biggest need is an edge rusher. The Rams traded for Fowler midway through the season.
Fowler took a few weeks to get acclimated in the Rams defense but really turned it on in the playoffs. Without Fowler making a hit on Drew Brees in the NFC Championship game, the Rams don’t make the Super Bowl.
With his play in the postseason, Fowler likely made himself a lot of money. Will the Rams be willing to bring him back on a high price tag? That is unknown but the Rams would be smart to consider drafting an edge rusher either way. Brian Burns out of Florida State would be a match made in heaven for the Rams.
Burns will likely fall in the draft due to his lack of size at 6’4″ and 235 pounds. When you put on the tape though, his size doesn’t matter at all when you see how quick he is off the edge.
His get-off is very fast and is very refined at rushing the passer. He’s very versatile and can be moved around to get after the quarterback.
If Burns falls late into the first round, the Rams need to jump on the opportunity to select him immediately.