The Los Angeles Rams will almost certainly make more changes in the 2023 offseason. Bear in mind that there are still a few unfilled spots on their depth chart. They can, of course, do so through the draft. Yet, the Rams have a few rookie prospects that may be characterized as “traps.” Here we'll look at the rookie prospects that the Los Angeles Rams must avoid in the 2023 NFL Draft.
The Rams have not had a first-round draft pick in the NFL draft for seven years in a row. In the 2023 NFL draft, they have 11 picks. Their first pick, however, is at 36th overall, which is their earliest pick since selecting Jared Goff first overall in 2016. Recall that the Rams traded their first-round picks in 2022 and 2023 to the Detroit Lions in exchange for Matthew Stafford. Although the trade led to the Rams winning the Super Bowl, they now lack a valuable first-round pick as the roster ages.
Apart from that, however, the Rams have three Day 2 picks, including a second-rounder and two third-rounders. Meanwhile, the rest are Day 3 picks. The team has pressing needs on the offensive line and edge, and the 2023 NFL draft class has valuable prospects at both positions. However, Los Angeles may want to acquire more picks within the 90-pick gap between their final third-round selection and their next pick in the draft.
Keep in mind that the Rams' lack of draft capital in the middle of the draft is due to two trades. The first one was for Sony Michel and the other for Troy Hill. Of course, it is difficult to determine who the Rams will target with their first pick. However, they have an opportunity to capitalize on first-round talents who may be slipping through the cracks.
Let’s look at the players that the Rams must avoid in the 2023 NFL Draft.
1. Emmanuel Forbes
Emmanuel Forbes is a former 4-star recruit who played baseball, basketball, and football in high school. He was a starter for Mississippi State's defense and became one of the best intercepting cornerbacks in college football.
Forbes excels in press alignment and offers versatility in scheme and coverage. He has good instincts and handles rub routes and switch releases well. He also has excellent ball skills. Forbes is a solid contributor in the run game, playing physically despite his slim build. However, he tends to freelance in coverage. This can be detrimental as his aggression makes him susceptible to double moves and penalties. There are also concerns about his ability to carry routes vertically against explosive receivers. As such, he needs to improve technically to avoid being out-positioned.
In summary, Emmanuel Forbes is a competitive cornerback with impressive skills in coverage and the run game. His experience as a wide receiver gives him an edge in catching the ball. However, his tendency to freelance in coverage and issues with bigger and more physical receivers are areas for improvement. He will certainly be available when the Rams pick at No. 36. That said, there are at least two other cornerbacks who are better options than Forbes.
despite his (very) skinny frame. I haven't been too worried about Emmanuel Forbes' (#13) willingness to tackle. pic.twitter.com/pXsCe7sPoK
— Nate Tice (@Nate_Tice) April 4, 2023
2. Garrett Williams
Garrett Williams is a physically aggressive defender who demonstrates an alpha mentality in his football performance. He excels in run support due to his ability to trigger downhill and play through contact. He also finishes tackles really well. Williams also possesses good movement skills and reactive athleticism. He has pretty amazing speed, explosiveness, and change-of-direction abilities.
Williams is effective in zone coverage and can disrupt passes at the catch point by playing through the receiver's hands. However, his physicality can lead to a lack of balance when tackling. He also needs to produce more takeaways. In addition, Williams struggles with eye discipline when carrying vertical routes. This allows receivers to stack him. Strangely enough, despite being a sufficient athlete, his long speed is not elite. As such, he may struggle against faster receivers. Remember also that teams will need to re-evaluate his ACL recovery. All these question marks just make Williams a pass for the Rams at No. 36.
1. Jordan Battle
Jordan Battle possesses good size and length that give him an extensive range as a run defender. He also has the ability to make technically-sound tackles and close quickly on ball carriers. He is surely a disruptive force, especially when stopping opposing runners and screen plays. Battle has a high football IQ, athleticism, and physicality. All of these make him a top-level run defender.
In pass coverage, Battle demonstrates fluid hips and plus-level speed. These allow him to run stride for stride with receivers. His best plays come when he plays as a flat-foot read and plays the robber role to read and diagnose route combinations. In addition, Battle has good range to make plays on the stopping football carrier.
That said, Battle has areas of improvement. He tends to take bad angles as a run defender and lose proper leverage in man-to-man coverage. He also struggles with quicker and more explosive receivers who run short to intermediate routes. Overall, we believe Battle will be drafted, but not by the Rams in the second round.