The Los Angeles Rams have a lot of positions they’ll look at come draft time. With needs on both sides of the football, the question is which side gets the attention.
When the Los Angeles Rams finally get around to making their first draft choice later this month, the intrigue will lie in which direction they go. This team has needs that run deep. And while it may be easy to say offense may be the smart choice, Los Angeles will have holes on defense after the 2017 season that will require attention sooner rather than later.
It is impossible to ignore the investment Los Angeles made on the offensive side of the ball in last year’s draft. After GM Les Snead and ex-coach Jeff Fisher traded up for Cal quarterback Jared Goff, four of their next five picks went to offensive players, pass catchers all, beginning with Western Kentucky tight end Tyler Higbee. After a disappointing season, It’s easy to say that the jury is still out on the 2016 class, including Goff.
Where the Rams go in this draft won’t likely resemble the drafts’ of recent memory, as this team is needing to remake itself. I won’t say that Los Angeles is a rebuild, but their former model didn’t yield a winning season. What they do next, especially with how they draft this year, will be a curious watch.
Alden Gonzalez of ESPN put together a list of 10 players that provide an interesting template for how Los Angeles may address their respective needs both offensively and defensively.
For my money, you don’t draft Jared Goff first overall, and then hope he can overcome obvious team skill deficiencies. For that reason alone, I think offense is still your main priority. In this draft, one deep at the receiver and tight end position, the Rams have options, and two names stand out that should to Les Snead as well.
First, is Washington wide receiver John Ross.
Now in all honesty, it’s hard to believe Ross will fall to Los Angeles (fifth pick in the second round, 37th overall) after his draft stock shot way up with his combine performance, posting a 4.22, 40-yard dash. It’s the number in the 40-yard dash that is exactly why he’d be a great selection for the Rams: speed. This team lacks anyone who can get down the field the way Ross did at Washington.
That is a real need in Los Angeles.
Put his 2015 ACL injury and recent shoulder surgery in its proper perspective. He was impressive in his career in Seattle where he had 1,150 yards receiving with 17 touchdowns. good enough for second best in PAC-12 history.
Another player that the Rams should take a long look at is someone familiar with the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum: JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Smith-Schuster totaled 10 touchdowns his last two season at USC, and had 149 catches for 2,368 yards. It’s also worth noting that JuJu is 6’-1” and 215 pounds. A slight difference from PAC-12 mate John Ross who is 5’-11” and 190 pounds. Size at the wide receiver is something the Rams may take a look at, and may be a good fit with the former USC Trojan.
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The Rams have needs like a lot of other teams. But drafting Goff first overall last season almost dictates that they see that selection through by staying offensive minded in this draft. Les Snead will have to do that while keeping a wary eye on his defense. He needs to thread the draft needle, which is something that didn’t happen in St. Louis, but needs to now in L.A.