LA Rams 2021 NFL Draft Picks limit new rookie talent

(Photo by NFL via Getty Images)
(Photo by NFL via Getty Images) /

The LA Rams 2021 NFL Draft picks status improved but continues to spotlight the team’s struggle to onboard talented rookies

The LA Rams 2021 NFL Draft will be another important infusion of inexpensive talent for the Rams, a team burdened by uncertain salary cap space next year.  The challenge with future draft picks for the Rams is the number of trades made which have serious implications upon the number and location of those picks.

We know that the Rams surprised everyone with a trade of wide receiver Brandin Cooks to the Houston Texans for a 2020 second-round pick at 57, a pick which eventually yielded a very promising rookie wide receiver in Van Jefferson. One detail that did not capture the attention of many is that the Rams not only sent Cooks to the Texans but also agreed to send a 2022 fourth-round pick to the Texans.

And so, it’s almost a necessity to revisit the Rams future draft picks. As of mid-May 2020, the Rams possess four of their seven picks per the annual NFL allotment. The other three picks were traded away in the acquisition of CB Jalen Ramsey and OG Austin Corbett. The Rams project to benefit from two compensatory picks in 2021, one third-round, and one fourth-round pick. So how does that look?

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2021 NFL Draft picks

Round 1 – The LA Rams make their final installment payment to the Jacksonville Jaguars for the Jalen Ramsey trade. – no picks

Round 2 – The Rams hold their second-round pick. – one pick
Round 3 – The Rams hold their third-round pick – two picks
Round 3 – The Rams will likely be awarded a third-round compensatory pick for the loss of OLB Dante Fowler Jr. – three picks
Round 4 – The LA Rams make their final installment payment to the Jacksonville Jaguars for the Jalen Ramsey trade. – three picks

Round 4 – The Rams will likely be awarded a fourth-round compensatory pick for the loss of Cory Littleton to the Las Vegas Raiders – four picks
Round 5 – The LA Rams make their payment to the Cleveland Browns for the Austin Corbett trade. – four picks

Round 6 – The Rams hold their sixth-round pick – five picks
Round 7 – The Rams hold their seventh-round pick. – six picks

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2022 NFL Free agents

If the LA Rams continue to use their NFL draft picks to target positions vacated by the potential free agents lost the following year, the team will most definitely need to use their 2021 NFL Draft picks to address the team’s defense.

The Rams projected 2022 free agents include four linebackers and five defensive linemen. In comparison, the Rams project just four expiring contracts of offensive linemen in 2022. The most recognizable potential losses in 2022 are WR Robert Woods, DT A’Shawn Robinson, backup QB John Wolford, and the linebacker(s) who win a starting role this year. Right now, 20 players are under-contract due to expire in 2022.  Of that number, only a handful of players appear to be significant contributors.

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The potential compensatory picks in 2022 will be vital to the team, but even the addition of a third and a fourth-round pick may not be enough to bolster the rookie class of 2022 for the Rams.  It will likely depend upon the 2021 NFL Salary cap, and the ability of the Rams to manage their future payroll within that new limit.  Lots of issues to ponder while we await a return to normalcy.