Rams NFL Draft first-round targets
The Rams may not have a first-round pick this season, but you always label players as targets in the first round. You never know if you’re going to get a chance to trade for a first-round pick or if one of these prospects drops to you in the second round. You have to stay ready and prepare for every angle.
Let’s talk about some of the first-round talents that will potentially land on the Rams boards.
LB Nick Bolton, Missouri
Nick Bolton is one of my favorite prospects in this draft. He reminds me a lot of Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Devin Bush, who was a top-ten pick in the 2019 NFL Draft and has been a stellar addition to their defense. Bolton is fast, athletic, and very, very physical.
The Rams need someone with the energy that Bolton can bring. Imagine being able to blitz A-gaps with both Aaron Donald and Nick Bolton charging through the lines. It would be paralyzing for offenses to figure out how to deal with them coming at you and Jalen Ramsey waiting for the throw on the perimeter.
You will mostly see Bolton projected in the second round currently in mock drafts. However, that is going to change over the next couple of months. I wouldn’t be shocked if Bolton comes off the board in the top-twenty. He’s projected to be a monster in the NFL and I think wherever he goes he’s going to make a play for defensive rookie of the year. He’s that ready.
CB Tyson Campbell, Georgia
Tyson Campbell (6’2″ 185 lbs) is a big, physical cornerback who has stepped up big in the Georgia defense this season. Campbell generally takes on the number-one receiver that the Bulldogs face, and has shown up big in much-needed moments this season. He’s seen some good receivers who will play on Sundays, too, like Josh Palmer and Seth Williams.
Campbell is a phenomenal talent in his own right. He was a five-star prospect coming out of high school, he’s been highly regarded most of his football career, and he has great athleticism and range. The only concern that teams will have with Campbell is that he isn’t really a great tackler, he wants to dominate with his coverage ability and not get too involved in run defense. That’s something that shouldn’t concern the Rams too much.
EDGE Quincy Roche, Miami (Fl)
Quincy Roche is a transfer from Temple, where he had been a dominant force off of the edge in 2019. He caught my attention last year while at Temple when he went on a 10 sack-13 tackles-for-loss rampage over four games against South Florida, UConn, Tulane, and Cincinnati. I had half-expected him to declare for the draft last year, but Roche opted to leave as a graduate transfer and play at Miami this season. Roche ended up making a great decision, as the top edge prospect at Miami, Gregory Rousseau, opted-out of the season due to COVID-19.
Roche projects best as an outside linebacker in a 3-down-lineman system, which is what the Rams primarily use. Roche’s skill set, to me, is very similar to that of Clay Matthews, who played with the Rams and had a good season (when healthy) in 2019.
It’s worth noting that Roche’s current projection based on my own rankings as well as most websites currently is late-first round and maybe even a day-two target. He can be a very solid pass rusher, especially in one-on-one opportunities, and is already a stiff run defender.