Rams NFL Draft second and third round targets
The Rams have two picks in day two of the NFL Draft currently, both their second and third-round picks. The hope is that someone like Quincy Roche or Tyson Campbell slides into the second round. At this moment both positions (EDGE and cornerback) are very much up in the air. The reason for the lack of clarity in those positions is that both positional groups are missing elite-tier talents. There is no clear number one prospect but, instead, there’s a lot of good talent.
The EDGE and cornerback positions are going to come down to team preference. We will have a much better idea of what teams will prefer certain players once the draft gets closer. So it’s impossible to know just yet who will be off of the board by the time that the Rams get to pick. However, we will focus on the general projections and who the Rams would prefer based on the scheme.
CB Israel Mukuamu, South Carolina
Isreal Mukuamu (6’3″ 205 lbs) is a lengthy, gritty, and athletic man cornerback who does a phenomenal job with playing press coverage. Mukuamu caught my attention last season against Georgia, when he intercepted now Buffalo Bills quarterback not once, not twice, but three times in the Gamecocks upset victory over the Bulldogs.
Because of his athletic ability, I would like to think that the Rams could potentially slide him into the slot. The Rams back end is really doing a great job mixing up where defensive backs are dropping across the field to cause intensity and confusion. Mukuamu has the ability to play in all three levels of coverage – man, press, and zone. With his length, athleticism, and aggression, he could be a perfect addition to the Rams defense.
LB Chazz Surratt, North Carolina
Chazz Surratt (6’2″ 225 lbs) is a talented inside linebacker prospect who would be an upgrade over Kenny Young, in my opinion, pretty early on in his NFL career. Surratt is a former quarterback who played in 10 games at the position for the Tar Heels his first couple of years with the team. He switched to linebacker upon the arrival of Mack Brown and surprised a lot of people with his growth at the position and his on-field vision and intelligence. Surratt collected 115 tackles last season and 6.5 sacks.
The Tar Heels ask Surratt to do a lot of things – drop into coverage (both man and zone), play A and B gap assignments, play with some range, blitz the quarterback, and he usually does well at it. He has the size and athleticism to cover tight ends downfield, and that’s a big bonus to anyone entering the league.
Young’s problem is that he oftentimes misreads the play. He can make big plays if he sees it coming, but that’s an awful big if. Surratt showed smart ability last season, his first year at linebacker, and has taken steps this season to improve on that. Surratt has a very high ceiling and could develop into a very good linebacker in the NFL, and with the flexibility that he shows, he could fit into the Rams system perfectly from day one.
IOL Ben Cleveland, Georgia
Ben Cleveland (6’5″ 325 lbs) is essentially a run mauler with great strength and quickness. His size is something that should intrigue a lot of teams across the league, especially when these teams notice just how low he plays. The Georgia offensive line has a lot of talent across the board and dominated most of the games that they played in with careful aggression and brutal strength. Cleveland plays a lot of those strengths. He has the quickness to play center, although he’s played right guard most of his career.
I like Ben Cleveland in Los Angeles because of the need for the interior of the offensive line. Ben Corbett, currently the right guard, played at both center and left guard in college. If the Rams wanted to solidify the right side of the line, they could slide Corbett to the center spot and move Cleveland to the right guard. It would strengthen the offensive line and put Corbett in a more natural position.