While the LA Rams have found success by drafting after most NFL teams have made multiple draft selections, let’s not kid ourselves. The LA Rams are subject to the same uncertainty and must rely upon the same imperfect data that all teams must use to make their picks. The Rams win some. But this team loses some too.
The problem is, many of the swings and misses in the 2021 NFL Draft forced this team to trade picks to plug roster holes later in the season. So those whiffs hurt the team twice.
Hindsight is often described as 20/20 vision, simply because it is so easy to see things far more clearly and accurately after the fact. Still, NFL teams must go through the exercise on an annual basis. That process is a necessary check-and-balance because failing to course-correct after the draft keeps the team heading in the wrong direction. Failing to review a selection process after each draft class can and will be very problematic.
No, I’m not here to bash the Rams front office for failing to identify some remote star who nobody heard about before the draft, but who skyrocketed to NFL fame in his rookie season. But I believe that players we had mocked to the LA Rams who were there when the LA Rams had the opportunity to make the selection is completely fair game. So who did the Rams snub on Draft Day? We’ve got three rookies who were there for the taking, and at positions of need, but the Rams failed to make the selection.
Strike I: Choosing RB Jake Funk over OLB Jonathon Cooper
The LA Rams needed help on the edge, so much so that the team traded a 2022 second-round and third-round pick for veteran OLB Von Miller. The team could have avoided all of that simply by following our mock draft and selecting the Ohio State outside linebacker we raved about, Jonathon Cooper.
Watch this from Ohio State fifth-year senior captain Jonathon Cooper. pic.twitter.com/m3UQ3t7GSS
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) August 10, 2020
The problem is that the Rams needed an outside linebacker. In fact, the team wanted an outside linebacker so badly in the 2021 NFL Draft that the team chose small-school prospect, Chris Garrett. But just like the Rams doubled down on safety in 2020, the team had an ideal scenario where the team might have added Jonathon Cooper as well in the seventh round.
He was the guy on the bench whose play prompted the Denver Broncos to trade away Von Miller. He has played just 275 defensive snaps but has already racked up 20 tackles and two quarterback sacks. Best of all, he doesn’t miss a tackle. We saw big things for Cooper on the Rams roster. Unfortunately, the LA Rams front office didn’t share our opinion.