Round 7 – Picks 248 and 253
At 248, the Rams boost their offense and special teams by adding WR/PR/KR Velus Jones out of Tennessee. While there are no concerns over current return specialist Brandon Powers in that role, the Rams need to establish a backup player for him and Velus Jones Jr. is every bit the player for that purpose.
The Rams struggled to find someone, anyone, who could claim that special teams return specialist role in 2021, and were lucky to stumble onto Powers via a mid-season free agency signing. The front office must be far more proactive this year, as the durability of their ball handlers, last year was horrendous.
Jones is more than just a return specialist. At 6-foot-0 and 204-pounds, he is big enough to withstand NFL physicality and even work towards an active role in the offensive rotation. He played for USC, and as such is likely on the Rams’ radar from those years. While he is a raw offensive weapon, he is absolutely a dangerous return specialist, a role the LA Rams surprisingly are still very much in need of.
At 253, the Rams add RB Kevin Harris out of South Carolina. Even with six running backs returning to the Rams roster for 2022, none played in the 2021 NFL season and remained healthy all year. In fact, three players saw no action whatsoever in 2021, while two others had little experience.
The Rams have plenty of rushers but do not currently have that guy who can bang out yards against physical defenses. By adding South Carolina’s 5-foot-10 220-pound rusher in Kevin Harris, that need is filled.
Harris is not the juke-em twitchy type of rusher who gains yards by avoiding tackles. He does so by running through them. He is the ideal running back for short yardage or red zone scenarios, as he is adept at running powerfully through even the smallest crease, leveling a solid stiff arm, and getting all the yards possible in that carry.
Medical flags have him dropping due to back surgery after the 2020 season, although he did return to carry the ball for 660 yards and four touchdowns in 2021. Late in the seventh round, a north-south runner who is dependable is almost impossible to find. And yet, he is there for the Rams in this mock.
By the end of this draft, the LA Rams have not added a tight end, a quarterback, or perhaps enough depth at several key positions. But the Rams’ secondary, edge rushing, and offensive line are suddenly in far better shape. That is the goal for the Rams in the 2022 NFL Draft.