The draft needs of the LA Rams in the 2022 NFL Draft were summarized by defensive backs, offensive linemen, and outside linebackers. While the Rams wasted no time addressing their first two needs, they seemed to take the scenic route when it came to adding a pass rusher to the roster.
The LA Rams finally did so when the team selected OLB Daniel Hardy from Montana State with the 235th overall pick of the 2022 NFL Draft. In doing so, the team added another player to the roster who may develop quickly enough to help out this year. The Rams experienced a net loss of three players at the position this offseason.
The Los Angeles Rams, with the first of their three seventh-round picks, selected an outside linebacker in Daniel Hardy from Montana State. Hardy wasn’t a guy that I did a lot of work on during the offseason preparing for the draft and was mostly unheralded throughout the process.
Hardy switched from linebacker to defensive end last year at Montana State and emerged as a key pass rusher on a defense that featured Troy Anderson, who ended up as a second-round pick to the Atlanta Falcons. Here’s an idea of what he brings to the team:
However, I’ve been speculating who the Rams could have taken around these picks, a series that we will continue with here. Let’s speculate and venture at here’s who they could have taken at that spot.
EDGE Christopher Allen, Alabama
When you look at where Hardy projects, the Rams wanted to add some depth to the area where they just lost Von Miller. Christopher Allen could have brought that as well. He suffered a season-ending injury in 2021 during action against Miami in week one, which he has been rehabbing from.
My notes on Allen were mostly positive, although mostly collected from 2020;
"Shows good lateral quickness. Want to see him be more reactive to the edge, especially when playing contain. Good body control. Uses the lineman to control where he is rushing. Excellent hand usage. Uses offensive lineman’s anchor as his own anchor to change direction. Solid run defender who can beat the RPO. Very quick. Excellent burst."
Obviously, always trust your draft board. The Rams had Hardy higher and took him over Allen, probably because Hardy can contribute faster and Allen wasn’t doing too well with medicals. Still, it would be fun to imagine Allen going after NFC quarterbacks, especially with the potential that he presents.
C Dawson Deaton, Texas Tech
Texas Tech’s OC Dawson Deaton has absolutely excellent size for an NFL. He stands a titan-like 6-foot-5 (Almost 6-foot-6) and weighs in at 310-pounds. He’s a three-year starter at center who also started at left tackle in 2018 as a redshirt freshman. His hulking size at the offensive center position isn’t common, as most centers are under 6-foot-4. Regardless, Deaton offers some versatility and would have been a nice swing prospect.
The Athletic’s rockstar draft analyst, Dane Brugler, had an excellent summary of Deaton in his “The Beast” draft guide where he ranked Deaton as his tenth center prospect in the class. A few of his notes were as follows;
The Rams would end up addressing this need with their last pick when they selected AJ Arcuri out of Michigan State with the 261st overall pick. Like I noted before – always trust your draft board. The Rams loved what they saw with Daniel Hardy and they must be confident in the contributions that they can get out of him in the near future.
In the end, the LA Rams chose the player who offered the highest value. Still, it’s always nice to take a look at who may have been chosen.