With the 253rd overall selection of the 2022 NFL Draft, the LA Rams selected S Russ Yeast from Kansas State. Yeast seemed like a prospect who was a luxury pick at first, but when viewed against the project free agents off the Rams roster in 2023, he is well-timed. Not only does he fit into the talent pipeline now for a future and perhaps a far more significant role in the future, but he can contribute to special teams instantly.
The LA Rams took a safety with their second pick of the seventh-round in the 2022 NFL Draft, adding Kansas State ROVER Russ Yeast, which was a good fit for what they want to do. I talked a good bit about Yeast shortly after he was drafted and broke down what he brings to the field.
While Yeast will no doubt be a good fit for the Rams, we’re speculating on two guys that they left on the board that they could have used the pick on instead. Here are two prospects that they left on the board. So let’s get to it.
S Juanyeh Thomas, Georgia Tech
Juanyeh Thomas is an intriguing safety prospect with some tools who played an outstanding career at Georgia Tech. He seemed to have mostly plateaued in college, not showing that growth over the last couple of years in his game or production.
Thomas was a Shrine Bowl invite where he made arguably the most impressive play of the game preventing a touchdown with his downhill, physical tackling style. My notes were mostly positive on Thomas;
"Good speed for the position, albeit not great. Very explosive athlete, though. Excellent burst and acceleration. Not the strongest tackler on the field. A little bit underwhelming to be honest. Doesn’t have the strength to effectively use his wrap up technique. Oftentimes prefers to attempt to strip rather than tackle. Offers some effective range. Good pursuit angles to limit the gain as much as he can."
Thomas would end up signed as an undrafted free agent with the Dallas Cowboys. Russ Yeast is obviously the player that they liked better, but it’s fun to think of Thomas in this backfield potentially blowing up plays in the NFC West.
OT Obinna Eze, TCU
Although a transfer student from Memphis, Obinna Eze played his 2021 season at TCU and had a respectable season. He’s a big, hulking prospect who stands 6-foot-6 and weighs 325-pounds in a massive frame. He started every game over the last three years at right tackle (except for one game where he started at left tackle), earning an All-Big 12 honorable mention.
The Athletic’s star draft analyst Dane Brugler ranked Eze as his nineteenth best tackle prospect in this class, and had this to say in his The Beast;
"Eze has a basketball background and boasts the long arms to dominate opponents as both a pass blocker and run blocker, especially when he locks out and keeps his punch on schedule. However, his feet are often late matching his hand movements, and he has a tough time reacting to moving targets."
The Rams would address this position with the 261st overall pick, where they took Michigan State’s, AJ Arcuri. Eze was picked up as an undrafted free agent by the Detroit Lions, where he was guaranteed $175,000. Obviously, the Rams felt that Arcuri would be a better fit, but it is fun to consider.
OT Obinna Eze was graded as high as Round 6 by some analysts. Apparently, the LA Rams personnel staff disagreed.