LA Rams past draft whiffs now present roster woes

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams Draft Rams roster
(Photo by NFL via Getty Images) /

2020 NFL Draft

The LA Rams entered the 2020 NFL Draft with a need for help at RB, WR, Edge rusher, DB, LB, K, and OL. That is pretty ambitious shopping. It became even loftier in the goal when considering that the Rams held no first-round picks.

The LA Rams needed to hit the mark with their 2020 draft class, and it appeared that the rookies that year would be solid contributors for years to come. The Rams were able to draft nine players that year, including:

  • RB Cam Akers (52) WR Van Jefferson (57) OLB Terrell Lewis (84, no longer with the team) DB Terrell Burgess (104, no longer with the team) TE Brycen Hopkins (136) DB Jordan Fuller (199) LB Clay Johnston (234, no longer with the team) K Sam Sloman (248, no longer with the team) OL Tremayne Anchrum (250)

The LA Rams 2020 NFL Draft was the first draft following the Rams not making the NFL playoffs, and in the eyes of many fans, the 2020 Draft class needed to load up on offensive linemen. That most certainly did not happen, but the Rams did get some immediate returns from the draft class in 2020.

Of the group, the Rams benefited from significant contributions from RB Cam Akers, WR Van Jefferson, and DB Jordan Fuller. The team also held high hopes for all other sans K Sam Sloman  (released that year) and LB Clay Johnston (signed with Carolina Panthers practice squad).

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Rams draft class losing snaps since 2020

But the Rams lost defensive coordinator Brandon Staley at the end of the 2020 NFL season. As a result, defensive players who fit the LA Rams’ defense in 2020 were no longer a fit in the Rams’ 2021 defensive scheme.

DB Terrell Burgess was a defensive back who the Rams initially hoped to be a versatile defensive back for the Rams and their positionless secondary. While he seemed to be an ideal fit for Brandon Staley, he not only lost the competition with DB Taylor Rapp to start opposite DB Jordan Fuller, his role diminished even further in 2022 to the point where the LA Rams outright released him, still on his rookie contract.

But he is not the only player who slid in the Rams’ defensive depth chart.

2021 starting safety Jordan Fuller had to compete with teammate Taylor Rapp to start opposite DB Nick Scott.  He too lost his spot to Rapp, fell to injury, and has not played since Week 4. At one point, both Fuller and Burgess appeared to be capable of starting for the Rams.

LA Rams 2020 Draft class has lost its luster

Tight end Brycen Hopkins continues to be an enigma. Even as the backup tight end this season, he has played just 60 offensive snaps, and been targeted just three times this season. In his three years in the NFL, Hopkins has been thrown to just four times in the regular season, and four times in the postseason.

Another player from the 2020 Rams draft class who seems to have diminishing roles include RB Cam Akers. Of course, that could simply be due to the Rams’ reluctance to rush. But he has not been getting more carries this season. That can also be said of OLB Terrell Lewis, whose on-field production has not lived up to nearly the expectation for his third NFL season.  Even WR Van Jefferson, due to a prolonged injury, appears to have regressed this year.

Since the 2020 season ended, the LA Rams 2020 Draft class lost its luster.  From a class of nine rookies, the class appeared to have up to seven starters/significant role players among the group. But since that season, the reality that no players from the group will be extended beyond their rookie contract is a very real possibility. That’s particularly disappointing when combined with the results of the Rams draft class of 2021.