2023 Senior Bowl participants will dictate LA Rams future

Reese's Senior Bowl
Reese's Senior Bowl / Don Juan Moore/GettyImages
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LA Rams Draft Rams Roster 2023 NFL Draft Davis Allen
Davis Allen Clemson / Eakin Howard/GettyImages

Round 5 pick 175 TE Davis Allen

If I had to point to a rookie from the 2023 NFL Draft who met the criteria of Rams starting tight end Tyler Higbee's successor, I would come very close if not spot on to Clemson tight end Davis Allen. After all, Allen is a towering 6-foot-6 and weighs in at 245 pounds. Allen is not yet crisp on his route-running, nor is he ultimately powerful enough to outmuscle defenders. But he has that uncanny ability to make things happen when he catches a pass.

NFL Draft Profile. Tight end. Davis Allen. player. Davis Allen. Clemson. 175. 51

While he may need some time to work his way up through the Rams depth chart, the Rams will need to get him onto the football field to ensure that he can handle an increased role in the future.

Projection: Backup TE1 in 2023, with increasing role as 2023 progresses

Round 5 pick 177 WR Puka Nacua

One of the more intriguing selections of the LA Rams draft is the selection of BYU WR Puka Nacua. He has ideal size as he stands 6-foot-2 and weighs in at 201 pounds. He even showcased an ability to deliver production with both the Washington Huskies (2 years) and the BYU Cougars (2 years). He has the ability to run clean, crisp routes, and when he gets the football into his hands, he can gain more yards than you might expect. A bit of a Cooper Kupp-lite in terms of what he brings to the Rams roster.

Nacua may not have been tagged with elite potential in his draft profiles, but he has all of the necessary work habits and developed skills of a receiver who can leave his mark in the NFL. Even as the Rams have elite production (Cooper Kupp), elite speed (Tutu Atwell), elite potential (Van Jefferson), and elite versatility (Ben Skowronek), the Rams offense could benefit from a jack-of-all-trades wide receiver like Nacua.

NFL Draft Profile. NFL Draft Buzz. BYU. Puka Nacua. 177. Wide receiver. player. 51

Projection: Backup to WR1 Cooper Kupp, with increasing role as season progresses

Round 7 pick 234 DB Jason Taylor II

The LA Rams certainly needed defensive backs in this draft. While the Rams emerged with just two, the two DBs selected are both downright bargains in terms of value. Tre Tomlinson is capable of starting for the LA Rams in 2023. But I believe that Jason Taylor II out of Oklahoma State is also capable of earning a starting spot in the Rams secondary as well. Projected as high as Round 3 in some draft big boards, Taylor offers that coveted LB/S hybrid role that many defenses are deploying.

Taylor loves to make big plays, and he often does. He came up with six interception in 2022, can halt the ball carrier in his tracks when defending the run, and can track and play centerfield as well as anyone. The problem is that he tries too hard to deliver the big tackle, sometimes commiting too soon and missing the tackle altogether.

NFL Draft Profile. Oklahoma State. 234. 51. NFL Draft Buzz. Safety . Jason Taylor II. player

Some project Jason Taylor to earn the primary return role for both punt and kickoffs, but I don't see any reason to believe that at this point. While he was selected in Round 7, Taylor has the ability to start at safety for the Rams secondary.

Projection: 50/50 shot at starting, 90/10 shot at earning nickel back role.

The Rams drafted seven of their 14 rookies with Senior Bowl experience. Of that group, the team has likely emerged with three starters, a couple of immediate contributors, and a couple of key backups who could step up into significant roles in the future.

Hot. NFL Rumors: LA Rams wisely declined this trade offer on draft day. dark

There is a lot about the LA Rams rookie class of 2023 that is fundamentally sound. Not only have the Rams placed the welcome mat out for 40 rookies already, but the team is clearly preparing to coach as many young players up to an NFL level of play as quickly as possible.

Stay tuned, as this is going to be a Rams Training Camp worth remembering.