Round 5 - Pass rush and passer
With the 152nd overall pick, the LA Rams select Edge Cedric Johnson, Mississippi. While I am not nearly as alarmed as some as to the quality of the Rams' pass rush, even I cannot ignore the upside potential of this pass-rushing specialist. That is why it makes complete sense for the Rams to select Cedric Johnson late in Round 5.
While some Rams fans believe that a veteran (and very expensive) free-agent pass rusher is atop the offseason shopping list, I am simply not convinced. In fact, in 2023, both rookies outside linebacker Byron Young and nose tackle Kobie Turner outperformed Carolina Panthers DE/OLB Brian Burns. And both players are doing so at a fraction of Burns' cost.
Johnson is a young pass-rushing prospect who adds a new and vital dimension to the LA Rams pass rush. At 6-foot-3 and 265 pounds, he could toggle in the Rams defensive front between a two-point or a three-point stance, which allows the Rams to consider him as a full three-down option. But he also has that uncanny knack for getting to the opposing quarterback.
Cedric Johnson made the 2024 Bruce Feldman's Freak's List, which is a testament to his ability to turn heads and raise eyebrows on the football field. But his elite athleticism masks his raw development in playing the position. He has sporadically violent hands, and he has a great bull rush. But his pass rush arsenal needs to develop a full complement of moves. including swim moves, spin move, and more.
He will need to develop a bit, as all Day 3 rookies do. But he has an excellent foundation, and the competitive fire, that makes him an ideal option for the Rams roster.