4 disastrous picks LA Rams must avoid in the 2023 NFL Draft
By Bret Stuter
Disaster 1: Reach for this secondary help with the 36th overall pick
In some mock drafts, despite the abundance of talented cornerbacks and a few prize safeties in the 2023 NFL Draft class, the LA Rams selection at the 36th overall pick seems to fall between a very talented first wave of defensive backs, but too high for the value of the second wave of defensive backs to appear on the board.
I don't believe that I am sharing any news to Rams fans by suggesting that this team will need help for their secondary, plenty of help. The Rams roster was already thin in the secondary, but has since lost DB Jalen Ramsey to a trade, slot CB David Long and S Nick Scott to free agency signings to other teams, and shows little to no interest in bringing back starting DB Troy Hill or S Taylor Rapp.
That's pretty much all of the Rams secondary starters, with the exception of Cobie Durant and or Derion Kendrick, rookies who were promoted to starting roles out of necessity due to injuries to veteran players. That creates a lot of pressure on the LA Rams front office to address the position.
What if no DB is there?
Mock drafts can only take you so far, but time and time again, mocks show the LA Rams without a valuable selection when the team steps up to the podium for the 36th overall pick. While that may or may not be the case on draft day, it's a scenario that the LA Rams must plan for. But a player who is consistently available when the LA Rams step up to the podium in Round 2 is Syracuse DB Garrett Williams. The trouble is, he is projected as a Round 3 talent:
Williams is talented, a 5-foot-10 192-pound defensive back with solid pass defense skills. While I have no doubt that he could be a contributor in the LA Rams secondary, I'm not convinced that he could be a rookie starter for the Rams. In my opinion, whoever the LA Rams select with their 36th overall pick needs to be a rookie prospect who the Rams are convinced can and will start for the team in the 2023 NFL season.
Williams can stick to his receiver well enough. But when the ball is in the air, he struggles in that all important pivot to play the ball. Of course, coaching from Aubrey Pleasant and Jimmy Lake, two DB coaching specialists who have a stellar reputation at encouraging defensive backs to attack the football, can correct that. But that takes time, perhaps time that the LA Rams will not have.
Garrett Williams is another victim of a 2022 ACL, and that will trigger a medical concern among NFL teams. Of more significant concern is the fact that while he sticks to his receiver well, quarterbacks still managed to earn a 100+ rating when targeting him.
The overall theme for the LA Rams in the 2023 NFL Draft is to be patient, and grab the incredible talent that will surely fall to them at the 36th overall pick. While the team may be eager to trade up and get 'their guy,' or worse yet, to overreach by choosing a player at a position of great need long before he is projected to come off the board, there simply is too much NFL-caliber talent in the 2023 NFL Draft to make those mistakes.