LA Rams redemption may hinge on selecting 1 of 2 players at 36
By Bret Stuter
The LA Rams need to invest in their roster, and the biggest problem right now is: Where do they start? After pushing the envelope to achieve two Super Bowl appearances over the span of four NFL seasons, the LA Rams have pulled this high-performance team into the pits to allow the Rams front office to give the entire Rams roster a complete overhaul.
That is why I believe that the Rams have got to fight the urge to be flashy and risky with the 36th overall pick of the 2023 NFL Draft. Risks can pay huge dividends, or they can fall short and cost huge premiums. But in neither case do the LA Rams roster building efforts secure a firm and reliable foundation.
But isn't that what the LA Rams are all about this year?
While the Rams can go anywhere in the 2023 NFL Draft and immediately make a strong case that they selected the best player available (BPA) or the most urgent need on the Rams roster, the best strategy may be the simplest. Get some gargantuan offensive linemen to run behind . . .
"One of the surest things in this draft"
The LA Rams have paid the regret bill for failing to select OC Creed Humphrey in the 2021 NFL Draft. That is why I am becoming more and more hopeful that the team does not make the same foolish mistake in the 2023 NFL Draft. That's why, if he is there, I would love to see the LA Rams select the best offensive center in the 2023 NFL Draft, Minnesota OC John-Michael Schmitz.
For starters, he has the ringing endorsement of Jim Nagy, the Executive Director of Reese's Senior Bowl, and an 18-year NFL Scout. What does he have to say about John-Michael Schmitz? Simply that he is "one of the surest things in this draft."
While the LA Rams may be content to ride another season with question marks along the offensive line, I think that it's time to end the debate. The Ramsd cannot keep hoping that scheme will win over talent along the line of scrimmage. If the Rams want to 'get better,' on offense, then the approach of adding speedy vertical threats or diminutive rushers who challenge the defensive perimeter has run its course.
The Rams have to be able to run the football down the defense's throat and make the fast defenses that can outflank the Rams offense pay the price of their gambles. The Rams need to go for the sure thing in the 2023 NFL Draft, and in the process, send their opponents back to the drawing board.
Plan B: Go get a great guard
Of course, the thrill of adding the best offensive center from the 2023 NFL Draft may not be everyone's cup of tea. But there will certainly be enough interest among NFL GMs to place the Rams at risk of getting shut out the opportunity to add Schmitz. So, the LA Rams will need a Plan B, and can get nearly the same smash-mouth down their throat
That Plan B consists of Florida OG O'Cyrus Torrence and adds the best offensive interior lineman from the 2023 NFL Draft to the Rams roster. Despite the fact that the Rams have plenty of players to choose from along the offensive line, a talent upgrade is something that pays huge dividends across the entire offense.
As soon as the Rams can establish their running game, their passing attack improves. And with more reliable protection for veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford comes a more even distribution of passes to the receivers on the football field.
No, adding a top interior offensive lineman is not NFL duct tape, as it does not fix everything. But if the plan is to build a bigger and badder team for the 2024 NFL season, then the team will need to lay that groundwork during the 2023 NFL Draft. The Rams cannot win a race with an aluminum block Chevy Vega engine. To do a complete overhaul, the LA Rams have to start in the trenches.
The only question is: Will they?