Post Trade LA Rams mock draft reloads defense for 2023

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Draft aligns with Rams needs

The 2023 NFL Draft is a great draft for the LA Rams, as the team has a desperate need to reinforce the secondary, the offensive line, and edge rushing. Curiously, or well planned, those are the best positional groups in the 2023 NFL Draft class. While no draft is directly comparable to other years, this class is ripe with prospects who could fall to the Rams. One site lists the strength of the 2023 NFL Draft as:

  • Rank Draft class position
    1 Cornerback
    2 Edge rusher
    3 Running back
    4 Center
    5 Offensive tackle
    6 Interior defensive line
    7 Quarterback
    8 Wide Receiver
    9 Safety
    10 Tight end
    11 Offensive guard
    12 Inside linebacker

Of course, you could argue the point that the LA Rams have a need for safeties, offensive guards, a quarterback, or even an inside linebacker, but I don't believe that they are all among the LA Rams' most critical needs. Or, as we have seen in previous drafts, the Rams will find suitable prospects even in a shallow depth of the draft class. That is particularly true for their safety position, which I believe will warrant a solid prospect selection.

If the Rams land a solid offensive center, an offensive tackle, a cornerback, and at least one edge rusher who can start for the team in 2023, I'd call that a win from this draft class. So the goal in the latest post-trade mock draft was to make an attempt to land potential starters in as many positions as possible, without trading back, and without trading up.

The Rams could migrate offensive lineman Joe Noteboom to offensive guard, and defensive back Robert Rochell to safety, and the team has enough depth at the inside linebacker role to make do with their current roster. Beyond that, the Rams have gone with an extra defensive back in passing downs, a practice that could be restored on the defense in 2023.

I think my point is that even as the LA Rams appear to be sliding from emphasizing veteran players to help win now, and pivoting to younger players in the 2023 NFL Draft to build a stronger foundation for another Super Bowl run, the team is not as ravaged as you may think. Some have suggested that the LA Rams may be viewing 2023 as the year to replenish depth on defense, and then focus on the 2024 NFL Draft to replenish the offense. That makes some sense, and this mock Rams draft for 2023 reflects that strategy.

While not perfect, I am comfortable with the results:

  • 4 defensive backs
  • 2 offensive linemen
  • 1 edge rusher
  • 1 quarterback
  • 2 defensive linemen
  • 1 punter

Could I have done better? Well, that's the way the draft board fell in my simulation. No worthwhile tight end or running back fell to the Rams when the team was stepping up to the podium. And with so many needs, I was comfortable selecting the best player available. But even as I reread this mock draft, I fear that I went too light with just one edge rusher, and failed to address the offensive skill players adequately. Oh well, even if this scenario plays out as it did in 2020, the LA Rams could simply sign a half-dozen undrafted rookies at shallow positions and coach them up.