Rams trade up to draft QB of the future in latest Mel Kiper Jr. Mock Draft

Could the Rams spend their first-round pick on a QB?
2023 NFL Draft - Rounds 2-3
2023 NFL Draft - Rounds 2-3 / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

It's been a long time since the Los Angeles Rams have held a first-round pick (2016, to be exact) so they've grown accustomed to having to make sure their second-round pick, which sometimes is their first pick in the draft, count.

While the Rams do have a first-round pick this year, it's their second-round pick that is the talking point, at least in Mel Kiper Jr.'s recent mock draft. In the first round, he has them going with local product linebacker Laiatu Latu out of UCLA. In the second round, however, Kiper has the Rams swapping spots with the Chargers to nab Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr.

"Yes, the Rams have Matthew Stafford. Yes, they brought in Jimmy Garoppolo. And yes, they drafted Stetson Bennett in Round 4 last year. But Stafford is 36 and has dealt with serious injuries in recent years, while Garoppolo is on a one-year deal and Bennett spent his rookie season on the reserve/non-football illness list. There's a lot of uncertainty in L.A. past 2024.

Penix could be the future franchise signal-caller for coach Sean McVay and the Rams. He is accurate to every level of the field and is a great decision-maker. He had 67 touchdown passes and 19 interceptions in his two seasons at Washington. I have a Round 2 grade on him, just behind Bo Nix in my rankings."

Mel Kiper Jr.

Rams find their franchise QB in Mel Kiper's mock draft

Penix helped lead Washington to a National Championship Game appearance this past season and had a season for the ages with the Huskies. The Washington signal-caller threw for over 4,900 yards, 36 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. He's likely not going in the first round but if he's still available in the early portion of the second round, a team might be aggressive in trading up to nab him.

Kiper has a point about Matthew Stafford. He's nearing the end of his career and has dealt with the injury bug in recent years. Landing Penix wouldn't mean that he steps onto the field as the starter anytime soon but he could learn behind Stafford and we've seen how well that works for young quarterbacks to have someone to learn from.

This move could make a lot of sense for the Los Angeles Rams.