Top 3 players the LA Rams should completely avoid in the 2023 NFL Draft
By Justin Fried
The LA Rams are embarking on a new era in 2023, one that they hope will be aided by the addition of some young, fresh talent in this year's draft. With 11 picks in total, the Rams will have enough ammunition to make some waves.
That's good news as well, considering the team has just 44 players under contract at the time of writing. The Rams' tight cap situation means that they need as many cheap players under contract as possible. The best way to do that is through the draft.
The Rams have needs at a number of different positions entering the draft, and while they may have just one pick in the first 68 selections, they have enough draft capital to fill those needs.
But which prospects should the Rams steer clear of? Let's take a look at three 2023 NFL Draft prospects the Rams should avoid for a number of reasons.
3. Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson
The Rams parted ways with Bobby Wagner earlier this offseason and definitely have a need at the inside linebacker position. Ernest Jones could take a big leap in 2023, but the Rams really don't have anyone trustworthy alongside him.
For that reason, it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Rams add a linebacker at some point during the draft. It seems unlikely to add one as early as the second round, however, which could preclude them from taking a player like Clemson's Trenton Simpson.
Simpson is considered to be one of the better linebackers in an overall weak class. He's an outstanding athlete for the position, although there are serious concerns about his overall play recognition and tacking ability.
It's unlikely that Simpson will be available in the third round, and he's not someone the Rams should target at pick 36. We've seen far too many linebacker prospects like Simpson come into the NFL and fall well short of expectations.
Simpson gives off major Darron Lee or Malik Jefferson vibes to me. The athleticism and physical upside is there, but he's a major project, and I wouldn't want the Rams to use a Day 2 selection on him.
2. Luke Musgrave, TE, Oregon State
It's no secret that the Rams need a tight end, and it seems rather obvious that the team will draft one at some point. With such a deep and talented tight end class, there are a number of options for the team in this year's draft.
One high-profile prospect who has seen his draft stock rise quite a bit is Oregon State's Luke Musgrave. Musgrave fits the size/speed profile teams look for in tight ends coming out of college. At 6-foot-6, 253 pounds, Musgrave ran a very impressive 4.61 40-yard dash.
But while Musgrave's physical traits are evident, there are some serious red flags. The 22-year-old dealt with injury issues in college, and his best season came in 2021 when he recorded just 22 catches for 304 yards.
It's not just a lack of production, either. Musgrave dropped a whopping nine of 56 career catchable passes at Oregon State for an abysmal 16 percent drop rate.
Drops, injuries, and a lack of collegiate production should be enough for the Rams to stay away in favor of other tight end prospects. Musgrave has too many red flags.
1. Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee
The Rams have just one quarterback on their roster at the moment, and Matthew Stafford's future is uncertain beyond 2023. It would make sense for the team to add a young, cheap developmental quarterback at some point in the draft.
Day 3 seems like a prime spot for the Rams to start considering quarterbacks. What they shouldn't do, however, is draft one on Day 2 — especially not with their first pick.
Tennessee's Hendon Hooker seems to have emerged as the consensus QB5 in this class and is likely to be taken anywhere between the end of the first round and sometime early on Day 2.
It would be fun to try and develop Hooker, who is recovering from a torn ACL, behind Stafford for a year, but the Rams shouldn't be using their precious Day 2 capital on a quarterback.
Hooker is an intriguing prospect who, if healthy, might be able to develop into a future starter. He just doesn't make sense for the Rams, though. They shouldn't be using an early Day 2 pick on a QB.