Vital remaining needs that Rams must address in the NFL Draft

Les Snead, NFL Draft
Les Snead, NFL Draft / Michael Hickey/GettyImages

As the LA Rams approach the 2024 NFL Draft, we should probably pause a moment and ponder the fundamental question: Where does this team need to focus their selection in this draft?

When we mention the phrase team needs, particularly in the context of the NFL Draft, we all have a sense of what that entails. Boiled down to its most basic needs, the phrase is most commonly used to designate the position or positions that the front office will address in the interest of fixing a known or perceived roster deficiency. But the category of team needs crosses a number of sub-categories that become distinctively different and vital as this point in the season.

So, rather than just parrot the positional needs for this team based on major football websites like or others, I wanted to venture into the various team needs for the 2024 NFL Draft based on what is driving that need. Perhaps if we closely investigate what is driving the team in this year's draft, we can emerge with a greater understanding of how the team will approach future needs.

Let's dive right in:

Tactical needs

The category of tactical needs is simply the need that arises from losing players to expired contracts and free agency. In this category, we are simply comparing the number of players on the active roster at the position last season to the number of players currently on the active roster this season. When doing so, the following positions stand out:

  • Interior offensive line - Despite investing in FA guard Jonah Jackson, and extending guard Kevin Dotson, the team lost reserve G Tremayne Anchrum, C Coleman Shelton, and backup C Brian Allen this offseason. By adding one and losing three, the team has a void in the roster that may be filled in this draft.
  • Defensive line - The team has lost two starters on the defensive line in DT Aaron Donald and DE Jonah Williams with no additions yet via free agency. Once more, the team has a net loss of two players (and 1500 defensive snaps) to fill via the 2024 NFL Draft.
  • Kicker - While kicker will not be addressed on Day 1, the team's struggles to find any continuity at the position in 2023 will certainly compel the team to draft a kicker on Day 3 of the draft. The team did re-sign rookie kicker Tanner Brown to a Reserve/Future contract, but he will need competition in training camp.
  • Safety - The front office is by no means hurting at the safety position. But this team has lost four starting safeties over the span of two NFL seasons: Taylor Rapp, Nick Scott, Jordan Fuller, and John Johnson III. So far, the team has only added FA safety Kamren Curl to the roster. While younger players like Quentin Lake and Russ Yeast will compete for a starting role, the front office could view the position as due for an investment.

Upgrade needs

Upgrade needs are needs that arise from disappointing production from the previous season. This is the type of investment that requires addressing the position with talented prospects, and not just grabbing a guy in Round 7 in hopes that he might develop down the road.

  • Edge rusher - Despite finding a pair of rookies in OLB Byron Young and NT Kobie Turner who combined for 17.0 quarterback sacks in 2023, the team's overall pass rush needs help. Of course, that is to be expected when the team divested of almost all outside linebackers who had more than one year of experience at the position in 2022.
  • Offensive skill players - While the team had a pretty solid offensive performance in 2023, there are areas that need to be scrutinized and upgraded where possible. The team's struggles in the red zone in the Wild Card Round of the 2024 NFL Playoffs are a glaring need for the team. Had the Rams converted just one of three red zone opportunities, they would have won the game and advanced to the Divisional Round.

Strategic needs

While tactical needs are immediate roster shortfalls, strategic needs takes a longer gaze at the team's future to create positional needs for the team a year or more from the present time. While the team can and almost certainly will ensure extensions for key contributors, not all expiring contracts will be extended. Let's look at some positional groups that will be precariously thin in 2025 and beyond:

  • Defensive line - Even as the team has an immediate need to address the defensive line in 2024, the team is projected to lose both DL Larrell Murchison and DL Bobby Brown III in 2025.
  • Inside linebacker - Despite the pledge of the front office to extend starting ILB Ernest Jones after the 2024 NFL season, the team is on track to lose five inside linebackers next season due to expired contracts.
  • Quarterback - The front office did address the backup quarterback position by signing veteran QB Jimmy Garoppolo for one season. But in 2025, the team loses Garoppolo, and may be facing the imminent retirement of QB Matthew Stafford.
  • Offensive tackle - The team did extend starting left tackle Alaric Jackson through 2024. But by the time 2025 arrives, Jackson will be looking for starting left tackle money. Will the team cough up millions to keep him? As if that is not complicated enough, the team faces losing swing tackle Joe Noteboom and reserve tackle Zach Thomas as well.

Surplus needs

Finally, we come to the positional needs that are not truly needed at all. They are bargains that can be found in the rookie class due to surplus at the position. Due to a greater-than-average supply at specific positions, the talent level of when a player can be selected in the 2024 NFL Draft is far greater than the position on the draft board at which they will still be available.

Per NFL Spin Zone's Michael Johnson, there are multiple positions in the 2024 NFL Draft whose supply is more abundant than a typical rookie class. Those surplus supply positional groups are:

  • Quarterbacks - The depth of the quarterback position in the 2024 NFL Draft is such that as many as six prospects may hear their name called out in Round 1, and as many as 10-12 quarterbacks could be selected. Will the Rams be one of the teams to add a QB? There is a growing consensus that they will be.
  • Cornerbacks - No draft is complete without a dozen or more cornerbacks hearing their names called out in the first three rounds. But the 2024 NFL Draft is bursting with solid cornerbacks who may earn starting roles in the NFL into Day 3 of this draft.
  • Offensive line - Perhaps even more common than defensive backs is the fact that teams hammer the offensive line position group hard in each draft class. It falls to reason, as NFL teams must address 5 OL positions, the greatest number of players who start in the same category. This draft class has an abundant supply of versatile offensive tackles and an above-average supply of centers. I cannot see any NFL team not adding at least one offensive lineman in this draft.
  • Wide receivers - If you need a wide receiver, the 2024 NFL Draft is the motherlode of receiver talent. Many draft analysts believe that starters for the 2024 NFL season can be found on Day 3 of this draft. That's a lot of players who have high-end talent, considering some expect as many as 10 receivers to come off the board in Round 1, and 20 receivers to come off the board by the end of Day 2.

Having listed the various types of 'needs' that the LA Rams front office must weigh and balance out throughout the course of the 2024 NFL Draft, it's easy to see how easy it will be to exhaust all 11 picks in this draft and still be looking for more. The key to a successful draft is not to address all roster needs, but to strategically make the biggest positive impact to the overall roster.

Which positions do you view as the most important for the LA Rams to address in the 2024 NFL Draft? Let us know in the comments section of our Facebook page.

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