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Dalton Risner
AP
Draft Decisions

NFL Draft Needs: Rams

by Josh Norris

Evan Silva (@EvanSilva) is Rotoworld's Senior NFL Editor, and Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) is Rotoworld's lead Draft Analyst. Together, they're breaking down every team's biggest needs and offering potential solutions in April’s draft.

For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.

Notable Pre-Draft Additions: S Eric Weddle, LB Clay Matthews, QB Blake Bortles.

Starting Offense

QB: Jared Goff
RB: Todd Gurley
WR: Brandin Cooks
WR: Robert Woods
SLWR: Cooper Kupp
TE: Gerald Everett
LT: Andrew Whitworth
LG: Joseph Noteboom
C: Brian Allen
RG: Austin Blythe
RT: Rob Havenstein

Starting Defense

RE: Aaron Donald
LE: Michael Brockers
NT: Tanzel Smart
ROLB: Dante Fowler
LOLB: Samson Ebukam
ILB: Cory Littleton
ILB: Clay Matthews
LCB: Aqib Talib
RCB: Marcus Peters
SCB: Nickell Robey-Coleman
FS: Eric Weddle
SS: John Johnson

Team Needs

Silva's Analysis

Offensive Line: Up-front dominance is the heartbeat of Sean McVay’s offense and especially vital for Goff, whose kept-clean versus under-pressure splits are among the starkest in football. Last season, Goff finished 28th among 38 qualifying quarterbacks in passer rating on pressured throws (59.8). Longtime LG Rodger Saffold left for Tennessee, RG Blythe is a liability, 37-year-old LT Whitworth openly considered retirement after the season and John Sullivan’s departure creates major uncertainty at center.

Defensive Line: Ndamukong Suh won’t return, and Los Angeles’ edge defense has room for growth after getting modest 2018 results from Fowler and Ebukam. Matthews is better suited to play an interior/rover role than rush the passer at this stage of his career.

Secondary: The Rams’ list of needs is among the shortest in football, but they could afford to begin looking into the future on the defensive backend. Talib and Peters are in contract years, and both Johnson and Robey-Coleman have only two years left. Talib is 33; Weddle is 34.

 

Rams 2019 Draft Picks

Norris' Options

1 (31). OL Dalton Risner, Kansas State - A trade out of this slot makes sense, but No. 31 could also be a sweet spot for offensive linemen. Evan laid out their need nicely, and maintaining a talented and healthy offensive line is really the core of the Rams Offense, as their quarterback is at his best in structure and the running game is always superior when yards are created by blocking. Risner has center and right tackle experience.

3 (94). EDGE Jachai Polite, Florida - I know Polite was once considered an early round prospect, but it would not be surprising to see his draft process plummet his evaluation. From his bad workout to minor injuries to admitting his performance in meetings had not been good, it would not be surprising to see Polite be a fringe top 100 selection. The one meeting he did enjoy? The Rams.

3 (99). LB Jahlani Tavai, Hawaii - As the process inches closer to the draft, Tavai is a name popping up more and more. At the off-ball linebacker spot, Tavai works through trash to make plays, carries tight ends down the seam and can even offer some blitz looks in multiple fronts.

4 (133). S Evan Worthington, Colorado - The Rams have brought in a number of top safety prospects, like Darnell Savage, Juan Thornhill, Taylor Rapp, Deionte Thompson and Johnathan Abram. That could be an indication of where they are looking at No. 31, or in a trade out. If that ultimately is not the pick, then safety still looks like a target position and Worthington offers an intriguing evaluation.

5 (169). iOL Hjalte Froholdt, Arkansas - To me, Froholdt is a top 100 prospect. He is extremely fluid and comfortable at an interior line spot, mirroring his opponents and halting their momentum. All of this ability is apparent despite his not playing football for very long after moving from Denmark.

6 (203). CB Keisean Nixon, South Carolina - A reported visit the Rams. Possibly an outside to inside corner.

7 (251). iDL Ray Smith, Boston College - This interior line class is not athletic. At least depth-wise. Just 17 names of 145 tested as above average (50th percentile) athletes. Smith is one, and worth taking a late round shot on.

Josh Norris
Josh Norris is an NFL Draft Analyst for Rotoworld and contributed to the Rams scouting department during training camp of 2010 and the 2011 NFL Draft. He can be found on Twitter .