The NFL Combine has just begun. Draft boards could undergo a drastic change in the next week. The Rams’ draft board may look a little different after the release of James Laurinaitis, Chris Long and Jared Cook last Friday. Most mock drafts have the Rams drafting a QB or WR at Number 15. This mock draft reflects the draft and personnel tendencies of Rams coach Jeff Fisher.
Los Angeles Rams Current Roster & Depth Chart
|C||Tim Barnes||Demetrius Rhaney||Eric Kush|
|RG||Jamon Brown||Cody Wichmann||Brian Folkerts|
|LG||Rodger Saffold||Garrett Reynolds||David Arkin|
|RT||Rob Havenstein||Andrew Donnal|
|LT||Greg Robinson||Darrell Williams||Isaiah Battle|
|TE||Lance Kendricks||Cory Harkey||Justice Cunningham|
|WR||Tavon Austin||Stedman Bailey||Isiah Ferguson|
|WR||Kenny Britt||Brian Quick||Nick Toon|
|WR||Wes Welker||Bradley Marquez||Deon Long|
|RB||Tre Mason||Benny Cunningham||Malcolm Brown||Zach Laskey|
|RB||Todd Gurley||Chase Reynolds||Trey Watts|
|QB||Case Keenum||Nick Foles||Sean Mannion||Kain Colter|
|DT||Aaron Donald||Nick Fairley||Louis Trinca-Pasat|
|DT||Michael Brockers||Ethan Westbrooks||Doug Worthington|
|DE||William Hayes||Eugene Sims|
|DE||Robert Quinn||Matt Longacre|
|MLB||Alec Ogletree||Daren Bates||Bryce Hager|
|OLB||Mark Barron||Zack Hodges|
|OLB||Akeem Ayers||Cameron Lynch||Matthew Wells|
|CB||Janoris Jenkins||Marcus Roberson||Eric Patterson||Troy Hill|
|CB||Trumaine Johnson||E.J. Gaines||Lamarcus Joyner|
|SS||Tim McDonald Jr.||Maurice Alexander|
|FS||Rodney McLeod||Cody Davis||Christian Bryant|
|70 Players Total|
Los Angeles Rams 2016 Free Agents
The following 28 players are currently eligible for Free Agency on March 9, 2016. ERFA’s (Exclusive Rights Free Agents) have two or less accrued years in the league. RFA’s (Restricted Free Agents) have three accrued years in the league. UFA’s (Unrestricted Free Agents) have 4 or more accrued years in the league. In each instance, their contracts will have been fulfilled at the end of the 2015 season. Each type of Free Agent is distinguished by varying levels of team control. Player contracts run concurrently with the league year. The Rams may re-sign any of the 28 players before the new league year begins on March 9, 2016.
Ranking The Rams’ 2016 Positional Needs
The Rams’ 2016 positional needs are ranked using the following criteria: potential Free Agent losses, positions in need of upgrades and assessments of existing roster players.
2016 NFL Mock Draft: Los Angeles Rams – 7 Rounds
The accompanying chart presents the Rams’ 6 selections over 7 rounds in this 2016 NFL Mock Draft. The Rams forfeited their 5th round pick when they selected Isaiah Battle in the 5th round of the 2015 NFL Supplemental Draft. Their 7th round selection was traded to the Houston Texans for QB Case Keenum. The Rams received Philadelphia’s 2nd round pick in the Sam Bradford/Nick Foles trade (the Eagles will not be receiving any picks from the Rams). My preliminary calculations suggest the Rams will not be receiving any compensatory picks in the 2016 NFL Draft.
|2.45||DE||Emmanuel Ogbah||Oklahoma State|
|3.76||C||Nick Martin||Notre Dame|
|4.107||TE||Nick Vannett||Ohio State|
Rams coach Jeff Fisher was pleased with the overall performance of his defense in 2015. The one area he expressed concern with was the rushing defense. The Rams ranked 20th in the league in rushing defense, allowing 113.8 yards per game (the four teams in the Conference Championships this season were all in the top nine in rushing defense).
James Laurinaitis had been a stalwart in the center of the Rams defense for the past 7 seasons. He was released by the Rams last Friday. According to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Rams already have plans for filling the MLB position:
“All indications are that the Rams plan to move Alec Ogletree inside to fill Laurinaitis’ spot and re-sign free agent Mark Barron and have him play outside linebacker.”
Sounds like the perfect pre-draft smokescreen the Rams are famous for. Have everyone think they aren’t looking for help at MLB in the draft.
It’s no secret the Rams should be looking for offensive playmakers early and often in the 2016 NFL Draft. But in a draft bereft of elite offensive playmaking talent in the first round, Reggie Ragland may well represent the BPA when it comes time for the Rams to turn in their card on draft day. WR Laquon Treadwell, QB Jared Goff and QB Carson Wentz are all likely to be gone by the time the Rams select at 15. Many have suggested the Rams taking DE Noah Spence with this selection. It’s one thing to take on a huge character risk when it’s the 39th pick in a draft (ie. Janoris Jenkins). It’s quite another to take on that kind of risk with the 15th overall selection in the draft.
One of the best NFL Draft analysts Daniel Jeremiah gives a pretty fair assessment of Ragland (ranking him 13th overall) in his latest Top 50 Draft Prospect Rankings:
“Ragland was a two-year starter at inside linebacker for the Crimson Tide. He has a thick, square build and he’s a very physical player. Against the run, he is quick to sort, fill and chest up ball carriers. He has stopping power as a tackler. Once he makes contact, the play is over. He lacks short area quickness but he builds speed and has plus lateral range. In the passing game, he has some stiffness in coverage but he can run with backs and tight ends. He is an effective blitzer and will even occasionally put his hand on the ground and rush off the edge. Overall, Ragland is a tone-setter with his physical style of play and should be a dependable starter immediately.”
Respected NFL Draft guru Mike Mayock (in observations at the Senior Bowl) spoke glowingly of Ragland:
“I’m a Reggie Ragland fan. He’s going to step in on Day 1 and run somebody’s defense. He’s a top-20 pick all day long. He’s 260 pounds, so the question is, can he play on third down, can he play the passing game? I think he can. Just because of his leadership skills, his toughness, I think he’s going to be a three-down linebacker and a top-20 pick.”
Alternate Pick: DE – Jonathan Bullard – Florida
Brian Quick becomes a Free Agent on March 9, 2016. Will the Rams attempt to re-sign him? Chris Givens was traded for a 7th round draft pick during the regular season. Stedman Bailey’s future with the Rams may be in doubt after a second suspension for violation of the NFL substance abuse policy and a long recovery ahead as the victim of a shooting. Wes Welker was not a difference maker in his short stint with the Rams. The Rams’ wide receiver corps could end up being a little thin heading into the 2016 season.
When I look at a WR, one thing is of primary importance: Can he catch the football? Doctson answers the question with an emphatic YES. Huge catch radius. Sticky hands. Great concentration. Decent size (6’3″ – 195). Doctson has the frame to add another 10 pounds, which would give him prototypical size for an NFL wide receiver.
Alternate Pick: WR – Tyler Boyd – Pittsburgh
William Hayes and Eugene Sims are eligible for Free Agency in 2016. The Rams released long-time DE stalwart Chris Long last Friday. It would come as no surprise if the Rams continued their recent history of selecting defensive linemen early in the draft (three first round picks in the past five years). After devoting virtually the entire 2015 draft on the offense, Jeff Fisher will be chomping at the bit to add another stud to the Rams’ elite defensive line.
The Rams, under Jeff Fisher and Les Snead, love to draft dynamic athletes with outstanding measurable’s and high ceilings. Ogbah certainly fits the bill. The 6’3″-275 Ogbah is a disruptive force from the both the right and left side. Although inconsistent at times, Ogbah has an enormous upside, with an intriguing combination of speed, length and power.
Alternate Pick: TE – Hunter Henry – Arkansas
The Rams devoted plenty of draft capital to the offensive line in the 2015 NFL Draft. The one position they neglected to address in the process was center. Tim Barnes is eligible for Free Agency in 2016 and is no better than an average starter. Backup Demetrius Rhaney is an unknown quantity. Martin would represent an upgrade at the position and adds depth to the interior line.
A three-year starter at Notre Dame, Dallas Cowboy Zack Martin’s younger brother is versatile, having started games at both center and guard.
From former scout Greg Gabriel:
“What I like about his game is that he is very alert and does a good job adjusting to stunts and blitzes. He is an excellent competitor and plays snap to whistle. Overall, I see Nick as mid-round type of player who will be an eventual starter in the league. As a rookie he will dress because he can play both guard and center. I don’t see him as being an ideal guard because he isn’t a top space player but a team can get by with him. I’d be surprised if he isn’t a starter by his second year. What will separate him from other players is his intangibles and leadership skills.”
Alternate Pick: QB – Kevin Hogan – Stanford
Jared Cook became a cap casualty last week. Cory Harkey is eligible for Free Agency on March 9. The Rams could be looking for Tight End help in the draft. Vannett has an NFL-type frame (6’6″ – 260), combining toughness with athleticism, the complete package for an NFL Tight End. Although used sparingly in the passing game at OSU (18 catches in 2015), Vannett is an able pass catcher, with nice hands and surprising speed. He excelled at blocking for OSU standout RB Ezekiel Elliott. The Rams will covet his willingness and capability as a blocker.
Alternate Pick: FS – Deon Bush – Miami (Fla.)
The Rams under Jeff Fisher and Les Snead are quite familiar with the concept of double-dipping at WR in the NFL Draft (Brian Quick/Chris Givens in 2012; Tavon Austin/Stedman Bailey in 2013). Garrett has prototypical size (6’3″-221), long arms and good leaping ability. He’s one of my early sleeper picks in the 2016 NFL Draft (as is the alternate selection Antonio Morrison). Garrett has the potential to rise up draft boards in the months leading up to the draft.
Alternate Pick: ILB – Antonio Morrison – Florida