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RAMS 2019 Draft Review

The RAMS have been on a roll since their move back to Southern Cal, but despite the success, their Draft efforts are about to take on a whole new level of importance. Their lust for big name players, (which is logical, given that the area they play in craves STAR Power), has put them in a situation where age and salary cap are about to chip away at their roster. Just this past off-season, they lost SUH, SAFFOLD, BARRON, JOYNER, and C.J. ANDERSON via VFA or cap issues. It will really get tight when MR. GOFF comes off of his Rookie contract in the near future. Scheduled to Draft 31st because of their trip to the Super Bowl, GM LES SNEAD weighed his options and traded out of that spot to Pick up 2nd & 3rd Round Picks, and in essence, the theme for their Draft became finding depth for the roster. He moved around a bit more and ended up with 8 Picks.

Round 2, Pick 61
TAYLOR RAPP SS WASHINGTON
6’0/208 4.77/40 PP#64
For a while, it looked like RAPP was going to be a late first rounder, but then his relatively slow 40-time pushed him back. It should be denoted that RAPP was not 100% healthy at the time of the Huskies Pro Day. He was still rehabbing and resting his earlier groin injury, which also kept him out of their Bowl Game. The RAMS decided that he played faster than his 40-time (especially @ the Pro Day) and that he was a big time enforcer with a high FBI. He will likely learn from short-term rental ERIC WEDDLE, and start in a year or two. This is a guy that they really need to develop into a starting S. Look for him to be a big presence as a Special Teamer in 2019. This was good value for the Pick, in my mind.

Round 3, Pick 70
DARRELL HENDERSON RB MEMPHIS
5’8/208 4.49/40 PP#77
This was another good value at the Pick in my ranking system. TODD GURLEY, at the very least, just ran out of gas last year after too many touches, so the RAMS had eyeballed HENDERSON early on as a draft target. He may be short, but he’s not small, and he is also explosive, as well as being elusive in the open field. Despite missing time to injury late in the 2018 campaign, HENDERSON ran for 1,909 yards, which included 22 TD’s, and he averaged 8.9 ypc. Want to talk about explosion and field vision? How about 11 of his TD’s coming from 50 yards or more out. He is OK as a pass catcher, and not much of a blocker, but hey, you can’t have everything. This is a great back-up Pick, who may force more and more carries coming his way as time goes on.

Round 3, Pick 79
DAVID LONG DC MICHIGAN
5’11/196 4.45/40 PP#74
LONG is not the fastest DC in this year’s Draft Class, but he is instinctive and physical in his coverage play. He only started full-time for 1 season. He will certainly fit into multiple secondary sub-packages as a Rookie, as he did earlier at Michigan, and will likely need to be ready to replace either TALIB or PETERS in 2020, when they both hit Free Agency. He is not a great technique tackler, but he plays with toughness, in general. Cornerbacks Coach AUBREY PLEASANT will have some serious work to do accelerating LONG’s learning curve.

Round 3, Pick 97
BOBBY EVANS OG OKLAHOMA
6’4/312 5.20/40 PP#92
EVANS was another piece in that dominant SOONERS OL the past 3 years. The weak point to his game may be his slow footed play. He has the long arms, (34 3/4″), and adequate hand size, (9 7/8″), but because his feet betray him, he is more likely to make his mark inside at OG. A key to him sliding inside may end up being dependent on what DAVID EDWARDS, in Round 5, can do. The biggest concern with EVANS, no matter where he plays along the line, is his propensity to reach out and grab defenders. Rookies get little slack on holding calls in the NFL, and if he gets a reputation early, it may be hard to shake, even as he progresses with time. EVANS was a 3 year starter, and left Norman with a streak of having played in 40 straight games. He should develop into a starter, it’s just a matter of time, IMO. A nice overall value at the Pick.

Round 4, Pick 134
GREG GAINES DT WASHINGTON
6’1/312 5.16/40 PP#182
GAINES was an All-PAC 12 performer, both on the field and in the classroom. He has a massive anchor from the waste on down. He displays natural knee bend, which combined with his lack of height, keep him very low at the snap. He has fairly short arms, (31 1/4″), but decent hand size, (9 5/8″), and uses those hands like hammers to punish blockers. He moves just fine for his girth, and absolutely gives top end effort. Watching him pursue in game film, I was often surprised at how far he chased the ball from sideline to sideline. Nothing fancy to his play, but he gives everything he has, all the time. He will make a very nice addition to their DL group, and rotation.

Round 5, Pick 169
DAVID EDWARDS OT WISCONSIN
6’6/308 5.28/40 PP#113
EDWARDS was a slightly disappointing performer in his post-season Combine work. His numbers were not terrible, but NFL teams like their LT to have a bit more juice than he showed. Despite slightly undersized arms for an OT, (33 3/8″), his forte’ in Madison was pass-pro. He mirrors well in protection, and uses his 9 3/4″ hands to control defenders. As with most BADGERS OL, he has technique and lots of playing experience as a 3-year starter. If he can play as well as ROB HAVENSTEIN has for them, coming out of UW, it would allow them to play EVANS inside.

Round 7, Pick 243
NICK SCOTT SS PENN STATE
5’11/200 4.43/40 PP#NR
The former PENN STATE RB made his mark in college primarily on Special Teams, and if he can be a demon there as a pro, then that’s just fine for a 7th Rounder. He appears to be a good overall athlete, posting a 4.43 at PENN STATE’s Pro Day, which would’ve been 6th amongst Safeties at the combine, along with a 41 inch Vertical Jump, which would’ve been 3rd, and a 10’8″ Broad Jump, which would’ve been 4th. It is not uncommon that while earning their keep on Special Teams, some players develop their positional skills and see the field from scrimmage. Such a development would delight the RAMS.

Round 7, Pick 275
DAKOTA ALLEN IB TEXAS TECH
6’1/230 4.77/40 PP#275
The good story with ALLEN is that he has matured and come a long way from being kicked out of the program early on. After a JC stint, ALLEN came back, and besides being a very productive player, earned the nod as a team Captain. He could really bolster the Rams Run-D if he can improve his recognition skills. He hits a ton. If he responds to pro coaching, he could be quite a nice contributor on the roster, especially for a 7th Round Pick.

There is talent in them thar Picks. Finding enough players to provide depth and special skills to combine with their star players is the goal here. They really need all 8 of these Picks to find useful jobs on their 53-man roster. They can wait a year or two for some of them to earn starting jobs. As you can see, their overall evaluations on players looks close to my rankings quite often. I do wonder when the next time they exercise a Round One selection will roll around. This was their third straight year without one.

Pigskin

I want to mention once again that my GBN colleague Larry Parker gets a big nod for his information input to these draft reviews, as well as his proofing work. He is also the man who keeps copious notes on Pro Day and injury info, which I do NOT do. Thank you, again, LP!

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