Los Angeles Rams: 2017 NFL Draft Preview

Sean McVay

With a new coaching staff including first-time 31-year-old head coach Sean McVay, a new defensive scheme led by 69-year-old Wade Phillips and major salary cap issues, the Rams are a team in full blown transition. And oh yeah, I almost forgot. They don’t have a first-round draft pick.

Key additions

  • C John Sullivan
  • CB Kayvon Webster
  • DT Tyrunn Walker
  • QB Aaron Murray
  • OLB Conner Barwin
  • OT Andrew Whitworth
  • WR Robert Woods

Key subtractions

  • C Tim Barnes
  • DE William Hayes
  • DE Eugene Sims
  • DT Cam Thomas
  • QB Case Keenum
  • SS TJ McDonald
  • TE Lance Kendricks
  • WR Kenny Britt
  • WR Brian Quick

Priority needs (Offense)

OL…Believe it or not this position can actually be on the rise thanks to adding two veterans including one of the top tackles in the game, Andrew Whitworth. Problem is the former Bengal will be 36 this season and new center John Sullivan will be 32 and hasn’t played a lot of football lately due to a serious back injury. There’s no question that more depth talent is needed up front here.

WR…The addition of free agent Robert Woods won’t be enough to help a young player like QB Jared Goff. It was smart to sign savvy pros like Whitworth & Sullivan to protect their franchise investment and now they need to find him more weapons.

Priority needs (Defense)

DL…Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers make up an excellent two-thirds of their new three-man front base. One more lineman with the ability to play multiple positions is needed though.

LB…If I had to guess I would go with an inside linebacker to play alongside Alec Ogletree on certain packages. No one knows how new coordinator Wade Phillips will use Mark Barron, but with Ogletree able to play various roles there just isn’t another player like him on the roster.

CB…A lot will depend what they ultimately do with franchise cornerback Trumaine Johnson, who will earn more money than any other corner in the league next season. That’s just not a deal the cap-strapped Rams can continue to afford. A draft day trade is not out of the question.

Final analysis

The Rams have many difficult salary cap decisions to make in the next year. At this stage of their rebuild can they really afford to keep Johnson with Donald’s new contract coming up after the 2018 season? Several key players will be free agents next season including Ogletree and safety Mo Alexander. How can they afford to keep either player? They can save over 56 million if they cut Brockers, Barron and Robert Quinn after the season, but how will that go over with the new fan base? These are all foundation pieces whom G.M. Les Snead would surely prefer to hold on to, but that is not realistic with one of the worst cap issues in football. Snead is going to have to get creative and the fans are going to have to give him the benefit of the doubt if he’s forced to make the tough decisions that will have to inevitably be made.

Top second-round options

  • CB Adoree’ Jackson
  • CB Fabian Moreau
  • DL DeMarcus Walker
  • LB Jarrad Davis
  • OL Forrest Lamp
  • WR Chris Godwin
  • WR Zay Jones
  • WR Curtis Samuel
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