The problem lies in the fact (outside of Stafford’s playoff experience) that the Rams lost their defensive coordinator both on and off of the field (Brandon Staley to the Los Angeles Chargers and John Johnson III to the Cleveland Browns). The defense was the identity of this team last year, so making sure it is close to the same level would be crucial for a super bowl. Stafford will also need extra protection (if not a high pick starter, then later-round depth would be critical to remain relevant in the playoffs). Will the Rams repair their roster and go all the way? Let’s find out.
To help with this mock draft, I used The Draft Network’s mock draft simulator.
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Round 2, Pick 57: Brevin Jordan, TE, Miami
Losing Gerald Everett was a major hit to this high-powered offense. Tyler Higbee is no scrub, but he is not a top-ten tight end in the NFL. Jordan has an amazing amount of flexibility to him: he can block (far better than expected, at least), catch, and make people miss. Jordan, in short, is a versatile, dangerous weapon for Stafford. The Lions drafted T.J. Hockenson in the top ten to give their signal-caller a reliable, versatile option. Jordan will offer that and the ability to play in the slot. Two tight end formations will be lethal against defenses with a weak linebacker corps. The Miami product may push this offense over the top into championship level.
For more on Jordan, check out our scouting report on him here.
Round 3, Pick 88: Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia
With David Long being the only solid cornerback besides Jalen Ramsey on the roster past 2022, solidifying a true dynamic duo must be a priority for the Rams. Aquib Talib and Marcus Peters were the first attempts at this, but Campbell and Ramsey can have exponentially more success. The Georgia product has everything a team could want: size, speed, and skin-tight coverage. He has an issue with grabbing, but Ramsey will be the best mentor possible. The NFL is high on him, per sources, so he most likely will not be here. Luckily for Los Angeles, he did fall. Campbell has Ramsey’s ceiling. That is enough said.
For more on Campbell, check out our scouting report on him here.
Round 3, Pick 103: James Hudson, OT, Cincinnati
Andrew Whitworth is 39 and coming off an injury. This is his last shot to get a ring, so the time is ticking. Hudson is recognized as a starting-caliber prospect at left tackle. Many forget that the second most important position on offense is the left tackle. Remember: the Buccaneers made their Super Bowl run thanks to a healthy offensive line. That is a rare scenario, so adequate depth will be crucial. Joseph Noteboom has one more year left on his contract, and the Rams have little in terms of free cap space to re-sign him. Hudson will provide a safety net for the moment as well as a potential starter for the future. Drafting offensive linemen will never be a bad option, especially when a team needs to contend for the championship.
Round 4, Pick 141:
D’ante Smith, OG/OT, East Carolina
Smith dominated at guard and also (for a few reps) at tackle in Senior Bowl one-on-ones. Smith may be a top-64 player in this class at guard. Austin Corbett is the only starting-caliber guard on the team, and he is only signed through 2022. With an inside-zone run scheme, guards are very crucial in the success of the offense. This is beyond a need: it is a necessity. Smith’s positional versatility can also provide a patch at tackle if need be, but his weight severely limits his potential there. This is beyond a steal. If he can be (consistently) the player he showcased to be at the Senior Bowl, the second-round pick would be worthy of this selection.
Round 6, Pick 209: Elerson Smith, EDGE, Northern Iowa
Why not? At this pick getting the best player available is crucial. Luckily for the Rams, the draft board fell to perfection. Leonard Floyd was just signed to a monster extension, but that does not mean that the role is perfectly filled. Again, injuries happen at an unfortunately high rate. Smith is still raw. His size, burst, and length is beyond enticing to work with, however. With Aaron Donald (and Floyd) as a mentor, the ceiling is unbelievable. The crazy part of this draft is that all of these players so far can start day one if need be. Smith’s Senior Bowl tape showed great promise for a man at 6’7.’’ The upside is just too good to pass up on. Once again, roster depth is the key for a Super Bowl run. This pick is perfect.
Round 7, Pick 252: Jimmy Morrissey, C, Pittsburgh
Both Brian Allen and Coleman Shelton are due for contracts after 2022. As was stated previously, the Rams are not flowing with cap space. Morrissey is one of the few prospects in the seventh round that can potentially effectively start for a team. Offensive line depth is crucial, especially when Shelton is not heralded as a starting-caliber center. Morrissey can definitely be the starter in just a year, if not this year, given an injury or two. Stafford certainly will not complain.