It might not seem like it, but the 2019 NFL Draft did indicate much about the season. Don’t get me wrong, there are still plenty of questions. That said, at least it’s a little more clear heading into the 2019 season.
Todd Gurley’s knee is at least somewhat of a concern
Yes, I did hear what Sean McVay said. No matter how much McVay covers up Gurley’s knee severity, the situation did concern him enough to trade up for Darrell Henderson. The reality is that the Rams wouldn’t pursue another running back if they are content. To put things into perspective, take a look at the depth chart. Gurley is the clear starter, the brought back Malcolm Brown and still have John Kelly and Justin Davis.
McVay did present a partial truth, Henderson does provide excellent play-making ability. Teams would pursue this guy to be their next starter, not necessarily a complement to their starting running back. Regardless of injury, the Rams do need to scale back on Gurley’s usage. If Gurley is truly healthy or on his way to being healthy, then he is likely to remain the go-to guy.
The Rams have faith in Joseph Noteboom and Brian Allen
It’s not that surprising that the Rams favor Noteboom. He took advantage of nearly every opportunity he had last season. The NFL Draft did clarify what will likely be his role next season. Les Snead and McVay seem to like his potential to eventually take Andrew Whitworth’s place. That said, the Rams didn’t pursue a starting guard. Things could change, but he’s likely going to replace the departing Rodger Saffold.
Allen on the other hand is a little bit of a wild card. There were whispers that the coaching staff did like Allen, but how much is the real question. The Rams did have every opportunity to select a starting center, but seem to be fine with Allen. It’s a positive sign, but the offensive line will have its growing pains. The offensive line will be something to watch for to see if they gel together.
The Rams are building for now and the future
To some, this draft will be a bit confusing. I fully expect to see analysts that aren’t familiar with the team to give the Rams a low grade. Technically, drafting guys like Taylor Rapp, David Long and Bobby Evans are preparing for the future. These are talented athletes, but they will likely have a reserved role for at least one year.
Rapp will eventually replace Eric Weddle. While he’s still a major threat, he’s an older veteran that did flirt with retirement. The same can be said with Whitworth and Evans. True, Evans is more of a project, but there aren’t many players better to learn from than Whitworth. Long will not only add depth for this year, but will likely replace Aqib Talib. It won’t make sense now, but it will in the next few years.
Linebackers weren’t a priority
After bringing in Clay Matthews and Dante Fowler, it’s not that surprising to see them not really pursing an edge rusher. Inside linebacker is another story entirely. True, it is a bit of a weak draft class for the position. The departure of Mark Barron is a concern. The Rams could roll with Micah Kiser or move Samson Ebukam in the inside. Another idea is to have Rapp play a Barron role. There are still questions that will have to be answered in the preseason.
The secondary will be stacked
Adding Rapp and Long provides a little relief to a thin secondary. If all goes well with the remainder of the offseason, the Rams will have healthy starters in Talib and Marcus Peters. Adding Long with Nickell Robey-Coleman as solid backups, and this is a corps of corners. Teams will not want to pass against the Rams.