With the addition of an old friend, DL Michael Brockers, and the subtraction of fan favorite, K Greg Zuerlein, the Los Angeles Rams seemingly are taking a brief breath. This means the Rams are gearing up for a second look at free agency and preparing for the NFL Draft.
As the league’s business season reaches the midway point, the team does have definite needs on the offensive line and in the defensive backfield at the outset. General manager Les Snead has had an eventful free agency period, dealing with cap issues and the loss of players the team thought may re-sign with the team.
With Brockers going to Baltimore on the first day of free agency, the Rams quickly needed to address the defensive line. As swift as Brockers left, ex-Lions DL A’Shawn Robinson was picked up to replace the popular defensive lineman. But, as fate would have it, Brockers returned to the Rams Friday giving the team great depth and the ability to do different things with Aaron Donald, Greg Gaines and Sebastian Joseph-Day also in the fold.
The offensive line looked to be in dire straits right from the start. The line suffered through many injuries in 2019, and never really found its 2018 form. Center Austin Blythe and LT Andrew Whitworth were both free agents, Whitworth seemed like he had a preference to stay in L.A.
With both players returning on contracts, the offensive line still remains a priority, but not a free agency priority anymore. The team, despite not having a first round pick in the draft, could have a shot at several offensive linemen with the No. 52 pick. Or maybe a trade occurs on or before draft day and the team moves into the first round for a much better prospect.
The defense took some hits with the departures of Nickell Robey-Coleman, Clay Matthews, Marqui Christian, Dante Fowler Jr., Cory Littleton and Eric Weddle. Some of these losses are huge blows.
Los Angeles was able to replace Fowler with Leonard Floyd and his one-year contract. The Rams are hoping that Floyd will turn out similar results that Fowler did on his “prove it” contract. The draft is going to have to be the avenue the team reaches for defensive backs and linebacker. Because of the salary cap, and the projected $4.3 million in draft costs, the Rams are in need of quality, not quantity with six total picks.
Perhaps two of the most important specialty positions remain an issue for the team. With the release of RB Todd Gurley and the Cowboys signing of Zuerlein, a salary cap signing of a kicker is more realistic than that of a running back. Will the Rams go into the season hoping either Darrell Henderson, Malcolm Brown or John Kelly become their featured back?
One way or another, the team may decide to find another running back gem in the 2020 NFL Draft. A backup quarterback may be addressed too.
Rams fans have voiced their opinion on Jared Goff’s caliber of play, and whether back up John Wolford is a suitable replacement. Calls for the signing Cam Newton, Blake Bortles or Jameis Winston can be heard throughout Rams Nation on social media. The Rams would like to add any one of those quarterbacks as a backup, but it’s not likely.
Though it may seem like there are a lot holes yet to be filled, the team has done quite well so far and only time will tell what it will look like as camp opens in July.
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