The 2020 NFL Draft has come and gone and the 2020 Los Angeles Rams have become a little more clear. There are still more questions, but we did learn a few things based of this year’s NFL Draft.
Offensive weapons was a priority
The Rams did lose Todd Gurley and Brandin Cooks in the offseason, but they wanted to make sure that they weren’t short on weapons in their arsenal. Drafting RB Cam Akers, WR Van Jefferson and TE Brycen Hopkins proves that they were looking for playmakers.
The type of players they drafted too indicates the overall change to the upcoming offense. It won’t be a high-flying offense anymore. Sure, they will likely throw the ball downfield at times, but way less than in previous years. Expect short-to-mid range passes and handing the ball off in the running back-by-committee.
This will be a run-heavy offense
One of the reasons the Rams cut Gurley is because Sean McVay shouldn’t have to hesitate to run the football. They can deny all they want that they weren’t limiting carries for Gurley, but the stats don’t lie. The run production simply wasn’t there, and while the offensive line didn’t play the best, the ground game was non-existent at times.
In 2020, we can expect Kevin O’Connell to almost have a run-first mentality. The addition of Akers shakes things up a bit by adding a different elements to the rushing attack along with having the shiftier Darrell Henderson. Also, we can expect to see Malcolm Brown on goal line situations.The running backs will be involved in the aerial assault too. Henderson, Akers and Brown can all be effective weapons for Goff in the passing game.
The Rams are content with the offensive line
The Rams didn’t select an offensive linemen until their last pick at 250, selecting Clemson’s OT Tremayne Anchrum. In fact, the Rams only added one offensive linemen as an undrafted free agent in ASU’s OT/C Cohl Cabral. The thing is, the Rams have a ton of offensive linemen on the roster. By not making the offensive line a pressing need also indicates that the Rams are happy with their offensive line.
In a way, they are correct. The Rams will have some interesting training camp battles brewing at pretty much every position. About the only position that’s secured is Andrew Whitworth at LT. Now that this offensive line has a year together, they might gel a little easier too. Joseph Noteboom, Brian Allen and Rob Havenstein are all coming back from injuries too.
Gerald Everett will eventually be in another uniform
The addition of Hopkins is a bit puzzling. Not so much that Hopkins isn’t talented, because in terms of value, he was a solid pickup. It’s the fact that the Rams are loaded at TE. Obviously, Tyler Higbee is the No. 1. Until the Rams actually move Everett, he will likely be the No. 2 guy. Hopkins may have a reserved role, but we can expect plenty of dual-TE sets.
Another way to look at this is having quality depth. Both Higbee and Everett have suffered from injuries in the past. Adding Hopkins will ensure that the weapons will continue should anything happen to either TE. We can expect that the Rams will attempt to trade Everett at some point. It’s a little surprising he wasn’t trade during the NFL Draft, but a mid-season trade could add more value. Hopkins will be Everett’s replacement at some point, even if it’s next season when his contract expires in 2021.
The Rams are content with their ILBs
This may not be contentment as it is the Rams not valuing the ILB position. The thing is, the Rams were never going to find a suitable replacement for Cory Littleton. So the approach during the NFL Draft, rather than reaching for a prospect, they just filled in other areas. It was an incredibly weak draft class for ILBs. That said, we can expect more situational hybrid safety/linebacker roles. The Rams could experiment a little with sixth round draft pick, Jordan Fuller here. Still, this is an area of concern because there isn’t much experience there. It’s to the point that the Rams could rely on their 234th overall pick Clay Johnston to fill the need.
The Rams aren’t sold on David Long
The Rams drafted Utah S Terrell Burgess, and while he’s listed as a safety, he can technically play most positions in the secondary. The most intriguing spot is at nickel-corner, which is interesting because the Rams drafted David Long last year for this reason. This doesn’t necessarily mean the Rams are giving up on Long, it just means they aren’t comfortable enough to rely on him.
The departure of Nickell Robey-Coleman opened up the position, so competition is always a good thing. Even if Long emerges as the top candidate for the spot, the Rams are thin at safety and they can use Burgess in different situational areas in the secondary.