Although the Los Angeles Rams were once again without a first-round selection, general manager Les Snead and head coach Sean McVay are confident that they were still able to revamp the roster with the picks at their disposal in the 2021 NFL Draft.
They kickstarted the offseason by bolstering the offense with the additions of quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver DeSean Jackson. It seemed as though they were going to keep the emphasis on this side of the ball after using their first pick in the draft on another speedy option in Louisville wide receiver Tutu Atwell.
However, Snead and McVay quickly changed course by using their next three choices to address some of the notable voids on defense. This included South Carolina linebacker Ernest Jones, Texas A&M defensive tackle Bobby Brown III, and Central Arkansas cornerback Robert Rochell.
All in all, the Rams made sure to shore up some quality depth at positions they deemed thin following an eventful free agency period. Snead even provided some insight on the team’s thought process behind each pick on Day 3.
“(DL) Bobby (Brown) is a large human being, very athletic, very strong. So, definitely felt like he was worthy of picking there at the start of the fourth round based on that skillset. (CB Robert) Rochelle is another kid from a small school, but a very athletic, long corner, a lot of upside there. (TE) Jacob Harris – interestingly, all three of those guys had some unbelievable-type pro days. Jacob Harris really played wide receiver at Central Florida and was probably our number one ranked special teamer, in terms of coverage, but he’s a fast guy that we project could go to tight end and just an interesting weapon based on the special teams and things like that. Big (DL) Ernest Brown (IV), a typical Northwestern player. He’s tall, long, heavy, just an instinctive football player. (RB) Jake Funk, another guy that we had highly rated as a coverage player, for special teams he can return and so that’s a good thing. And then big (WR) Ben (Skowronek) has just been a really fun player to watch. He’s a genre we don’t have at receiver. He’s tall, big, long arms, wide wingspan, can go up and get rebalanced. Fun player to watch blocking. So, you could project him being basically one of our better blockers on our team and a special teams projected. And then into the last player, Mr. (OLB) Chris Garrett. A small school kid who basically destroyed that league, but a fun player to watch. Has some initial juice that really gave him an edge in that league and the sacks in the amount of games speak for themselves. So that is probably a quick rundown of the seven.”
McVay also spoke on whether he feels they did a solid job filling out some of the remaining needs on the roster.
“Yeah, I do. I think that the biggest thing when you hear (General Manager) Les (Snead) go through those seven picks today, in addition to the two from yesterday – all of these guys provide tremendous value. They all love football, and their skill sets are different, but I think they really fill out the rooms that they’re going into. You look at each of them and there’s a vision that we have for them and how they fit, how they provide value for a football team and that might be offensively or defensively. There’s a couple of guys that we felt like their value to our special teams unit was a really big asset. That they can immediately boost the production of that group. Not really just in the kicking game, in general, not exclusive to our coverage units or our return units, but really being those core players. So that was an important element for us to be able to really focus on and feel really good. And then we’re going to add some really good players in college free agency as well.”
It is safe to say that most teams feel this way, regardless of how many significant changes were made in the offseason. Fortunately, the track record between Snead and McVay when it comes to finding gems in the mid-to-late rounds certainly gives good reason to be optimistic.
The Rams already felt as though they were one piece away from taking that next step as bona fide Super Bowl contenders, which led to the acquisition of Stafford. This year’s rookie class finds themselves in a system that has yielded positive results under Snead and McVay. They will need to meet certain expectations if they hope to emerge as immediate contributors in the 2021 NFL season.
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