The NFL Draft is quickly approaching! The IDP department is breaking down each team post-free agency and what they should look to address in the draft.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams have won the off-season Lombardi. We’ll see if that will get them the real thing in February. They added three Pro Bowl defenders (Ndamukong Suh, Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib) and traded away Alec Ogletree and Robert Quinn. They lost mostly depth players besides the two trades due to the big splash moves they feel they could move on from Trumaine Johnson and safeties Cody Davis and Maurice Alexander. Connor Barwin is another starter from last season that doesn’t appear to be returning and even though the defensive line looks stacked they will need some help on the edge.
The Wade Phillips 3-4 defense has disappointed IDP owners of the 2017 Defensive Player of the Year, Aaron Donald due to his DE designation. I loved having this stud to slide into my DT spot every week and crank out the points. By the way, if you aren’t playing in DT/CB required leagues, you’re missing out on half the fun!
Back to defensive ends. Donald is a beast wherever he lines up and what he is called. MFL (MyFantasyLeague.com) has also designated Michael Brockers as a defensive end. This lowers his value as well, as he was the #12 DT in 2017, but would have finished as the #22 DE. So, instead of being a DT1 every week, you have a DE2. I would sell before people catch on the drop in value especially in leagues where DT is a premium position.
The big free agent signing for the Rams was Ndamukong Suh. The Rams made all their other splashes through big trades. Suh should be able to better his 4.5 sacks and 29 solo tackles from 2016. Offensive lines are going to need a prescription for anxiety facing down Aaron Donald, Michael Brockers and Suh on the same line across from them. One thing about Suh is that he doesn’t miss games. He’s played all 16 games in 7 out of 8 seasons and in his 2nd season missed two games due to his suspension for stomping on Evan Dietrich Smith in 2011.
— UK and Irish Packers (@ukpackers) December 31, 2014
I’m buying Suh for a reasonable price, though that’s tough to find with the uproar surrounding the Rams defensive line.
This position group for the Rams will be where they need to set their sights during the draft. They have Mark Barron, Cory Littleton and free agent signee, Ramik Wilson at ILB. Out of that group, Barron is the only player I feel has an IDP upside as he has posted at least 70 tackles each of the last three seasons. Ramik Wilson is a player I would consider adding but wouldn’t spend more than a waiver claim for him. On the outside, they need some pass rushers to play in the 3-4. Samson Ebukam is the lone OLB that I can see having some IDP value, and that is minimal at best.
What team did more to bolster their secondary than the Rams? Nobody. The Rams acquired two Pro Bowl cornerbacks for a 5th round pick from Denver a 4th round pick from the Rams and a 2019 2nd round pick from the Rams. This could have been seen as a need in before these trades, but now it is a strength. Marcus Peters is one of the “shutdown” corners that I like because of his ball skills. He seems to always be in a position to make a play on the ball, and his 19 INTs in his three-year career are amazing. You’d think the wouldn’t throw the ball his way. Unfortunately now for the NFC West, the other trade saw another quality corner, Aqib Talib to man the other side of the field. Scary! Whoever wins the slot corner role in this defense could be IDP gold. Nickell Robey-Coleman and Sam Shields should do battle for that distinction so keep an eye on this camp battle or if the Rams draft a corner.
Rounding out this quality secondary are free safety Lamarcus Joyner and strong safety John Johnson. Will there be anything left for these two? There will be a lot of Rams sought after in IDP, but Johnson is the guy I’d want out of the two. Johnson started getting more playing time in week 4 of 2017 and averaged about 4 tackles per game.
Draft Needs: ILB, OLB & DE
I can see the Rams drafting 2-3 linebackers in this draft class. They need another guy inside and edge pass rushers in Wade Phillips’ defensive scheme. The pass rushers could be labeled as defensive ends or outside linebackers, but who knows what they’ll be cast as in fantasy (see above where I complain about Aaron Donald).
The Los Angeles Rams currently own a 3rd (87th overall), three 4ths (111th, 135th, and 136th overall) and four 6ths (176th, 183rd, 194th and 195th overall).
Some possible linebackers and edge players that could land in LA around the 3rd-4th rounds are Lorenzo Carter, Fred Warner, Uchenna Nwosu, Dorian O’Daniel, Josh Sweat, Duke Ejiofor, Chad Thomas, and Jeff Holland. Inside linebackers that could be available are Jack Cichy, Josey Jewell, Micah Kiser, and Nick DeLuca. If the Rams can get one or two of these Linebackers/Edge players, this defense could be immovable.
For more in-depth analysis of these players, you can get the 2018 Rookie Roundup for FREE and read up on the IDP relevant draft prospects.
Thanks for reading! Be on the lookout for your favorite team broken down IDP style. Follow me @seahawksdan8 and let me know who you would want the Rams or your team to draft this year!