LOS ANGELES (News4usonline) – Eight is a pretty good number. For the Los Angeles Rams, eight represents the number of players they were able to select in the 2022 NFL Draft. Fresh off of winning Super Bowl LVI, the Rams had to wait until late in the third round to start getting the players they needed to help round out their roster.
That’s not inluding post-draft signings. But the draft is where all eyes turn to when it comes to players with the more optimal opportunities to make a ballclub. Once they got the ball rolling, the Rams went in deep on the defensive side of the ball for the draft.
The team snagged five defensive stalwarts of the eight picks they made. As far as any of the players paying immediate dividens as major contributors this season and beyond is a scenario that have to play itself out, team general manager Les Snead told reporters outside of the Rams Rocket Mortgage Draft House.Embed from Getty Images
“That’s to be determined,” Snead said. “The fortunate thing, right, we’ve got a very competitive roster with a lot of veterans with a lot of experience. So, at the end of the day, I would say time will tell. I know Sean [McVay] and his group will get them in. We’ll begin developing them and that point in time we’ll see how quickly they can pick it up, how competitive they’ll be. But I’ve got a gut feeling that there a lot of these eight guys that’ll be playing football for us on Sunday at some point next year.”
Even while enjoying a plush skyscraper view of downtown Los Angeles and the rest of Los Angeles County, the Rams still had the business of selecting from a wide pool of college football players to help improve their team. That didn’t happen on Day 1 of the draft as the Rams were without draft picks.
The Rams didn’t get a pick in the draft until they went out and nabbed Wisconsin offensive lineman Logan Bruss with the 104th selection (third round). That’s sort of the price you pay when you’re the Super Bowl champs. Interestingly enough, the Rams started their draft taking a Big Ten offensive lineman and ended it the same way.
Michigan State offensive tackle AJ Arcuri was the Rams’ final pick in the draft at No. 261 in the seventh round. Arcuri believes the physicality of playing in the Big Tem served him well in preparing him to play at the pro level.
“I think the Big Ten is defintiely a strong league,” remarked Arcuri. “You go against great d-lineman (defensive lineman) every week. So I think that’s played a huge role in preparing me for this next opportunity ahead.”
The Rams made the picks that would seem to fit the team’s immediate needs. Day 2 and Day 3 of the draft turned out to be more fruitful for the Rams. That fruit meant taking four of the last five picks with defense in mind.Embed from Getty Images
The selections of Bruss and Arcuri will help shore up and bring depth to the Rams’ offensive line. When the team nailed down defensive back picks in succession in the sixth round (Quentin Lake, UCLA; Derion Kendrick, Georgia), they were obviously looking to provide depth for the secondary weakened by free agent departures.
Besides Lake and Kendrick, the Rams’ defense got a boost with pick ups of Decobie Durant (South Carolina State), Daniel Hardy (Montana State) and Russ Yeast (Kansas State). It would appear that the Rams defense just got a complete makeover.
Lake said he’s willing to do whatever it takes to be an asset to the team.
“You’re going to get a get a guy who will do anything,” Lake said. “Anything like is very coachable. A guy that can play multiple positions, an adpat well to new defenses, and is versatile and has great ball skills. You’re going to get a plug-in play player. That’s the biggest thing. You’re going to get a player than do both-be an influence on defense and be an influence on special teams, for sure.”
After beating the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 to win Super Bowl LVI, the Rams have seen a shift in their personnel. The draft is the latest tally for the team to add depth and more talent to an already talented roster read to repeat their title run.Embed from Getty Images
Let’s get up to speed on some of the changes in the Rams’ world before the draft and what moves the team made during the NFL’s annual premier marketplace for employment. The first domino to drop was when longtime offensive line staple Andrew Whitworth retired shortly after the Rams’ Super Bowl victory.
The team then lost the Von Miller sweepstakes to the Buffalo Bills via free agency.
So that’s two big holes to fill right off the bat. Multiple cogs from their defense a year ago have departed. Linebacker Troy Reeder, defensive back Darious Williams and lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day have moved on.
Another matter pending for the ballclub is whether or not they will be able to keep wide receiver Odell Beckham and running back Sony Michel under wraps. With the Rams drafting Notre Dame running back Kyren Williams in the fifth round with the No. 164 pick, Los Angeles found their depth at that position.
“He’s an easy eval beause, you know, you look at the system with Tommy Rees as the offensive coordinator, a lot of concept carry over for some of the things that we’ll do,” Rams head coach Sean McVay said. “I think that he’s a really complete back. One of the things that you love the most about him is you see versatility on all three downs.
“He’s great in protection. You know, he is fearless. He will stick his face on people,” McVay added. “He can stay conneted on those things, got a great feel in the sreen game. I think he’s an excellent offset gun-runner. But you also see great contact balance, ability to produce in both phases-both the run and the pass. He’s just an elite competitor.”
Losing key players is a given in the NFL, especially after a Super Bowl run. Despite the departures of some of their key players from last season, the Rams are still sitting pretty when it comes to being recognized as the best team in the league.
At last check, the Rams still have quarterback Matthew Stafford. Wide receiver Cooper Kupp is still in the building. And the most unguardable force in the league, Aaron Donald, still plays defense for the Rams. The Rams have been able to plug holes where Miller and others left. Longtime linebacker stalwart Bobby Wagner is now on board.
So now with OTAs, min-camp and training camp on the horizon, the real fun is about to begin.
Featured Image aption: UCLA safety Quentin Lakes (37) was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the sixth round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Photo by Mark Hammond/News4usonline
Dennis is the editor and publisher of News4usonline. He covers sports, social and racial justice, politics, equal rights, and entertainment. Dennis has over two decades of journalism experience. He earned a degree in journalism from Howard University. “I write what I’m passionate about.”