We have reviewed the up and coming Arizona Cardinals draft, as well as Seattle’s draft. Quick side note: When we tweeted out Bleacher Reports prediction that the San Francisco 49ers would go 12-4 in 2020, a Seahawks fan responded the Niners would go 8-8 and have a season where they regress, as the Rams did in 2019. That fanbase is...something.
Anyway, it’s the Rams turn, who I believe is a sneaky team to finish under .500 and last in the division. They have some holes, unlike any of the other teams in the NFC West. Let’s take a look at their draft to see if Los Angeles filled some of their needs.
Round 2: RB Cam Akers, Florida State
Akers was a tough prospect to evaluate, as he was running behind five blocking sleds. Akers is a talented runner that is sure to be better in the NFL. As a freshman, many believed Akers would be a college football star and possible Heisman contender. At 217 pounds, Akers ran a 4.47 40-yard dash, but his 20-yard short shuttle was a 4.42, which puts Akers in the 24th percentile. That number is surprising, as he looks plenty shifty.
Akers had the 12th most yards after contact, and the seventh-most missed tackles forced. He’s a very good running back that will do well in the Rams zone scheme. Akers doesn’t offer much as a receiver, though. His other issue was bouncing runs at FSU, but I’d chalk that up to his line.
The Rams drafting a running back in the second round after taking Darrell Henderson in the third round during the 2019 draft raised some eyebrows.
Round 2: WR Van Jefferson, Florida
Jefferson is going to be better in the pros, and I hope we don’t have to find out the hard way. Because Jefferson wasn’t used on vertical routes, draft analysts thought he was slow. You can see there is enough speed from Jefferson. Jefferson was timed at the Senior Bowl, running 21.05 MPH. Zebra Technologies clocked 2019 rookie sensation Deebo Samuel at 20.97 MPH the year before. After a broken bone in his foot that was found out at the NFL Combine, many thought Jefferson would fall out of Day 2. The Rams were smart to pounce on Jefferson, who is one of those receivers that know how to get open.
Round 3: Edge Terrell Lewis, Alabama
Lewis won plenty as a pass rusher, but it felt like a lot of that was due to the team he was playing on and poor competition. As the season went on, Lewis’s production dropped. Against the best SEC tackles, Lewis was AWOL. He’s an underclassman from Alabama, though, so you know he’s talented. Lewis didn’t do all of the tests at the Combine, but both of his jumps were in the 90th percentiles. At 6’5”, 262 pounds, Lewis has the ideal build as well. It doesn’t take long to see Lewis has the flexibility desired to play on the edge, but he will be a liability against the run. Kyle Shanahan may run at him every play Lewis is on the field.
Lewis fell in the draft thanks to a career that was cut short due to injuries.
Round 3: S Terrell Burgess, Utah
PFF compared Burgess to Jimmie Ward to give you an idea about his game. Burgess is fast (4.46 40-yard dash), has superb man-to-man skills, and has the versatility to succeed in today’s game. Burgess was yet another solid pick for the Rams. What will his role be? Burgess didn’t play as a single-high safety that often, so there will be a learning curve if the Rams ask him to do that. In the box, Burgess’s lack of size shows up. You can block him relatively easily. Burgess does a lot of things well and should start for the Rams.
Round 4: TE Brycen Hopkins, Purdue
Hopkins is an ideal TE2. He can run, make you miss, as well as make the contested catch. Hopkins will likely replace Tyler Higbee once his contract is up. Hopkins is more of a “big slot” than he is a tight end. If the Rams ask Hopkins to block one of the Niners’ defensive ends, they’ll regret doing so. Hopkins also has a bunch of focus drops, which don’t bother me, but they happen at the most inopportune time. Drafting Hopkins in the fourth-round is a good pickup for the Rams.
Los Angeles also drafted S Jordan Fuller from Ohio State in the sixth round. I liked what the Rams did, but they still have a questionable offensive line and a quarterback that is again tricking people into thinking he’s good. You can’t win with poor QB play and offensive line play. Sean McVay can only mask so much.