2018 NFL Draft: Los Angeles Rams team needs, draft picks, prospects to watch
With their 2017 season over, it's time for Rams fans to turn their attention to the draft
The Rams' first season under Sean McVay was an undisputed success, as the team was able to surprisingly win the NFC West going away, breaking the two-team domination of the Seahawks and Cardinals in the division. After what the offense showed, you can expect the Rams to show up as a sleeper Super Bowl pick in countless features this offseason. What do they need to accomplish this offseason to get there? Let's dive in.
2018 draft picks
- Round 1: L.A. Rams
- Round 2: None
- Round 3: L.A. Rams
- Round 4: L.A. Rams
- Round 5: L.A. Rams
- Round 6: L.A. Rams, Buffalo, Detroit
- Round 7: Baltimore*
The Rams surrendered their second-round pick in order to grab Sammy Watkins from the Bills, but they also added an extra sixth-round pick in that deal. They picked up a third pick in the sixth round by sending former No. 2 overall pick Greg Robinson to the Lions. They traded their own seventh-rounder to the Redskins for Derek Carrier before the season but previously made a conditional trade for Baltimore's seventh-rounder.
Biggest offseason needs
- Interior offensive linemen
- Outside linebacker
- Strong safety
Sammy Watkins is set to reach free agency, so the Rams could be looking to add to their receiver group if he isn't re-signed. But they'll have six other receivers already under contract, so even if they stand pat, they'll be pretty well off at the position. On the offensive line, Jamon Brown has been the sole weakness at right guard, and center John Sullivan is a free agent. They'll need to add at least one, maybe two players to the mix.
On defense, outside linebacker Connor Barwin is a free agent, and more outside pass-rushing help should be the focus as the Rams are elite up the middle. With Trumaine Johnson finally nearing a big free-agent deal after two years of being franchise tagged and with LaMarcus Joyner and Nickell Robey-Coleman also reaching free agency, the Rams have a lot of work to do in the secondary. Re-signing at least one impending FA should be priority No. 2, with the top priority going to getting Aaron Donald under contract long-term.
Prospects to watch
Smith is a tall, mobile and powerful interior linemen who's been a key cog in Auburn's diverse running game during the Gus Malzahn era. The Rams could use an experienced blocker like Smith to keep Todd Gurley's career on the upswing.
Once believed to be a No. 1 overall pick candidate, the intimidating specimen battled injury and conditioning issues in his last year at LSU. When he's healthy, Key is capable of Myles Garrett-type flashes of elite explosion, bend, and hand use at the pass-rushing apex. He'll be a risky selection but could ultimately become the steal of the draft.
The Crimson Tide breeds hard-hitting, versatile safety prospects, and Harrison is the next to enter the NFL. He's more Mark Barron than he is Landon Collins, yet whichever team picks him knows they'd be getting a well-coached defensive back capable of playing all over the field.
Hill has some off-field issues, as he was kicked off the Texas team midway through his final season in Austin. On the field, he's an enormous cornerback prospect with plus ball skills that really started to show in 2017. The 6-foot-3 Hill had 51 tackles, two picks, and six pass breakups in nine games.
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