If he was to ever wind up on "Jeopardy!" it's safe to say that Sean McVay would play similarly to James Holzhauer, the record-setting player who won large sums of money by going "all in" on double and final Jeopardies.
One could say that McVay has gone "all in" throughout his run as the Rams' head coach. In October of 2019, he signed off on a trade that sent three draft picks (including two first-rounders) to the Jaguars in exchange for cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Earlier this offseason, the Rams sent Jared Goff and three draft picks (that again included two first-rounders) to the Lions for quarterback Matthew Stafford. McVay is surely hoping that Stafford can help the Rams win the championship that has eluded him and the Rams during his time with the team.
On paper, the Rams have one of the NFL's most complete rosters. Along with Stafford, the Rams have two former 1,000-yard receivers in Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods. Cam Akers leads a rushing attack that finished 10th in the NFL in 2020. The Rams' defense is anchored by Ramsey, outside linebacker Leonard Floyd and Aaron Donald, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year.
While they do not have a first-round pick, the Rams do have enough picks in the 2021 draft to add to their foundation. Here's a look at how the Rams can pull off the perfect draft.
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Address the offensive line, secondary on Day 2
Los Angles is devoid of a first-round pick, but the Rams have three picks on Day 2 of the draft: one second round pick (57 overall) and two third-round picks (88 and 103 overall). The Rams should use their first Day 2 pick on either a center or an offensive tackle. Los Angeles lost starter center Austin Blythe to the Chiefs in free agency, and will need to start looking for Andrew Whitworth's eventual replacement at left tackle. Former Alabama center Landon Dickerson would be an ideal pick if he somehow fell to the back end of the second round. Another option here could be Dickerson's college teammate, Alex Leatherwood, who recently said that he is open to playing either tackle or guard at the next level.
Former Cincinnati offensive tackle James Hudson III would be a great addition with the 103rd overall pick if he is still on the board. A former defensive lineman who started his college career at Michigan, Hudson elevated his draft stock following his impressive Senior Bowl performance. Former Ohio State guard Wyatt Davis could also be on the Rams' radar with their final Day 2 pick. An athletic lineman with very effective hands, Davis helped protect Justin Fields while also providing clear running lanes for Trey Sermon and J.K. Dobbins during his time in Columbus, Ohio.
The Rams should spend at least one of their Day 2 picks on rebuilding a secondary that lost cornerback Troy Hill and safety John Johnson in free agency. Florida's Asante Samuel Jr. would be a nice replacement for Hill. In just eight games last season, Samuel picked off three passes and broke up three more. He also recovered two fumbles while forcing another. A possible candidate to replace Johnson is former Oregon free safety Jevon Holland, who made nine interceptions during his two seasons in Eugene. Holland has already begun building a rapport with Ramsey, who has been working out with several prospects leading up to the draft.
Given their needs on the line and in the secondary, expect the Rams to spend one or two Day 3 picks on those positions. Speaking of that, one intriguing Day 3 prospect is former TCU safety Ar'Darius Washington. If he can overcome his small stature (he's listed at 5-foot-8 and 179 pounds), Washington has the toughness, athleticism and high motor could make him a Day 3 steal.
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Replenish EDGE and ILB positions
The Rams would be wise to find a pass rusher who could rotate with Terrell Lewis. Los Angeles would also be smart to acquire an inside linebacker who can compete for playing time alongside Micah Kiser and Troy Reeder. Fortunately for the Rams, there are a slew of promising pass rushers in this year's draft, even if they wait until Day 3 to select one. Pittsburgh's Patrick Jones II would be a steal if he somehow falls to the Rams with the 141st pick. More realistic edge rushers with this pick include Penn State's Shaka Toney, Buffalo's Malcolm Koonce, and Wake Forest's Carlos Basham Jr. Specifically, Basham could ultimately go down as a Day 3 bargain for whoever drafts him. During his final 19 games at Wake Forest, Basham tallied 15 sacks, seven forced fumbles and 22.5 tackles for loss.
Los Angeles may decide to wait until its final pick (252) to select a linebacker. A nice option here could be Ohio State's Justin Hilliard, a well-rounded player who made a slew of splash plays during his final season with the Buckeyes.
Find new weapons for Stafford
The Rams still have most of their top-end talent, but they did lose Josh Reynolds (last year's No. 3 receiver) and tight end Gerald Everett. Reynolds will likely be replaced by Van Jefferson, who showed flashes of his potential during his rookie season. Los Angeles is surely hoping that Brycen Hopkins, another member of the Rams' 2020 draft class, can help replace the loss of Everett. That being said, the Rams should draft players at both positions in order to further solidify their depth chart while giving Stafford even more options in the passing game.
The Rams may not have to look further than their own backyard to draft a receiver. One wideout who should be available late in Day 3 is former USC receiver Tyler Vaughns, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound target who was extremely consistent during his four years with the Trojans. In four seasons, Vaughn caught 222 passes for 2,801 yards and 20 touchdowns. At tight end, the Rams may be inclined to take BYU product Matt Bushman, who caught 125 passes for 1,719 yards and nine touchdowns for the Cougars.
Here are the prospects CBS NFL Draft writer Josh Edwards has the Rams taking in his mock draft:
|Round (overall pick)||Prospect (position)||College|
Alex Leatherwood (G)
Tutu Atwell (WR)
Pete Werner (LB)
Divine Deablo (S)
Royce Newman (G)
Dez Fitzpatrick (WR)