Friday, May 24, 2024

Rams Snatch Arguably Best Pass Rusher in Draft in New USA Today Mock

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The NFL draft has finally arrived. The draft is only three days away, and the excitement surrounding the draft is at an all-time high, especially for the Rams, who have not made a pick in the first round since 2016. 

That could all change on Thursday as the Rams hold the No.19 overall pick. The situation is potentially dire, as anything can happen to that No. 19 pick. The Rams could trade up, trade down, or keep the pick and make a selection. Now, while that’s the option with every pick, it seems like the Rams will move the pick one way or another; that seems to be how general manager Les Snead and company operate. 

However, this latest USA Today mock drill by expert Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz has the horns, staying at 19 and selecting local prospect and arguably the best player at his position, edge rusher Laiatu Latu. 

“Staying local seems like a no-brainer for the Rams when the available option is a player like the caliber of Latu, this class’ most refined pass rusher,” Middlehurst-Schwartz wrote. “There aren’t many better bets for an instant-impact defender, which should be attractive to an outfit looking to stay competitive with 36-year-old Matthew Stafford at the helm.”

The Rams need edge rushing and pass rushing more than anybody, so selecting Latu wouldn’t be much of a shock if he’s there. Los Angeles lost arguably the best player in franchise history and possibly the best defender ever, Aaron Donald, last month to retirement. 

So, although he is a rookie, LA selecting his replacement is the right move. No one was better at getting to the quarterback in the college ranks. Despite having AD on the field, the Rams were among the worst at getting to the quarterback/backfield in 2023. The Rams ranked 23rd in sack percentage at 6.54%. It was far from their strong suit, which was why they fought for a playoff spot till the end. 

It will be a new era on defense for the Rams. They’ll have new personnel, a new leader, and a new defensive coordinator. Their new DC, Chris Shula, will have a ton on his shoulders, and we’ll see if he can take this defense to the next level, possibly with his new rookie, Latu, on his side if this mock Drfat pans out. 

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