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Jrry32's First Mock Off-Season of the Year

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Well, it is that time of year again. I was hoping I'd be making these with us picking #32, but I guess that gives me the motivation to really knock this mock out of the park. 
Cut
ILB Mark Barron
 
There's not much to say here. I think we're all agreed on this one. Barron stepped up in the playoffs, but we need somebody who offers more in terms of run fits.
 
Re-sign
OG Rodger Saffold
CB Sam Shields
ILB Bryce Hager
S Blake Countess
ILB Cory Littleton - Second Round RFA Tender
CB Dominique Hatfield - ERFA Tender
RS Jojo Natson - ERFA Tender
DL Morgan Fox - ERFA Tender
CB Kevin Peterson - ERFA Tender
OLB Garrett Sickels - ERFA Tender
WR KhaDarel Hodge - ERFA Tender
 
I doubt there are too many surprises here. I would say the only two possible surprises are not re-signing Ndamukong Suh or Dante Fowler Jr. I think Suh wants his final multi-year contract. That will make it not feasible to bring him back. I like Fowler Jr., but I am wary of his price tag as a former top pick. I think we all expect Joyner to go.
 
Free Agency
[IMG] 
Shaquil Barrett OLB
 
I wanted us to pursue Barrett last year when he was a RFA if Denver gave him an original round tender. Unfortunately, Denver gave him a second round tender. He lost a lot of snaps this year with Bradley Chubb playing lights out as a rookie. Still, Barrett is a guy who has looked good whenever he has gotten on the field in Denver. He has experience playing for Wade, and he's a solid all around edge defender who has upside. 
 
[IMG] 
Darian Stewart SS
 
Former Ram Darian Stewart returns home after Denver releases him. I know some of us are still a little peeved at Stewart for injuring Kupp, but I like us having vets in the secondary. When Talib went out, we had a lot of communication issues with the young guys in the secondary. Having a veteran leader like Stewart will help us. Plus, Stewart has played very good football in Wade's scheme in the past, and he offers the sort of tone-setting hitting I'd like to see more of out of our defense. 
 
[IMG] 
Danny Shelton NT
 
We need some beef in the middle. I've said in the past that Wade doesn't like space-occupying NTs, but I think Wade will accept Shelton because he offers more than that. Shelton was a first round pick after posting 94 tackles, 17 TFLs, and 9 sacks in his final year at Washington. Shelton's disruptive ability hasn't consistently manifested itself in the NFL, but the potential is still there. He had a good Super Bowl against us as a run defender. He offers us the sort of size and anchor our run defense needs in the middle with the potential to be the disruptive interior defender that Wade likes.
 
[IMG] 
Ryan Groy C/OG
 
We tried to sign Groy after the 2016 season when McVay and Kromer had just been hired. The Bills matched our offer and kept him. Groy hasn't played as well away from Kromer's system, so I think we can sign him now cheaper than what we offered a couple years ago. He'll provide quality depth at Center and Guard. 
 
Trade
Rams trade Round 1 Pick #31
Giants trade Round 2 Pick #5, Round 4 Pick #30, and Round 7 Pick #6
 
Giants trade up to get the fifth-year option for Eli's successor at QB, Daniel Jones.
 
Rams trade Round 3 Pick #31 and Round 3 Pick #37
Browns trade Round 3 Pick #16 and Round 4 Pick #17
 
Rams move up for a guy they're targeting.
 
NFL Draft
Round 2 Pick #5 - Devin Bush Jr. ILB Michigan
Analysis: The one thing I expect we can all agree on is that we lacked a force at ILB this year. Littleton flashed at times, but he was inconsistent. Devin Bush Jr., the son of former Rams safety Devin Bush Sr. (starter on the 1999 Super Bowl Champion Rams), is the force we need. Bush is undersized at 5'11" 235, but don't let size fool you. He hits like a truck, runs like a deer, and is fearless filling gaps. Bush has the athleticism to handle HBs out of the backfield along with the instincts, strength and physicality to fill gaps in the running game. He's a tone-setter.
 
Round 3 Pick #16 - Chase Winovich OLB Michigan
Analysis: With all of the talent at EDGE in this class, I think Winovich is flying under the radar. He won't wow you with athleticism, but he's a relentless player who plays every down like it's his last. Winovich has a great first step, plays with outstanding leverage, has a powerful punch, use his hands well, and converts speed-to-power very effectively. He's not an edge bender, but he has the first step, balance, and leverage to threaten the corner. He has advanced pass rush plans, has great screen recognition, and plays the run well. He probably won't ever lead the NFL in sacks, but he's a guy who will play the run well, make very few mistakes, and consistently make the QB uncomfortable.
 
Round 4 Pick #17 - Rodney Anderson HB Oklahoma
Analysis: The rumors are that Anderson will fall to Day 3 due to medical. He tore his ACL this year, he broke his leg in 2015 as a freshman, and broke a bone in his neck in 2016. Thus, he's only had one healthy year in college. Still, I will dance a jig if we land him in the fourth round. Coming into the year, Anderson was considered a potential first round pick. At 6'1" 220, he's an explosive runner who has both shiftiness and power. He also has soft hands as a receiver and great vision and patience. The closest thing to a weakness right now, outside of his injury history, is his inconsistencies in pass protection.
 
Round 4 Pick #30 - Brett Rypien QB Boise State
Analysis: Brett Rypien, the nephew of former Rams QB Mark Rypien, was a four year starter at Boise State. In his senior year, Rypien threw for 30 TDs to 7 Ints. Rypien's physical skill-set is very average. He has average mobility, average arm strength, and average size (6'2" 205). However, Rypien is an intelligent QB who sees the field well, throws with anticipation, and moves seamlessly through his reads. During his career, he has had a tendency to make bad decisions under pressure, I don't think he feels pressure well, and I don't like his tendency to fumble the football. However, we're talking about the 4th round here, you're not getting another Jared Goff in the 4th round. Rypien is a guy who could execute our offense effectively if Goff ever went down. He's a game manager, but he is solid in that role. Also, Rypien has an outstanding play-action fake, which is definitely a positive for our offense.
 
Round 4 Pick #31 - Cortez Broughton DL Cincinnati
Analysis: I really like the potential Cortez Broughton brings to the table. As a senior, he posted 52 tackles, 18.5 TFLs, and 7.5 sacks. At 6'2" 290, Broughton is undersized, but he has an explosive first step, great natural leverage, and a nasty bull rush. He also uses his hands well for a guy his age, but I would like to see him develop better counters and a go-to move. As a run defender, he is very disruptive due to his get-off and ability to get skinny through gaps. He holds up better than expected against double teams for his size due to his leverage and strength, and he lined up all over the DL for Cincy. He did have a tendency to fatigue late in games, but I really like him as a rotational option on our DL. He could learn a lot from AD.
 
Round 5 Pick #31 - David Long CB Michigan
Analysis: Honestly, I'm not a big fan of this CB class thus far. However, I do like Long. He has some limitations. He's undersized at 5'11" 187. He doesn't possess great long speed, so he isn't a guy you'll want to play consistently on an island. That all said, Long can play both outside and in the slot (and did so in college). He has great press-man technique. He's accurate with his hands and patient with his footwork. He is a sound and aware zone defender who doesn't freelance, and he tackles well when needed. I was a bit disappointed with how passive he is as a run defender. He seems content to stay glued to his blocks. But in coverage, he's very sticky, very physical, and consistently pesters the WR. On the down side, he can get bullied by bigger WRs and can be a bit grabby at times. Still, he's a guy who could step in and provide solid play if Talib, Peters, or NRC suffers an injury.
 
Round 6 Pick #31 - Jalen Hurd WR Baylor
Analysis: Jalen Hurd is one of the most intriguing players in this draft. Hurd started his career at Tennessee as a HB. He rushed for 1200+ yards and 12 TDs as a sophomore. He even started over Alvin Kamara. However, Hurd ended up transferring after some issues with Butch Jones' staff and decided to play WR at Baylor. In his lone season at WR, he posted a near-1000 yard receiving season. At 6'5" 230, Hurd is a stellar athlete. He has quick feet for his size, good overall speed, and soft hands. He's very raw due to his late transition to WR, but he's incredibly intriguing because he has all the tools, competitiveness, and work ethic to be great. One thing that also intrigues me with Hurd would be asking him to put on a little weight and playing him as a TE. Hurd is a competitive and physical blocker, so that might be an option. It's also possible we could move him back to HB and use him as a third-down HB.
 
Round 7 Pick #6 - Evan Worthington S Colorado
Analysis: Remember when I said I wasn't a big fan of the CB class, well, I am even less a fan of the safety class thus far. Outside of the top safeties (who won't last past the second round), I haven't found a single safety I love. Worthington is the closest thing to that, but his inconsistencies frustrate me. Still, at 6'2" 205, he has the potential to be a quality starter in our system if he irons out his issues. Worthington shows the potential to be a rangy middle-fielder while also being a guy who shows no fear as a box defender in run support or in man coverage against TEs. That all said, Worthington takes inconsistent angles in coverage and in run support (too often taking bad angles), misses too many tackles for my liking, and is a leggy athlete who lacks the hips and short-area quickness to match up well with slot WRs or scat backs in coverage. The reason I'm willing to bet on his potential is because I think he has a skill-set that will play well on special teams.
 
Projected Starters
QB: Jared Goff
HB: Todd Gurley
XWR: Brandin Cooks
ZWR: Robert Woods
SLWR: Cooper Kupp
TE: Tyler Higbee or Gerald Everett
LT: Andrew Whitworth
LG: Rodger Saffold
C: John Sullivan
RG: Austin Blythe
RT: Rob Havenstein
 
5T: Michael Brockers
NT: Danny Shelton
3T: Aaron Donald
WOLB: Shaquil Barrett
Mo LB: Cory Littleton
Mike LB: Devin Bush
SOLB: Samson Ebukam
RCB: Aqib Talib
LCB: Marcus Peters
SLCB: Nickell Robey-Coleman
FS: John Johnson
SS: Darian Stewart
 
K: Greg Zuerlein
P: Johnny Hekker
LS: Jake McQuaide

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I love it. To me figuring out ILB and safety are the biggest needs. I love Bush and understand getting the veteran precense in Stewart although I'm not thrilled about it. 

Getting a reliable backup in the draft to me is a must. God forbid that Goff ever gets hurt we are in massive trouble if Mannion comes in. 

I know you said you liked the idea of kicking Whitworth inside and having Noteboom play LT. Have you soured on that or just don't have it because you think it's unrealistic? 

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2 hours ago, LeotheLion said:

I love it. To me figuring out ILB and safety are the biggest needs. I love Bush and understand getting the veteran precense in Stewart although I'm not thrilled about it. 

Getting a reliable backup in the draft to me is a must. God forbid that Goff ever gets hurt we are in massive trouble if Mannion comes in. 

I know you said you liked the idea of kicking Whitworth inside and having Noteboom play LT. Have you soured on that or just don't have it because you think it's unrealistic? 

I like that idea if Noteboom earns the job. I wouldn't hand him the job.

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Doesn't wow me, but I can't say I'd be disappointed. Love getting Shaquil and Devin Bush. Big time impact players for our front 7.

 

I would like to cut Brockers and resign Suh. Brockers, while a good leader, is pretty useless on the field and his cap hit does not justify the pay.

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Pretty solid. It doesn't wow me, but that's what I want coming off of a Superbowl Loss. No need for drastic changes to WOW someone.

In a perfect world, I'd like to keep Suh and Fowler, but I realize it's not likely. Suh truly looked the happiest he's ever been with a team in his entire career. Mostly because they were winning, but him and Donald really seemed to get along and play off of each other. Could he be willing to take less on a 2-3 year deal to stay in LA. There's a market for him in commercials if he stays in the area and becomes one of the more recognizable faces of the team.  Or go chase millions in Cleveland, what do I know?

Fowler seems more valuable than Suh at this point. They were both coming on at the end, but Fowler was finally showing flashes of his draft stock. I'd hold on and tag him for another year to see what a full offseason can do for him under Wade Phillips. I think we could see elite production.

Would love Bush in the 1st and I liked your two flyers in Rodney Anderson and Jalen Hurd.

 

I also think we could get a 3rd for Josh Reynolds and replace his production with Desean Jackson on the cheap if we wanted to.

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1 hour ago, LARams91 said:

Doesn't wow me, but I can't say I'd be disappointed. Love getting Shaquil and Devin Bush. Big time impact players for our front 7.

 

I would like to cut Brockers and resign Suh. Brockers, while a good leader, is pretty useless on the field and his cap hit does not justify the pay.

I don't see them cutting Brockers. They like to get comp picks, and Brockers is entering the final year of his deal.

34 minutes ago, BStanRamFan said:

Pretty solid. It doesn't wow me, but that's what I want coming off of a Superbowl Loss. No need for drastic changes to WOW someone.

In a perfect world, I'd like to keep Suh and Fowler, but I realize it's not likely. Suh truly looked the happiest he's ever been with a team in his entire career. Mostly because they were winning, but him and Donald really seemed to get along and play off of each other. Could he be willing to take less on a 2-3 year deal to stay in LA. There's a market for him in commercials if he stays in the area and becomes one of the more recognizable faces of the team.  Or go chase millions in Cleveland, what do I know?

Fowler seems more valuable than Suh at this point. They were both coming on at the end, but Fowler was finally showing flashes of his draft stock. I'd hold on and tag him for another year to see what a full offseason can do for him under Wade Phillips. I think we could see elite production.

Would love Bush in the 1st and I liked your two flyers in Rodney Anderson and Jalen Hurd.

 

I also think we could get a 3rd for Josh Reynolds and replace his production with Desean Jackson on the cheap if we wanted to.

I don't see us getting a 3rd for Reynolds. As for Fowler, my issue is that the tag is too expensive, and I'd be wary of handing him a long-term deal without him showing more. If he wanted to come back on a short-term deal, it's doable for me. I don't see us wanting to commit to Suh for more than a year. We need to be careful with how we allocate our resources in future years. I don't see us wanting to commit to older players for more than a season. If Suh wants to give us a discount, I think we could make it work, but he's a businessman. I don't see that happening.

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1 hour ago, jrry32 said:

I don't see them cutting Brockers. They like to get comp picks, and Brockers is entering the final year of his deal.

Yea I understand from that standpoint. Just stinks to have to stomach his play (or lack there of) for another year. I'd like to Ogletree him if possible.

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I think this is a very smart and realistic offseason. Good work. I wouldnt be shocked to see the free agency period work out exactly like that. 

I am still a believer in Micah Kiser, and i think he is the perfect Downhill LB that we need as a 2 down guy. I see exactly what you are getting at with Devin Bush, but I think he is the upgrade on Littleton, not the complimentary piece. Bush is the guy you would want as the 3 down backer to run the defense, so if you are grabbing him, we are signalling that we are letting Littleton walk next year. 

Not a bad thing at all, just calling that out.

 

I like Rypien pick, who else is on your list of QB prospects to look at?

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1 hour ago, jrry32 said:

I don't see them cutting Brockers. They like to get comp picks, and Brockers is entering the final year of his deal.

I don't see us getting a 3rd for Reynolds. As for Fowler, my issue is that the tag is too expensive, and I'd be wary of handing him a long-term deal without him showing more. If he wanted to come back on a short-term deal, it's doable for me. I don't see us wanting to commit to Suh for more than a year. We need to be careful with how we allocate our resources in future years. I don't see us wanting to commit to older players for more than a season. If Suh wants to give us a discount, I think we could make it work, but he's a businessman. I don't see that happening.

If McVay's water boys are getting HC jobs there no reason his back up WR won't garner similar attention. And honestly, Reynolds is worth taking a chance on for a 3rd rounder.

All the chips were in last year because of the window of Goff's rookie deal. If we approach this season in a similar manner and do no extend Goff until his 5th year then we can pay Fowler a 1 year tag price and I think it's worth using to find out if he is worth handing a long term deal to. I think we will continue to hand out 1yr deals to many vets looking to win a superbowl. Players that come to mind are Earl Thomas, Tyrann Mathieu, Mo Wilkerson.

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4 minutes ago, LARams91 said:

Yea I understand from that standpoint. Just stinks to have to stomach his play (or lack there of) for another year. I'd like to Ogletree him if possible.

He stepped up in the playoffs. Hopefully, he'll come back next year and play more like he did in 2017.

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5 minutes ago, LARams91 said:

Yea I understand from that standpoint. Just stinks to have to stomach his play (or lack there of) for another year. I'd like to Ogletree him if possible.

Im sorry, you're just way off that Brockers is Useless. Almost flat out wrong. Especially if we would add a Danny Shelton, a true plugger in the middle, letting Brockers be his best self, and a more well rounded monster of a DL

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1 minute ago, StLunatic88 said:

Im sorry, you're just way off that Brockers is Useless. Almost flat out wrong. Especially if we would add a Danny Shelton, a true plugger in the middle, letting Brockers be his best self, and a more well rounded monster of a DL

He faced single blockers all year and was largely unseen. We need someone who can capitalize on that instead of being matched by a single guard. His pass rush moves weren't that and couldn't get passed many linemen. We could easily upgrade.

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2 minutes ago, jrry32 said:

He stepped up in the playoffs. Hopefully, he'll come back next year and play more like he did in 2017.

I think alot of the defense was influenced by Suh this year. It was never going to infiltrate Donalds game (he just wouldnt let it happen) but ALOT of the defense seemed to take the second half of the season off (if not the whole season) and then decided to have alittle preseason weeks 16-17 and then turn it on in the playoffs

One of the reasons Im ok if Suh moves on 

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1 minute ago, StLunatic88 said:

I think this is a very smart and realistic offseason. Good work. I wouldnt be shocked to see the free agency period work out exactly like that. 

I am still a believer in Micah Kiser, and i think he is the perfect Downhill LB that we need as a 2 down guy. I see exactly what you are getting at with Devin Bush, but I think he is the upgrade on Littleton, not the complimentary piece. Bush is the guy you would want as the 3 down backer to run the defense, so if you are grabbing him, we are signalling that we are letting Littleton walk next year. 

Not a bad thing at all, just calling that out.

 

I like Rypien pick, who else is on your list of QB prospects to look at?

The QBs on my list right now are Will Grier, Jordan Ta'amu, Ryan Finley, Clayton Thorson, Jarrett Stidham, Kyle Shurmur, Easton Stick, and Tyree Jackson. I'll probably look at a handful of the late-round/UFA guys too just to see if anyone pops. Thus far, Tyree Jackson is out. I am on the fence with Ta'amu. I love the physical talent and ball placement, but I have concerns about him in the pocket and how he sees the field. With Rypien, I really like him as a Day 3 option because of how well he sees the field, moves through progressions, and throws with anticipation. I don't see myself liking Stidham unless his film is unreal because I've heard that his teammates don't like him (arrogant guy who cares more about his own success than the team's success).

Just now, BStanRamFan said:

If McVay's water boys are getting HC jobs there no reason his back up WR won't garner similar attention. And honestly, Reynolds is worth taking a chance on for a 3rd rounder.

All the chips were in last year because of the window of Goff's rookie deal. If we approach this season in a similar manner and do no extend Goff until his 5th year then we can pay Fowler a 1 year tag price and I think it's worth using to find out if he is worth handing a long term deal to. I think we will continue to hand out 1yr deals to many vets looking to win a superbowl. Players that come to mind are Earl Thomas, Tyrann Mathieu, Mo Wilkerson.

Teams are stingy with picks, and I'm not sure McVay will want to jettison a young player for DeSean. I also don't trust DeSean to come here on the cheap or to behave himself. I'd rather hold onto Reynolds for now because I don't see us getting enough compensation for him to be worth it.

As for Fowler, I've evaluated our cap situation. If we tag him, it's going to hinder our ability to sign other free agents. Yes, we can move money around, but there's a limit to that. Paying Fowler Jr. $14+ million this year (I'd have to look up the exact figure) is not something I see us doing.

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1 minute ago, LARams91 said:

He faced single blockers all year and was largely unseen. We need someone who can capitalize on that instead of being matched by a single guard. His pass rush moves weren't that and couldn't get passed many linemen. We could easily upgrade.

I think you are a bit confused on who Brockers is, he is not a pass rusher. His "Big" sack season of 4.5 last year was mostly clean up of what QBs were doing to avoid Donald. Thats what his game is. And going 1-on-1 isnt making him any better of a player. He is a long strong space eater, he is most effective in run defense, and not allowing the rest of the pocket disappear when Donald is pushing up the middle. 

Brockers needs to be able to occupy and dominate multiple interior lineman to be most effective, because he is most useful setting up others for success. He isnt flashy, and knows what he is great at. Thats what he got paid to do, and the opportunity of Suh made everyone shift some, and the results (along the line) didnt bear out like we hoped they would. Still VERY good, just not all time like some were hoping.

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