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Jrry32 First Mock Off-Season of 2020 (1/5/20)

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Well, the season is officially over. I almost have put a mock out a couple times, but I have changed my mind on it a few times. As always, I'm not trying to guess what the Rams will do. That would be futile. Based on my knowledge of our schemes, tendencies, and philosophy, I'm going to say what I'd do if I were in the Rams' shoes.

Coaching

Replace DC Wade Phillips (retirement) with DC Jim Leonhard

This one might be a little bit out of left field, but I think it makes sense if Leonhard is willing to leave Wisconsin. Leonhard spent a decade in the NFL as an undersized safety who played with a high football IQ and a lot of effort. Since retiring, he's learned under Dave Aranda and Justin Wilcox (two of the best defensive minds in CFB) as an assistant. He's been Wisconsin's DC for the past three years after Wilcox took the HC job at Cal. He's produced strong results. Leonhard runs an aggressive 3-4 scheme that brings a lot of pressure from all angles. Wade might even be willing to stay on as a defensive consultant to work with Leonhard (who, like McVay, is a pretty young coach).

Cut

S Eric Weddle

I wish I could cut him more than once. I'm so fed up with his performance.

Re-sign

K Greg Zuerlein

OT Andrew Whitworth

OLB Dante Fowler Jr. (Franchise Tag)

DL Michael Brockers

DL Morgan Fox

All Practice Squad Players

All ERFAs

Yes, we're letting Littleton walk. I don't take pleasure in that, but we have to make hard decisions. Littleton's price tag is too high for me. He's a good but not elite ILB. We bring back Brockers on a relatively cheap, short-term deal. He's still a solid starting DL. Whitworth has announced that he wants to return. It makes logical sense to bring him back. It'll give Noteboom additional time to recover from his injury. We franchise Fowler with the plan to extend him. (I've gone back and forth on this one. Originally, I had us franchising Fowler and trading him to the Dolphins for a late second and a future fifth, but I think he's worth keeping around. He has really impressed me over the second half of the year.)

Trades

Rams trade CB Nickell Robey-Coleman and Round 7 Pick #20

Bengals trade Round 6 Pick #1

The Bengals' slot CB, Darqueze Dennard, is a FA. NRC is still a quality slot CB who fits Cincy's scheme. With Ramsey, Hill, Long, and Darious Williams, we have enough depth and talent at CB to trade NRC and save a few bucks on his salary.

Rams trade WR Robert Woods

Raiders trade Round 3 Pick #14 and 2021 4th Round Pick

If we make Woods available, I guarantee you that Gruden will call. He's the exact sort of WR that Oakland needs and the exact sort of WR that Gruden has loved throughout his career. Oakland has three third round picks. This trade just makes perfect sense. With Higbee emerging and Reynolds and Everett flashing this year, I think Woods might be made available this off-season. I love Robert, but we have a lot of mouths to feed in the passing game and some holes that need to be filled elsewhere.

Rams trade Round 6 Pick #20

Chargers trade OL Forrest Lamp

Lamp was a favorite of mine from a few years ago who has barely seen the field due to injuries. We need to rescue him from the cursed Chargers. I thought the kid would be a star interior OL because he was a dominant college LT who lacked length. Coming out of college, he had very quick feet, elite grip strength, a strong core, and great hand usage. I think he can still be a player at OG or C if he ever stays healthy.

Rams trade Round 2 Pick #20, Round 3 Pick #14, and Round 4 Pick #20

Ravens trade Round 1 Pick #32 and Round 4 Pick #32

Snead is an aggressive man. I, too, am an aggressive man when I like a player. You'll understand why I made the deal when you see who is available here. Plus, trading up to pick #32 gets us that fifth year option.

Rams trade Round 3 Pick #41

Patriots trade Round 4 Pick #19, Round 6 Pick #16, and Round 6 Pick #33

Trader Les loves his 6th Round Picks.

Rams trade Round 4 Pick #32 and Round 6 Pick #1

Dolphins trade Round 5 Pick #7 and Round 5 Pick #16

We trade down on Day 3 because our target will still be available.

Free Agency

jatavis.jpg

Jatavis Brown ILB

I think Brown is an interesting reclamation project who fits Leonhard's scheme well. As a senior in college, Brown posted 11.5 sacks (among other gaudy numbers) as an ILB in a scheme that blitzed him a lot (by comparison, Leonhard's undersized ILB, Chris Orr, also has 11.5 sacks this year due to the pressure packages Leonhard uses). His speed, quickness, and contact balance made him very difficult to handle on A-Gap pressures. Brown had a good start to his career with the Chargers, but Gus Bradley was not a fan of his when he took over as DC. Brown saw his playing time drop, and due to that, he should be a bargain. He's undersized at 5'11" 220, but he has 4.4 wheels, can cover, and can be disruptive as a blitzer. I think he's worth a flier.

NFL Draft

Round 1 Pick #32 - Tyler Biadasz C/OG Wisconsin

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqP4rxCTQmc

Analysis: I've seen recent mocks with Biadasz dropping out of the first round. He's all over the map in terms of projections (I've seen mid first down to the early third). It seems that Creed Humphrey from OU has passed him as the top C prospect and there's a ton of talent at the OT position in this draft. That all said, if Biadasz drops to pick #32, I'm going to get him. People are overthinking it on this kid. Yeah, he's not an elite athlete, but he just consistently wins. He's a country strong technician of an interior OL who wins with power, angles, footwork, instincts, etc. I can't point to a weakness in his game. His length and athleticism are both not elite, but they're also not true weaknesses. He's a plug and play starter at OG or C.

Round 3 Pick #20 - Evan Weaver ILB California

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8_v-8buMgk

Analysis: Weaver is a tackling machine who led the NCAA with 181 tackles in 13 games this year (he posted 155 tackles last year). He's been compared to James Laurinaitis, and I think it's a fair comparison. Weaver possesses tremendous instincts and smarts. He's rarely fooled or out of position. He's a big LB who is effective at playing through and beating blocks. He's also an adept zone coverage defender and blitzer. His weaknesses are that he's an average athlete who produces by being a step ahead of everybody else mentally and his man coverage skills. He could hold his own with most TEs, but athletic TEs and quick HBs will give him fits in man coverage. How he runs at the Combine will determine a lot with regard to his stock. I think he's very similar to James Laurinaitis.

Round 4 Pick #19 - Quintez Cephus WR Wisconsin

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIxO_vP6xG4

Analysis: Cephus is a WR who fits perfectly into what we do on offense. He's quick with enough speed to get vertical, sure-handed, and blocks well. He can play in the slot and outside. He shows a good release against press coverage, runs routes well, and fights for yards after the catch. While he's not dominant in any one thing, he does everything well. 

Round 5 Pick #7 - Ke'Shawn Vaughn HB Vanderbilt

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWO7eF7vJtw

Analysis: Vaughn is an explosive runner who was basically Vanderbilt's entire offense this year. He is also a willing blocker who has the hands and quickness to contribute in the passing game. I did notice a tendency to bounce runs and him missing some cutback lanes this year, but I think that's at least partially due to how bad his blocking was. Vaughn is a very underrated HB.

Round 5 Pick #16 - Levonta Taylor CB Florida State

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hp6n2VoHJyc

Analysis: Taylor is an interesting CB because of how natural his man coverage skills are. He has quick feet, fluid hips, and adequate speed. The problem for Taylor is that he's small. He's listed at 5'10", and I think he's at least an inch shorter. Bigger WRs give him problems with their length and physicality. But he has the quickness to be an effective slot CB. My one concern there is that he is a pile-watcher who only tackles when he is forced.

Round 6 Pick #16 - Shyheim Carter S Alabama

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lnRvblaVNw

Analysis: Carter is interesting because he's kind of a hybrid CB/S. I like him to fill the Marqui Christian role. Carter's problem is that he's not big and physical enough to be a box safety, fast enough to be an outside CB, or loose enough in the hips to handle quick slot WRs. But he's a textbook tackler who covers longer WRs and athletic TEs well out of the slot. I think he'd fit well here as a nickel safety against teams who use a flex TE or big slot WRs.

Round 6 Pick #33 - Tyler Huntley QB Utah

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDRPvOscVLE

Analysis: Good athlete with a NFL caliber arm who played quite well in a scheme with a lot of pro style components. Has had some injury issues in college and is a bit undersized, but he makes sound decisions, takes care of the ball, and possesses good accuracy. I think he'd be a great developmental backup behind Goff. Athleticism adds a new dimension, he doesn't throw many INTs, and he thrived in college in a play-action heavy scheme.

Projected Starters

QB: Jared Goff

HB: Todd Gurley

WR: Brandin Cooks

WR: Cooper Kupp

TE: Tyler Higbee

TE: Gerald Everett

LT: Andrew Whitworth

LG: Tyler Biadasz or Competition

C: Tyler Biadasz or Competition

RG: David Edwards

RT: Rob Havenstein

SDE: Michael Brockers

NT: Greg Gaines

UT: Aaron Donald

OLB: Clay Matthews

ILB: Competition

ILB: Evan Weaver

OLB: Dante Fowler Jr.

LCB: Jalen Ramsey

RCB: Troy Hill

SLCB: David Long Jr.

FS: John Johnson III

SS: Taylor Rapp

K: Greg Zuerlein

P: Johnny Hekker

LS: Jake McQuaide

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Really like the draft but  hate trades. 

 Why would we trade NRC who is one of the better slot CBs and only costs us 4 million 

And why on earth would we trade Woods who is our best all around WR? 

I’d rather trade Cooks and lose money than trade Woods 

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3 hours ago, rocky_rams said:

Really like the draft but  hate trades. 

 Why would we trade NRC who is one of the better slot CBs and only costs us 4 million 

And why on earth would we trade Woods who is our best all around WR? 

I’d rather trade Cooks and lose money than trade Woods 

We trade NRC because we have four quality CBs without him. Why not save the $4 million when David Long Jr. or Darious Williams is ready to see more PT?

Why would we trade Woods? Because we save money, we aren't going to be able to keep Woods past 2021, he's our best trade asset at WR outside of Kupp, and this is the time to do it. Higbee's breakout, Reynolds' improvement, and the strength of this draft at WR makes this a good time to flip Woods for compensation.

And, respectfully, I don't care if you'd rather trade Cooks. By trading Woods, we save roughly $6.8 million in 2020 and add a 3rd in 2020 and a 4th in 2021. If we trade Cooks, we lose $1 million in cap space in 2020 and get next to nothing in return. You don't sell low. You sell high. This is the time to sell high on Woods. Cooks will have far more trade value if he puts together a good year in 2020 and avoids concussions. Trading him now would be one of the worst moves possible. It's a desperation move that a bad team makes.

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Posted (edited)

I like it all besides the Woods trade. If it's about money then let Fowler walk or tag and trade him. He's way more valuable to our offense than 2 mid round picks. 

Edited by LeotheLion

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I never know an idea what to look for in offensive line scouting. How would Biadasz compare to Travis Frederick coming out? 

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10 hours ago, jrry32 said:

We trade NRC because we have four quality CBs without him. Why not save the $4 million when David Long Jr. or Darious Williams is ready to see more PT?

Why would we trade Woods? Because we save money, we aren't going to be able to keep Woods past 2021, he's our best trade asset at WR outside of Kupp, and this is the time to do it. Higbee's breakout, Reynolds' improvement, and the strength of this draft at WR makes this a good time to flip Woods for compensation.

And, respectfully, I don't care if you'd rather trade Cooks. By trading Woods, we save roughly $6.8 million in 2020 and add a 3rd in 2020 and a 4th in 2021. If we trade Cooks, we lose $1 million in cap space in 2020 and get next to nothing in return. You don't sell low. You sell high. This is the time to sell high on Woods. Cooks will have far more trade value if he puts together a good year in 2020 and avoids concussions. Trading him now would be one of the worst moves possible. It's a desperation move that a bad team makes.

While I see your point. I’d rather not trade NRC or Woods.

We are still in a super bowl window. 

We need veteran depth at CB behind Ramsey and Hill. Our safeties are still young. If Hill or Ramsey get injured again then the young guys can step up. Look what happened when we lost veteran o linemen 

Woods is a complete receiver. His value on the field is worth more than the 6.8 million we are going to save. 

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6 hours ago, LeotheLion said:

I like it all besides the Woods trade. If it's about money then let Fowler walk or tag and trade him. He's way more valuable to our offense than 2 mid round picks. 

Is he, though? With the way we were rotating our WRs at the end of the year, less Woods just means more Kupp. I don't think it would be a massive loss. That's not a shot at Woods' skills but rather a testament to our depth.

1 hour ago, LeotheLion said:

I never know an idea what to look for in offensive line scouting. How would Biadasz compare to Travis Frederick coming out? 

I don't know. Don't know if I even scouted Frederick back then.

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1 minute ago, rocky_rams said:

While I see your point. I’d rather not trade NRC or Woods.

We are still in a super bowl window. 

We need veteran depth at CB behind Ramsey and Hill. Our safeties are still young. If Hill or Ramsey get injured again then the young guys can step up. Look what happened when we lost veteran o linemen 

Woods is a complete receiver. His value on the field is worth more than the 6.8 million we are going to save. 

NRC is gone after 2020. Woods is gone after 2021. We already have in-house replacements. Why would we not cash out our chips now? This is a business. You can't get attached to players. We have veteran depth at CB. We have depth at WR. This is a strong WR draft. This is the time to make a move.

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, jrry32 said:

Is he, though? With the way we were rotating our WRs at the end of the year, less Woods just means more Kupp. I don't think it would be a massive loss. That's not a shot at Woods' skills but rather a testament to our depth.

I think he is but I see your point of taking advantage of the surplus at WR to gain assets. I just personally wouldn't do it. I also don't think it's a foregone conclusion we will move on from Woods when his deal ends. We can keep 2 of our current trio and I think eventually we will choose Kupp and Woods. 

I'd float Reynolds as a trade piece if anything. Could see at least him fetching a 5th/6th. 

Edited by LeotheLion

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4 minutes ago, LeotheLion said:

I think he is but I see your point of taking advantage of the surplus at WR to gain assets. I just personally wouldn't do it. I also don't think it's a foregone conclusion we will move on from Woods when his deal ends. We can keep 2 of our current trio and I think eventually we will choose Kupp and Woods. 

I'd float Reynolds as a trade piece if anything. Could see at least him fetching a 5th/6th. 

That doesn't help us much. He's on a rookie contract. 

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3 minutes ago, jrry32 said:

That doesn't help us much. He's on a rookie contract. 

It gives up the pick. For me if it's about dollars then I'm just not keeping Fowler. 

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3 minutes ago, LeotheLion said:

It gives up the pick. For me if it's about dollars then I'm just not keeping Fowler. 

Pass rush is very important. Fowler is only 25 years old and really came into his own this year. It's not just about money, though. It's about a lot of things: replaceability, cap savings, compensation, our ability to develop a replacement, players available in FA and the Draft, etc. That all points in the direction of trading Woods imo.

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Your first mock was very conservative and this went in the complete opposite direction lol

While I like that you're thinking longer term on the Woods move, I'd rather capitalize on our window with him in the next 2 years and let him walk in 2021 for nothing.

I like Cephus even though I hate the Woods trade. I like the other trades and love the resurrection of Lamp.

Love the Fowler re-signing. Understand on Littleton being let go. 

With Evan Engram and OJ Howard considered "on the block" I'd be curious if any team would be willing to swap Everett for either one and maybe a sweetner from our end given their higher draft status. All on rookie deals. Just a change of scenery scenario. 

BTW, check out Nevada WR Elijah Cooks. Popped off the screen to me the other day vs Ohio. Would be a great 5th-7th round draft pick and replacement for Michael Thomas. 

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57 minutes ago, BStanRamFan said:

BTW, check out Nevada WR Elijah Cooks. Popped off the screen to me the other day vs Ohio. Would be a great 5th-7th round draft pick and replacement for Michael Thomas. 

Will do. Thanks for pointing him out.

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