Each Rams pick analyzed: After trades, depth is draft goal

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After a wildly active and impressive early offseason in which the Los Angeles Rams used a flurry of trades and free agency signings to add cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and wide receiver Brandin Cooks to dramatically improve their already loaded roster, they enjoyed a quiet first two days of the NFL Draft.

That's because Cooks cost them their first-round pick this year - 23rd overall - and the trade for wide receiver Sammy Watkins last year came at the expense of their second-round pick this year.

Not that they minded whatsoever.

"When you take all things into consideration, what we were able to acquire for what we were giving up, we felt very strong about it," Rams head coach Sean McVay said. "We feel really good about Brandin Cooks. If you told me we would get a player like that at (No.) 23, I'd be throwing a pool party and I don't even have a pool."

Nevertheless, it meant the Rams didn't make their first pick until No. 89 overall - after yet another trade during the third round - which they used to add Texas Christian tackle Joseph Noteboom.

The 6-foot-5, 300-pounder is not expected to earn a starting job as a rookie - and if all things go well health wise ideally he won't see the field much at all - but the Rams definitely view him as a viable swing lineman who can step in early and contribute if needed and potentially be a long-range starter option.

"That's a spot where you want to be able to have depth," McVay said. "Unfortunately, we know that injuries and things come up, and when you have guys who had that type of range, that type of length and athleticism, to be able to play left and right, that's very valuable for us."

The Rams are set at both tackle spots with Andrew Whitworth on the left side and Rob Havenstein on the right - but Whitworth just turned 36 in December and Havenstein is in the last year of his rookie deal.

Noteboom could be an eventual replacement for one or the other.

But for now, he will be a developmental player working under the watchful eye of Whitworth, Havenstein and Rams offensive line coach Aaron Kromer.

"Joe is a lucky man," Rams general manager Les Snead said. "I don't think any offensive tackle will be in a better situation. That's Andrew, that's Coach 'Krome,' that's Rob Havenstein, that's all of our guys. It's a perfect situation for him to come in and learn from one of the best."

A closer look at the Rams' picks:

Round 3/89 -- Joseph Noteboom, T, 6-5, 305, Texas Christian

The Rams got lucky last year staying healthy on the offensive line, but they absolutely understand they need more depth. Noteboom fits that bill as a versatile, athletic tackle they believe can contribute early as a fill-in. Long range, he immediately becomes a candidate to be the eventual starter at either right or left tackle.

Round 4/111 -- Brian Allen, C, 6-1, 298, Michigan State

With the first of their two fourth-round picks, the Rams circled back to offensive line to select Allen, a tough, hard-nosed fighter whose tenacity makes up for below average athletic ability. Allen will learn under veteran center John Sullivan and could be a candidate to replace him in the future.

Round 4/135 --John Franklin-Myers, DE/LB, 6-4, 283 Stephen F. Austin

The Rams have a need at outside linebacker in Wade Phillips' 3-4 defense, and Franklin-Myers certainly profiles best at that position although he might land at defensive end as well. A three-year starter, the explosive small-school standout has shown a penchant for making plays behind the line of scrimmage, including the 13.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks he registered last year. Seems like a perfect development candidate under Phillips.

Round 5/147 -- Micah Kiser, ILB 6-0, 238, Virginia

After trading Alec Ogletree to the New York Giants, the Rams had to fill his spot at inside linebacker and Kiser, a smart, productive thumper immediately jumps into the mix. A third-team All-America and first-team All-ACC pick, Kiser finished with 145 tackles, including 9.5 for loss and five sacks. A smart, instinctive player whose anticipation and awareness makes up for a lack of ideal athletic ability.

Round 5/160 -- Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, OLB, 6-1, 242, Oklahoma

The Rams traded up to the fifth round to steal the Sooners' still developing edge rusher, who should benefit playing under Wade Phillips while bringing an instant burst in the pass rush. Okoronkwo amassed 17 sacks and 29 tackles for loss over his last two seasons, flashing a real ability to make plays behind the line of scrimmage.

Round 6/176 -- John Kelly, RB, 5-10, 216, Tennessee

Although Todd Gurley II proved last year he is a true three-down running back capable of being a factor in the pass game, the Rams can use a change-of-pace option and Kelly brings that sort of skill set. A bit undersized, he nevertheless runs with passion and toughness and can catch the ball out of the backfield.

Round 6-192, -- Jamil Demby, G, 6-5, 319, Maine

A four-year starter at tackle, Demby projects inside at guard in the NFL and has ideal size and just enough athletic ability to pull it off long range. The Rams value intelligence along the offensive line, and Demby brings that having earned his degree in kinesiology at Maine. Demby doesn't have to play immediately, but he has projectable attributes to be a future swing rotation player.

Round 6/195 -- Sebastian Joseph, DT, 6-4, 305, Rutgers

A three-year starter with toughness and suddenness in the run game, Joseph has a chance to earn a spot in the defensive line rotation. His non-stop motor will serve him well as he transitions to the next level.

Round 6/205 -- Trevon Young, OLB, 6-4, 285, Louisville

The Rams loaded up again at outside linebacker as they try to play the numbers game on filling their need for pass-rush pressure off the edge. Young battled injuries during his career at Louisville, but finished strong in 2017 by starting 11 of 12 games and finishing with 62 tackles, including 12 for loss, and 4.5 sacks and five pass breakups.

Round 7/231 -- Travin Howard, LB, 6-1, 213, Texas Christian

A highly productive player, Howard is the first player in TCU history to lead the school in tackles three straight years. From the outset, he will be a strong special teams candidate.

Round 7/244 -- Justin Lawler, DE, 6-4, 265, Southern Methodist

The Rams continued to load up on pass rushers with the addition of Lawler. An instinctive player with a nose for the ball, he wrapped up his four-year career at SMU by registering 9.5 sacks in 2017.


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