Updated March 2, 2018
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.
What a difference a year makes for the Los Angeles Rams. At the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine, the Rams were without a first-round pick having had a rough season with a scary beginning for rookie franchise quarterback Jared Goff. A year later saw Goff have a Pro Bowl season as new head coach Sean McVay worked magic with the Rams offense. After winning the NFC West, Los Angeles has its sights set on improving its talent to go deeper into the postseason. According to Rams sources, they have positions on both sides of the ball that they would like to improve in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Defensively, the Rams have a few areas of need even after acquiring talented cornerback Marcus Peters from the Chiefs. Los Angeles could use another corner to pair with Peters as the Peters addition is basically a replacement for cornerback Trumaine Johnson, who is expected to leave in free agency. Cornerback is in play for the Rams first-round pick. They also would consider adding an edge rusher to replace Robert Quinn, who was just dealt to the Dolphins. The Rams already needed a starter across from Quinn, so defensive end is now an even greater hole.
The Rams also will consider using early picks on the offense. Center could be the top offensive need. Los Angeles got a good season out of John Sullivan last year, but he is entering free agency and turns 33 before the 2018 season. Los Angeles also would consider drafting an offensive tackle in the first round as starting left tackle Andrew Whitworth will turn 37 next December. However, there is unlikely to be a tackle available worthy of the Rams' first-round pick.
The other need on offense that Los Angeles would like to address is a running back to go behind Todd Gurley. The Rams want to protect Gurley and have another back who can be productive if they need to cut down Gurley's workload. They would want more of a fast, slashing back with receiving skills to contribute in the third down passing game. That kind of back could be a mid-round target for Los Angeles.
Signing superstar defensive tackle Aaron Donald to a long-term contract is a priority for Los Angeles. With wanting to sign Lamarcus Joyner, and keeping an eye on the future contract extensions for Gurley and Goff, the Rams may not throw a lot of money around in free agency this year, so nailing the draft will be crucial for them to take the next step.