2022 NFL Offseason: Los Angeles Rams

Los Angeles Rams (Last Year: 12-5)

2022 NFL Season Preview:

Veteran Additions:
WR Allen Robinson, LB Bobby Wagner, CB Troy Hill.
Early Draft Picks:
G Logan Bruss, CB Cobie Durant, RB Kyren Williams. Rams Rookie Forecast
Offseason Losses:
RB Sony Michel, WR Odell Beckham Jr., WR Robert Woods, OT Andrew Whitworth, G Austin Corbett, DT Sebastian Joseph-Day, DE/OLB Von Miller, DE/OLB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, CB Darious Williams, CB Dont’e Deayon, P Johnny Hekker.

2022 Los Angeles Rams Offense:
Jared Goff had always held the Rams back, and the team finally admitted it. In a shocking move last offseason, the Rams traded Goff and draft capital to the Lions for Matthew Stafford. The long-time Lion proved be a huge upgrade over the quarterback who once forgot his own snap count in the Super Bowl. Goff posted pretty numbers during his tenure in Los Angeles, but only because of Sean McVay’s great scheming. McVay was able to get the most out of Stafford, who led the Rams to their first Super Bowl victory since Kurt Warner did so with the Greatest Show on Turf.

Stafford was able to utilize his weapons very effectively. In fact, it can now be argued that Cooper Kupp is the best receiver in the NFL. He caught a ridiculous 145 passes for 1,947 yards and 16 touchdowns last year. The touchdowns are bound to regress a bit, but Kupp will remain a dynamic weapon for the Rams. Stafford’s other receivers from last year are gone besides Van Jefferson, however. Robert Woods was traded, while Odell Beckham Jr. remains unsigned in the wake of his torn ACL. The Rams may not need Beckham back because they signed Allen Robinson. The former Jaguar and Bear has never played with a quality quarterback in his career – with apologies to Nick Foles truthers – so he may have his best season yet, assuming he can get over what bothered him during his atrocious 2021 campaign. Meanwhile, Jefferson should continue to improve after a strong sophomore year.

The Rams also lost two key players on the offensive line. Future Hall of Famer Andrew Whitworth announced his retirement, while talented guard Austin Corbett left via free agency. It’ll be difficult to replace Whitworth, but the Rams will try to do so with Joe Noteboom, who performed well in relief of an injured Whitworth in the playoffs last season. This was a small sample size, however, so it remains to be seen how well Noteboom will fare. As for Corbett’s replacement, the Rams spent yet another draft choice on a Wisconsin blocker, picking up Logan Bruss in the third round.

As for the rest of the front line, two other starters (David Edwards, Rob Havenstein) were also from Wisconsin. Edwards is a quality player, while Havenstein is one of the better right tackles in the NFL. Last but not least, Brian Allen, also from the Big Ten (Michigan State), enjoyed a quality 2021 campaign and was rewarded with a 3-year, $24 million contract.

While the Rams lost some receivers and linemen, they’ll at least have a reinforcement in the backfield. That would be Cam Akers, who played just a single regular-season game last year. He took the field in the playoffs, but wasn’t quite himself because he was still recovering from a torn Achilles. Now further removed from that injury, Akers should revert to the dynamic back who dashed through opposing defenses as a rookie the prior year.

2022 Los Angeles Rams Defense:
It could be argued whether the Rams’ most significant departure is Andrew Whitworth or Von Miller. There was at least a plan to replace Whitworth with Joe Noteboom, but it’s unclear how the Rams will duplicate Miller’s production. Miller brought heavy heat off the edge while Aaron Donald dominated the interior. It made the Rams impenetrable at times, but that won’t be the case in 2022 because of the depleted edge pressure. The Rams still have Leonard Floyd, who produced 9.5 sacks last year, but that’s about it. Justin Hollins is the favorite to start opposite Floyd, but he barely played last year.

Donald will be back after some retirement speculation, but the same can’t be said of Sebastian Joseph-Day, who was stellar for the Rams’ defensive line when healthy. His departure will likely give more snaps to A’Shawn Robinson, who is a stout run stuffer, but doesn’t offer anything in regard to rushing the passer. Greg Gaines, entering his fourth year, will be the third starter on the defensive line. He logged 4.5 sacks in 2021.

While the Rams said goodbye to Miller and Joseph-Day, they at least welcomed a talented member to the front seven. That would be Bobby Wagner, who was once one of the top linebackers in the NFL. Wagner’s best days are behind him, now that he’s 32, but he’s still an upgrade over what the Rams had at the position. Linebacker has always been a position of weakness for Los Angeles, but that’s certainly not the case anymore. Wagner figures to start next to Ernest Jones, a linebacker who covers well but gets trampled in run support.

Another new member to the Rams’ defense is an old face. That would be Troy Hill, who played for the team prior to 2021. He signed with the Browns last offseason, but the Rams traded for him this spring. He’ll reprise his role in the slot, while Jalen Ramsey and David Long play outside. Ramsey is one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL, while Long’s role will be elevated with Darious Williams gone.

The two safeties will return, as Jordan Fuller and Taylor Rapp will be the starters once more. Fuller, one of the more talented, young safeties in the NFL, suffered an ankle injury in the regular-season finale last year. He was almost missed during the playoffs, but the Rams were able to overcome his absence and win the Super Bowl.

2022 Los Angeles Rams Schedule and Intangibles:
The Rams don’t have the best home-field advantage. They’re 28-14 as hosts since moving back to Los Angeles, but they’re 32-14 on the road during the same span. In a crumbling city comprised of heavy traffic, high taxes, countless homeless people, diseases from the 1800s, and insufferable celebrities who think they know what’s best for everyone else, there aren’t many people who care about professional football.

Greg Zuerlein was one of the best kickers in the NFL, but he’s no longer with the team after signing with Dallas. His replacement was Matt Gay, who hit 32-of-34 attempts in 2021, including 4-of-5 from 50-plus.

Johnny Hekker is no longer on the team, so the Rams will miss his fake punt passes. Riley Dixon will take his place. He was a below-average punter last year.

The Rams scored a return touchdown last year, and they didn’t surrender a score to the opposition.

Los Angeles’ schedule is difficult. The team will battle tough foes like the Bills, Buccaneers, Chiefs, Packers, Chargers, Broncos and Raiders this year.

2022 Los Angeles Rams Rookies:
Go here for the Rams Rookie Forecast, a page with predictions like which rookie will bust and which rookie will become a solid starter.

2022 Los Angeles Rams Positional Rankings (1-5 stars):
Offensive Line
Running Backs
Defensive Line
Special Teams

2022 Los Angeles Rams Analysis: The Jared Goff trade finally unshackled the Rams from pedestrian quarterback play. Matthew Stafford won the Super Bowl in his first year with Los Angeles, but it’ll be difficult for the team to repeat. It’s certainly possible, but the Rams will have to overcome the departures of several key players, including two future Hall of Famers, as well as an extremely difficult schedule.

Projection: 11-6 (Tied 1st in NFC West)

2021 Projection: 12-5. 2021 Actual Result: 12-5.
2020 Projection: 5-11. 2020 Actual Result: 10-6.
2019 Projection: 9-7. 2019 Actual Result: 9-7.
2018 Projection: 9-7. 2018 Actual Result: 13-3.
2017 Projection: 3-13. 2017 Actual Result: 11-5.
2016 Projection: 3-13. 2016 Actual Result: 4-12.

NFL Draft Team Grade: C+ Grade

Goals Entering the 2022 NFL Draft: The Rams don’t have any picks in the top 100, but they own eight choices the rest of the way. Perhaps they’ll be able to package some of these selections to move up in order to draft someone who can make an impact in 2022, which will be crucial because the Rams’ Super Bowl window won’t be open very long.

2022 NFL Draft Accomplishments: Los Angeles never traded up, though it’s unclear if it tried to do so. Instead, the team stood pat at No. 104 and picked Logan Bruss, a talented lineman who can play tackle or guard.

Meanwhile, the only other two picks the Rams had in the top 200 were used on cornerback Cobie Durant and running back Kyren Williams. I didn’t really get either selection. Durant was a reach in the fourth round, while Williams doesn’t address any sort of need. The Rams should have tried to fix their edge rush or linebacking corps instead.

Aside from Bruss and two sixth-round picks, every grade I gave the Rams was between a “B” and a “C.” It was a fairly mediocre draft for the Rams, though that was expected with no capital in the top 100.

NFL Draft Individual Grades:

104. Logan Bruss, G/OT, Wisconsin – B+ Grade
The Rams need to keep Matthew Stafford upright, especially now that he’s entering his mid-30s. Logan Bruss can help make that happen. He played tackle at Wisconsin, but will likely have to move to guard in the NFL. That’s fine, as Bruss should be able to find his way into the starting lineup at some point.

142. Cobie Durant, CB, South Carolina State – C Grade
The Rams are reaching here, as Cobie Durant never entered any of my mock drafts. I considered him in the seventh round, but he never made the cut. I get the Rams picking a cornerback though, as they have a thin secondary that had to be addressed.

164. Kyren Williams, RB, Notre Dame – B- Grade
I don’t know why the Rams traded up for a running back, but at least there’s some value with this pick. Kyren Williams struggled at the combine, but he figures to be a solid receiver out of the backfield in the NFL.

211. Quentin Lake, S, UCLA – B Grade
It makes sense that the Rams would strengthen their safety depth after what happened in the playoffs. They’re doing so with Quentin Lake, whom I believe should be chosen around this range.

212. Derion Kendrick, CB, Georgia – A Grade
Derion Kendrick is a talented cornerback, but he has character concerns that caused him to slip. I like the Rams taking a chance on him this late in the draft. Why not? There’s barely any risk, and Kendrick could become a good player who fills a need.

235. Daniel Hardy, DE, Montana State – A Grade
I love this value for the Rams. I had Daniel Hardy pegged as a fifth-round prospect, as he was a highly productive player at Montana State. The Rams needed a replacement for Von Miller, so perhaps Hardy can contribute at some point.

253. Russ Yeast, S, Louisville – B Grade
Russ Yeast may have been chosen earlier in the 2022 NFL Draft if he didn’t have a knee concern, but he’s worth a shot toward the seventh round.

261. A.J. Arcuri, OT/G, Michigan State – B- Grade
I didn’t think A.J. Arcuri was a draftable prospect. He started at tackle at Michigan State, but may have to move to guard because of his expected issues with pass rushers. I don’t know if he has the strength to do that.

Follow @walterfootball for updates.

Season Summary:
The Rams were already all in for this season, and that became even more evident when they acquired Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr. during the season. Miller and Beckham helped get the Rams over the top in the playoffs, resulting in a Super Bowl appearance.

Offseason Moves:
  • Rams sign LB Bobby Wagner
  • Titans acquire WR Robert Woods from Rams for draft pick
  • Rams sign WR Allen Robinson
  • Rams announce retirement of OT Andrew Whitworth

    Team Needs:
    1. Linebacker: Los Angeles is at its weakest at linebacker. The team needs to get better at defending the middle of the field if they want to beat the Texans. Signed Bobby Wagner

    2. Cornerback: A new cornerback should be obtained, given the quarterback talent in the NFC West.

    3. Edge Rusher: The Rams traded for Von Miller. They’ll have to re-sign him before they lose him.

    4. Two Interior Offensive Linemen: Both Brian Allen and Austin Corbett will see their contracts expire in March. They’ll need to be retained or replaced. Re-signed Brian Allen

    5. Wide Receiver: Odell Beckham Jr. is also an impending free agent, while Robert Woods is coming off a torn ACL. Signed Allen Robinson

    6. Punter: The Rams cut Johnny Hekker, so he’ll need to be replaced. Signed Riley Dixon

      Follow me @walterfootball for updates.

    2022 NFL Free Agent Signings:
    1. Bobby Wagner, LB, Seahawks. Age: 32.
      Signed with Rams (5 years, $50 million)

      Bobby Wagner may have lost a step at the age of 32 (as of June), but he’s still one of the better linebackers in the NFL. He was released because he counted nearly $17 million against the cap for 2022.

    2. Allen Robinson, WR, Bears. Age: 29.
      Signed with Rams (3 years, $46.5 million)

      What happened to Allen Robinson last year? He looked like a shell of his former self, yet he’s not even 30 yet. There’s a good chance Robinson will rebound in 2022.

    3. Riley Dixon, P, Giants. Age: 29.
      Signed with Rams

      Riley Dixon was once a great punter, but has struggled of late. Perhaps he can rebound with a better coaching staff.

    Los Angeles Rams Free Agents:

    Salary Cap: TBA.
    1. Von Miller, DE/OLB, Rams. Age: 33.
      Signed with Bills (6 years, $120 million)

      Von Miller is still one of the elite edge rushers in the NFL, despite his age. He turns 33 this offseason, however, so there’s a chance for regression in the near future.

    2. Brian Allen, C, Rams. Age: 26.
      Re-signed with Rams (3 years, $24 million)

      Brian Allen has made the most of his career, considering he was chosen in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Allen is a terrific center, especially when it comes to run blocking.

    3. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Rams. Age: 29.
      Odell Beckham Jr. is obviously a talented receiver, but there’s way more to it than that. Beckham frequently causes disruptions in the locker room, and he’ll turn 30 just prior to Thanksgiving, so there could be regression soon.

    4. Austin Corbett, G, Rams. Age: 26.
      Signed with Panthers

      Austin Corbett was chosen by the Browns atop the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He struggled in Cleveland, but has made some huge improvements with the Rams.

    5. Sony Michel, RB, Rams. Age: 27.
      Signed with Dolphins

      Sony Michel finally met first-round expectations last year, usurping the job from Darrell Henderson before Cam Akers returned. Michel dashed for 845 yards and caught 21 passes.

    6. Johnny Hekker, P, Rams. Age: 32.
      Signed with Panthers (3 years)

      Master of the fake punt, Johnny Hekker is pretty mediocre when it comes to net punting average.

    7. Darious Williams, CB, Rams. Age: 29.
      Signed with Jaguars (3 years, $30 million)

      Darious Williams is coming off a bit of a down year, but was still effective as a starting cornerback for the Rams.

    8. Sebastian Joseph-Day, DE/DT, Rams. Age: 27.
      Signed with Chargers (3 years, $24 million)

      Sebastian Joseph-Day got off to a hot start in his 2021 campaign, logging three sacks in seven games, but missed the rest of the season with a torn pectoral.

    9. Joseph Noteboom, OT, Rams. Age: 27. — Re-signed with Rams
    10. Dont’e Deayon, CB, Rams. Age: 28.
    11. Ogbonnia Okokonkwo, DE/OLB, Rams. Age: 27. — Signed with Texans
    12. Johnny Mundt, TE, Rams. Age: 27. — Signed with Vikings
    13. Brandon Powell, WR, Rams. Age: 26. Re-signed with Rams
    14. Troy Reeder, LB, Rams. Age: 27. — Signed with Chargers

    NFL Free Agent Tracker:
    QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K/P | FA Grades | FA Rumors

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