2024 NFL Season Preview: Los Angeles Rams

Matthew Stafford

Los Angeles Rams (Last Year: 10-7)

Season Summary:
The Rams were one of the hottest teams down the stretch, posting a 7-1 record in their final eight games once many of their top players returned from injury. They lost right away in the playoffs, but nearly took out the Lions in the opening round.

2024 NFL Season Preview:

Veteran Additions:
TE Colby Parkinson, G Jonah Jackson, CB Tre’Davious White, CB Darious Williams, S Kamren Curl.
Early Draft Picks:
DE Jared Verse, DT Braden Fiske, RB Blake Corum, S Kamren Kinchens, DE Brennan Jackson. Rams Rookie Forecast
Offseason Losses:
QB Carson Wentz, C Brian Allen, DT Aaron Donald, DT Larrell Murchison, LB Troy Reeder, CB Ahkello Witherspoon, CB Duke Shelley, S John Johnson.

2024 Los Angeles Rams Offense:
The Rams had been known as the Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp show for several years. Stafford continued to perform on a high level last year, while Kupp posted some big games when he returned from injury. However, two new stars emerged to ensure that the Rams would have one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL.

The first star was Puka Nacua. Despite being just a fifth-round rookie, Nacua out-produced Kupp in most games in which the two were on the field together. In fact, Nacua set rookie records for receiving yards. The Rams also found Demarcus Robinson as a viable tertiary option in the passing game late in the season.

The second star to emerge this past season was Kyren Williams. Cam Akers was projected to be the starting running back heading into last season, but Williams was so impressive that the Rams were able to get rid of Akers early during the year. Williams displayed great ability to break through tackles and catch passes out of the backfield. He rushed for 1,144 yards and 12 touchdowns, and he caught 32 passes for 206 receiving yards. Williams has some durability issues, so the Rams used a mid-round selection on Blake Corum, who has impressed at OTAs.

Nacua and Williams wouldn’t have enjoyed their great seasons if the Rams couldn’t block well. The offensive line was a big problem in 2022, but the unit improved this past season. A major issue was replacing the retired Andrew Whitworth, but the Rams found a solution last year in Alaric Jackson. The former Iowa prospect emerged as an excellent pass protector on Stafford’s blind side. He and Rob Havenstein formed a terrific tackle duo.

Another new member on the offensive line was second-round guard Steve Avila. Capable of playing guard and center, Avila had a solid rookie campaign at the former position when it came to pass protection. He’ll move to center with Brian Allen gone, and he’ll be sandwiched by two new guards, Jonah Jackson and Kevin Dotson. Both are very capable blockers, although Jackson has a checkered injury history.

2024 Los Angeles Rams Defense:
With the offense being so explosive, and the front office adding some key personnel to bolster the other side of the ball, the Rams looked like a great pick as a semi-long shot to win the Super Bowl. That changed, however, when Aaron Donald announced his retirement. Donald will sorely be missed, as he was the best defensive lineman in the NFL.

The Rams had to replace Donald somehow. They tried to do so in the 2024 NFL Draft, as they spent their first two selections on front-seven players. The first was Jared Verse, a gifted edge rusher out of Florida State. Los Angeles missed Von Miller, so Verse can potentially fill a big need on the edge. If Verse lives up to expectations, he and Byron Young could form an excellent duo. Young, as a third-round rookie last year, notched eight sacks and showed some great potential.

Los Angeles’ second draft pick was used on Braden Fiske, who enjoyed a great pre-draft process. Fiske will be Donald’s direct replacement. He’ll start on the Rams’ new defensive line with Bobby Brown and Kobie Turner. Brown is a quality run defender, while Turner enjoyed an even better initial season than Young, producing nine sacks as a third-round rookie.

As mentioned earlier, the front office acquired some talented defenders in free agency. All of them were secondary members. Cornerback was a huge weakness for the Rams last year, but that likely won’t be the case with Darious Williams and Tre’Davious White joining the team. Williams had previously played for the Rams, but went to the Jaguars after that. Williams’ return will be welcomed, as will the acquisition of White despite his extensive injury history. If White can remain healthy, he’ll provide the Rams with some amazing cornerback play. Obviously, that’s a big if, but there’s a chance he could turn his career around. Meanwhile, Quentin Lake will reprise his role as the team’s starting slot corner, a role in which he performed well last year.

Another new member of the secondary is Kamren Curl, who was an outstanding player for the Redskins for multiple years. He’ll be a nice upgrade at safety, and he’ll start next to third-round rookie Kamren Kinchens if he’s ready to play right away. If not, it could be Russ Yeast, who struggled last year.

Rounding out the defense, the Rams should continue to get outstanding play out of Ernest Jones. The fourth-year linebacker made tremendous improvements to his game last year. He’ll start next to Christian Rozeboom, who should have been upgraded this offseason.

2024 Los Angeles Rams Schedule and Intangibles:
The Rams don’t have the best home-field advantage. They’re 37-22 as hosts since moving back to Los Angeles, but they’re 39-24 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.

The Rams had major kicking problems last year, so they spent a sixth-round pick in the draft on Joshua Karty.

Los Angeles had a new punter last year. That would be Ethan Evans, who was a seventh-round choice in 2023. Evans had one of the worst net punting averages in the NFL last year.

Los Angeles’ schedule is difficult for the most part. The team has to battle the Lions, Eagles, Packers, Dolphins, Jets, Bills, as well as the 49ers twice. There are some easier foes mixed in as well.

2024 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.

2024 Los Angeles Rams Positional Rankings (1-5 stars):
Offensive Line
Running Backs
Defensive Line
Special Teams

2024 Los Angeles Rams Analysis: It’s a shame for the Rams that Aaron Donald retired; otherwise, they’d have an excellent chance to make a Super Bowl run once again. The Rams still have tons of talent, however, so if Matthew Stafford can remain healthy, Los Angeles could venture deep into the playoffs despite Donald’s departure.

Projection: 12-5 (Tied 1st in NFC West)

2023 Projection: 5-12. 2023 Actual Result: 10-7.
2022 Projection: 11-6. 2022 Actual Result: 5-12.
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 Individual Grades:

19. Jared Verse, DE, Florida State – B- Grade

It has to be disappointing for the Rams that they couldn’t get Byron Murphy. It makes sense though that they would target a front-seven player because their offense is so explosive. I’m not crazy about this pick because Jared Verse isn’t close to the other two edge rushers who were chosen earlier, yet he’s being taken so close to them. I don’t hate this pick – Verse likely belonged in the 20s – but it’s a bit underwhelming for a team that hadn’t drafted in the first round since 2016.

39. Braden Fiske, DT, Florida State – A- Grade

The Rams traded up 13 spots for Braden Fiske, and it’s easy to understand why. There’s been a run on defensive tackles, and I would have been shocked had Fiske fallen to No. 52. Someone like Fiske was needed with Aaron Donald announcing his retirement.

83. Blake Corum, RB, Michigan – B- Grade

This is a disappointing destination for Blake Corum because he’s not going to be able to play very much while Kyren Williams is healthy. However, Williams was hurt on multiple occasions last year, so I understand the Rams finding a quality insurance policy.

99. Kamren Kinchens, S, Miami – B+ Grade

I thought Kamren Kinchens would go way earlier than this during the pre-draft process, but it was clear he would fall because of some injury concerns. However, Kinchens is an instinctive safety who will be able to play right away. The Rams needed defensive backs after having so many issues in that area last year.

154. Brennan Jackson, DE, Washington State – B+ Grade

Brennan Jackson could have gone a round or maybe even two earlier than this, so I love the value the Rams are getting with him in the middle of the fifth frame. Jackson, considered a sleeper by some of Charlie’s sources, fills a need as an edge rusher for the Rams.

196. Tyler Davis, DT, Clemson – B+ Grade

Tyler Davis was a productive player at Clemson who enjoyed a solid Senior Bowl. However, he fell to the sixth round because he’s small and not lengthy, so the upside isn’t quite there. Still, the Rams are getting a solid prospect in the sixth round at a position of need.

209. Joshua Karty, K, Stanford – C Grade

I can’t be excited about a kicker pick. I’m just sad I couldn’t berate a team for drafting one earlier than the sixth round, but it makes sense for the Rams to take one here.

213. Jordan Whittington, WR, Texas – B+ Grade

Cooper Kupp doesn’t have much time remaining in the NFL, so it makes sense for the Rams to draft a receiver at this spot. We had Jordan Whittington pegged in the fifth round, so some slight value is nice here toward the end of Round 6.

217. Beaux Limmer, G/C, Arkansas – A+ Grade

I’ve had Beaux Limmer in the third or fourth round of my mock draft, so I love this value. I also am a big fan of adding to Matthew Stafford’s protection. Beaux Limmer can play both guard and center.

254. KT Leveston, G, Kansas State – B Grade

KT Leveston’s stock fell this past year, but he still makes sense in the seventh round. Protecting Matthew Stafford is important, so I like taking a flier on some more protection.

Season Summary:
The Rams were one of the hottest teams down the stretch, posting a 7-1 record in their final eight games once many of their top players returned from injury. They lost right away in the playoffs, but nearly took out the Lions in the opening round.

Offseason Moves:
  • Rams announce retirement of DT Aaron Donald

    Team Needs:
    1. Defensive Tackle: Aaron Donald has retired, and those are some huge shoes to fill.

    2. Edge Rusher: The Rams miss Von Miller. They had solid production out of Byron Young last year, but they don’t have an elite edge rusher.

    3. Two Cornerbacks: Los Angeles needs to work on its secondary. Quentin Lake played well this past season, but the team didn’t have much else at the position. Signed Tre’Davious White and Darious Williams

    4. Two Safeties: Jordan Fuller is an impending free agent. Even if he’s re-signed, the Rams will need another safety. Signed Kamren Curl

    5. Linebacker: Help is needed at linebacker to complement Ernest Jones.

    6. Guard: Kevin Dotson was the Rams’ top offensive lineman last year. He’s due to hit free agency in March. Signed Jonah Jackson

    7. Quarterback: The Rams need to think about finding a young quarterback to develop behind Matthew Stafford.

    8. Kicker: Los Angeles had kicking issues all year.

      Follow me @walterfootball for updates.

    2024 NFL Free Agent Signings:

    Los Angeles Rams Free Agents:

    Salary Cap: TBA.

    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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