Los Angeles Rams Rookies Forecast

By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

Solid Starter

Van Jefferson, WR, Florida – Round 2
Les Snead has made some brilliant picks for the the Rams to go along with some epic busts. I think he came out of the 2020 NFL Draft with a solid couple of second-round picks to help his team’s roster. The Rams needed to fortify the wide receiver position after trading away Brandin Cooks and due to veteran receivers Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods having dealt with injuries during their careers. The polished Jefferson could step right in as the third receiver and hit the ground running in the NFL.

Jefferson recorded 49 receptions for 657 yards and six touchdowns in 2019, but he played better than the numbers illustrate. The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder was excellent at the Senior Bowl. In Mobile, Jefferson had an excellent week of practice and really helped himself. He showed off polished route-running, good hands, and a gritty style of play. For Florida, Jefferson was also an excellent special teams player and was a very good gunner on punt coverage. Being the son of a NFL wide receivers coach, Jefferson has been groomed for the pro ranks from a young age and knows the league well.

NFL teams play three-wide receiver sets more than other formations, so Jefferson figures to become a starter with Woods and Kupp. While Jefferson may not become a prolific pro, I think he is a safe bet to develop into a solid starter.

2019: Greg Gaines, DT
2018: Joseph Noteboom, OT
2017: Cooper Kupp, WR
2016: Pharoh Cooper, WR
2015: Jamon Brown, G
2014: Aaron Donald, DT
2013: Stedman Baily, WR

Most Likely To Bust

Terrell Lewis, DE, Alabama – Round 3
This was a tough decision. I chose Lewis because of injury and durability concerns. Lewis has a first-round skill set with size, length, speed and strength, but he has suffered a ton of injuries already and I’m not confident he can stay healthy in the NFL. Lewis lost multiple seasons at Alabama to injuries that seem to have taken a toll on him. Even this year at the Senior Bowl, it looked at times like he was dragging the leg that cost him the 2018 season. If he stays healthy and heals up, he has the potential to be a good pro, but I think he could be the riskiest of the Rams’ selections from the first two days of the 2020 NFL Draft.

2019: Bobby Evans, G
2018: Brian Allen, C
2017: John Johnson, S
2016: Jared Goff, QB
2015: Rob Havenstein, OT
2014: Tre Mason, RB
2013: T.J. McDonald, S

Potential Boom Pick

Cam Akers, RB, Florida State – Round 2
This was an easy choice, because I don’t believe any of the Rams’ other draft picks has real boom-pick potential. Los Angeles needed a running back to replace Todd Gurley, and Akers should be a great fit. I think Akers was one of the top talents after the first round.

For the NFL, Akers is a do-it-all back who looks like a three-down starter with Pro Bowl potential. He has an excellent combination of size, at 217 pounds, and speed. Akers shows the power to run through tackles and the speed to hit the second level while being able hit the gas in the open field to run away from the defense. Akers is a threat to break off long runs on any touch, and he would have produced a lot more big plays in college if it weren’t for a terrible offensive line.

Akers has a lot of natural abilities as a runner that make him a playmaker. He has very good feet and cutting skill to stop on a dime with a sudden ability to change direction. On top of his feet and cutting ability, Akers has good vision and patience to let holes develop while also being able to create on his own. He is a shifty runner and elusive in the open field to dodge tacklers with the ability to make defenders miss. Akers has strength to get yards after contact with balance to sustain hits and a strong build to finish his runs well. With his size, speed, and running ability, Akers should be able to be the engine for a NFL offense.

For the passing game, Akers is a weapon as a check-down receiver. He has soft hands and finds the soft spots to get open for his quarterback. Akers is too quick, sudden, and explosive for linebackers to cover, so he should be a real mismatch weapon.

On top of his skill set, I think Akers went to a great landing spot and will be a superb fit in Sean McVay’s scheme. With Todd Gurley being in Atlanta, Akers could be a plug-and-play starter if he can pick up the playbook quick enough. It would not surprise me if Akers is one of the steals of the 2020 NFL Draft and is a great value for the Rams in the second round.

2019: Taylor Rapp, S
2018: Micah Kiser, LB
2017: Gerald Everett, TE
2016: Mike Thomas, WR
2015: Todd Gurley, RB
2014: Greg Robinson, OT
2013: Tavon Austin, WR

Future Depth Player

Terrell Burgess, S, Utah – Round 3
If Burgess (5-11, 202) were bigger, I might have considered him to be a solid starter. However he is undersized for a NFL safety, so I think that could limit him to being a backup as a pro. As the Utes’ strong safety, Burgess was a tough defender in the middle of the field. In 2019, Burgess had 81 tackles with one interception and five passes defended. He is a tough defender who has some instincts and is a solid contributor. I think he could be a good backup safety who is a core special teams player for the Rams.

2019: Darrell Henderson, RB
2018: Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, LB
2017: Josh Reynolds, WR
2016: Josh Forrest, LB
2015: Sean Mannion, QB
2014: E.J. Gaines, CB
2013: Zac Stacy, RB

Walt’s 2020 NFL Draft Grades:

52. Cam Akers, RB, Florida State – A Grade
The Rams had to get rid of Todd Gurley and his arthritic knees this offseason because of his absurd contract. They also had to replace him. I didn’t know if one of the second-round running backs would get to them, but a couple did. The Rams are making a great pick with Akers here, as he should be a major upgrade over the other runners Los Angeles has on its roster at the moment.

57. Van Jefferson, WR, Florida – B- Grade
The Rams used the pick they acquired in the Brandin Cooks trade on another receiver. Van Jefferson projects as a solid replacement for Cooks, as he’s a great route runner. I don’t think he was quite good enough to crack the second round, but I’m OK with this selection.

84. Terrell Lewis, DE/OLB, Alabama – A Grade
Terrell Lewis would’ve been a first-round pick if it weren’t for his countless injuries. In fact, we had Lewis in the first round of our mock draft once upon a time, as high as No. 18 to Baltimore at one point. This is a gamble for sure, but isn’t every pick pretty much the same thing? I love this swing for the fences by the Rams, who really needed to improve their pass rush with Dante Fowler gone.

104. Terrell Burgess, CB/S, Utah – B- Grade
This pick doesn’t really fill a need, but the range makes sense at least. Terrell Burgess is a solid third-round prospect who can play multiple spots in the secondary. It’ll be interesting to see where the Rams use him.

136. Brycen Hopkins, TE, Purdue – B- Grade
I wonder if this will spell the end for Gerald Everett. Brycen Hopkins is an athletic, pass-catching tight end who could contribute to the offense in the near future. I had him in this range at times in my mock.

199. Jordan Fuller, S, Ohio State – B+ Grade
The Rams needed a backup safety, and Jordan Fuller is a fine option in the sixth round. He’s a tough player, but his instincts need to improve. Still, he has potential, so he’s a decent selection.

234. Clay Johnston, LB, Baylor – A- Grade
Clay Johnston is another player who dropped because of numerous injuries. The Rams needed a linebacker in the wake of Corey Littleton’s departure, and Johnston could eventually step in and contribute if he can remain healthy.

248. Sam Sloman, K, Miami of Ohio – C- Grade
The Rams needed a kicker, but there was a better kicker available. Not good.

250. Tremayne Anchrum, OT/G, Clemson – B+ Grade
Tremayne Anchrum played at tackle at Clemson, but he’ll likely have to move inside in the NFL. Anchrum plays with good technique, but the athleticism is rather lacking. Still, he might be able to latch on with the Rams because of his good technique.

2020 NFL Draft Team Grade: C- . Follow Walter @walterfootball for updates.

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