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2022 NFL draft: 7 takeaways for – Rams Wire

The Los Angeles Rams didn’t necessarily reach to fill their needs in the 2022 NFL draft, but they did prioritize certain positions such as the secondary and offensive line.
The result was a class that lacks athleticism, but it’s also one that may have at least one immediate starter. The Rams’ decisions made on draft weekend told us a lot about not only the players they selected, but also guys currently on the roster.
Here are seven takeaways from the Rams’ moves during the draft.
You don’t go out and add four defensive backs in the draft and another via trade if you’re confident in the players you currently have. The Rams’ determination to add depth in the secondary is a bad sign for players such as Robert Rochell, David Long Jr., Taylor Rapp and Terrell Burgess.
Granted, Long, Rapp and Nick Scott will all be free agents in 2023, so the Rams are simultaneously preparing for the future by drafting Decobie Durant, Derion Kendrick, Quentin Lake and Russ Yeast. But it’s obvious the Rams didn’t like Rochell and Long as their only legitimate options to start at cornerback with Jalen Ramsey.
The fact that Les Snead turned down trade offers to move back from No. 104 overall in order to select Logan Bruss shows how much the Rams liked him as a prospect. Sean McVay said after the third round that he expects Bruss to compete for starter reps at right guard immediately, believing he can easily transition from offensive tackle to guard.
He has the athleticism, strength and size to make an impact right away. He’ll have to beat out the likes of Coleman Shelton and others for the starting right guard job, but that could happen by training camp.
Edge rusher and cornerback were Need 1A and 1B going into the draft. The Rams added two cornerbacks, including one in the fourth round, but they waited until the seventh round to add their only edge rusher. Daniel Hardy is a promising prospect with great athleticism, but he’s a small-school player who’s undersized at 6-foot-1.
By no means is he a lock to start or contribute much as a rookie this year. He could redshirt like Chris Garrett did as he transitions from FCS to the NFL and learns ways to beat bigger offensive tackles with a variety of pass-rush moves.
According to Relative Athletic Score, the Rams finished with the least athletic draft class in the NFL this year. Bruss and Hardy are the only above-average athletes in the group, with the rest testing out as average or poor athletes.
The Rams didn’t put much of a priority on athleticism in this class, instead looking at a player’s instincts and intangibles. They took a similar approach with Jordan Fuller in 2020 and Ernest Jones last year, too, and those two picks appear to have worked out.
A lack of athleticism doesn’t mean a player will fail, but it does make it more difficult for him to sustain success in the NFL where there are so many better athletes than the college level.
32. Rams #RAS Average = 5.81
Highest RAS Daniel Hardy 9.34
Lowest RAS Derion Kendrick 1.53
— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 30, 2022
The Rams gave up a fifth-round pick next year to acquire Hill on Saturday, a huge move in the secondary. He’ll immediately start with Ramsey, whether it’s inside at the nickel spot or outside.
As promising as some of the rookies are, the Rams’ most impactful addition on draft weekend will be Hill. He knows their scheme, he has starting experience and played some of his best football in 2020 before leaving in free agency.
This was a low-risk, high-reward move by the Rams, giving up a late-round pick for a starter with a $1.5 million cap hit in 2022.
After losing Johnny Mundt in free agency, there was a belief that the Rams might draft a tight end at some point. They didn’t, nor did they sign one as an undrafted free agent. That’s a vote of confidence for Hopkins and Blanton, who will now compete for the No. 2 tight end role behind Tyler Higbee.
They were already essentially Higbee’s backups in the second half of the season and into the playoffs, and the Rams must’ve seen enough from both players to feel confident in their ability to replace Mundt full-time. Where they each need to improve is as blockers because they’re better receivers than blockers right now.
Sean McVay loves adding running backs in the draft. He selected another one this year, drafting Williams in the fifth round. The Rams originally held No. 175 overall, but they traded up 11 spots to ensure they got their guy. That shows the faith they have in the running back to potentially be their third-down guy thanks to his receiving ability and skill in pass protection.
They didn’t need a running back but they were specific with which type of running back they drafted. They wanted someone who could contribute as a receiver and help as a blocker on third down, while also taking wear and tear off of Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson Jr.
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