With the NFL Draft only weeks away, we’ll have to wait an extra day to see the Rams go on the clock with their first pick. The Rams won’t draft until the second round with the No. 57 pick overall. Even though some of the top talent in the draft will be off the board, the Rams have excelled without a first-round pick.
The Rams need to address the offensive line in this year’s draft. The team lost Austin Blythe in free agency, and Andrew Whitworth isn’t getting any younger. It’s never too late to invest in the offensive line, and there is plenty of talent in this year’s draft. But who could the Rams draft at No. 57 overall?
Rankings are from ESPN
Aaron Banks, G, Notre Dame (Position Rank 5, Overall 80)
According to the Rams official depth chart, they only have three guards. But with the loss of Blythe, Austin Corbett, who started at right guard, will step over to center to cover the depth there. That is considering if the Rams don’t draft a center this year.
Notre Dame has been a production house for some of the NFL’s best offensive linemen. So it’s odd to see a Notre Dame O-lineman go so late. However, it speaks to the amount of talent at the offensive tackle and guard positions in this year’s draft.
Aaron Banks would help bring depth to the guard position and could even start if the Rams don’t draft a center. According to Brian Driskell of Irish Breakdown, Banks is extremely athletic for a 6’5” 338-pound lineman. One thing he noted from watching him at the senior game is how coachable he is and how well he works with his linemates. He also noted a lot of his cons are coachable and come down to technique.
Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas (Position Rank 7, Overall 57)
According to ESPN, Texas offensive tackle Samuel Cosmi should fall around to the Rams at 57th overall. However, that’s pending if every team’s draft board looks likes ESPN’s. Based on ESPN’s projects, the Rams could get a great tackle with versatility all over the line.
Cosmi started his career at Texas at right tackle, then moved to left tackle the following season. He played outstandingly at left tackle, protecting Sam Elinger for him to throw for the second-most yards in school history in 2019. With the ability to play both sides, he adds great depth for the Rams, with Whitworth at 39 and Rob Havenstein at 28.
Luckily for the Rams, Joe Noteboom stepped in nicely for Whitworth when he went down with an MCL and PCL tear last season. So they’re in no rush for someone to step in to protect Matthew Stafford’s blindside. However, according to Mel Kiper Jr., Cosmi does have the versatility to move to guard.
Cosmi is projected to be taken in the late first-round or early in the second. If he falls late in the second round, he is a must-grab for the Rams.
Trey Smith, G, Tennessee (Position Rank 6, Overall 97)
No matter if you call him a brick wall or a pancake machine, there is no doubt Trey Smith is a beat at guard. Smith is another prospect that could go early on Friday; however, a must if he falls to the Rams.
Smith’s tape is full of impressive stops, but what it doesn’t show is some of the fundamentals he’ll need to work on to thrive in the league. They’re little things any NFL Line coach can easily iron out to push his game to the next level — much like how Smith pushes defenders around on the field.
Smith has the edge over Notre Dame’s Banks because he’s more of a pulling guard and an effective blocker on screens. Noteboom played at left guard until Whitworth went down with an injury and showed the versatility to play either position. If Smith is the only lineman the Rams draft this season, we’ll definitely see Noteboom at left tackle with Smith next to him soon.
Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State (Position Rank 9, Overall 81)
Based on ESPN’s ranking taking offensive tackle Dillon Radunz from North Dakota State might be a reach. However, depending on how many tackles are taken in the first round, it might be a sound investment. But then again, NFL Network’s Chad Rueter has him going 51 overall.
Radunz will make school history as the first offensive players, besides quarterback, to be taken in the first three rounds. His tape shows why he’s a versatile lineman who can play anywhere on the line. He might not be the most athletic player, but he does play aggressively and with true grit.
According to some scouts, he does have questionable practice habits. He spent the offseason working with former San Francisco offensive tackle Joe Staley learning what it means to be an NFL player. If the Rams draft him, he’s not a day one starter, but learning from Whitworth and Havenstein will help him develop his game further.
Featured Image: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images