Various experts, whether through mock drafts or other projections, have identified offensive line (both interior and tackles), linebacker, edge rusher, defensive line, and cornerback as positions of needs for the Rams heading into this year's draft.
As part of our coverage leading into it, theRams.com will be compiling lists of the top prospects available at each position, focusing primarily on the ones that will likely be on the board when Los Angeles is on the clock throughout the NFL Draft.
Having already covered interior offensive line, edge, linebacker and defensive line, we continue the series with a look at the best cornerback options, based on experts' rankings.
Florida State's Asante Samuel Jr. (5-foot-10, 180 pounds, pictured above)
- NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks' No. 4 cornerback
- The Athletic NFL Draft analyst Dane Brugler's No. 9 cornerback (subscription required to view rankings)
- Pro Football Focus lead draft analyst Michael Renner's No. 5 cornerback
With Troy Hill departing in free agency, it's reasonable to think the Rams could look to add another body to the cornerback rotation and shore up the depth there. Hill played inside (in the slot) and outside for the Rams last year; similarly, Samuel has experience playing outside with traits to play slot/nickel cornerback.
Samuel led FSU in interceptions (3) and pass breakups (6) last year while starting eight games before opting out of the remainder of the season. A quick browse of recent mock drafts show him going in the second round, though a couple also project him potentially going in the first.
Washington's Elijah Molden (5-9 1/2, 192)
- Brooks' No. 4 cornerback
- Brugler's No. 5 cornerback
- Not ranked by Renner
A First Team All-Pac-12 selection for the second consecutive year, Molden logged 26 total tackles, one interception and one pass breakup in four games in his 2020 senior season. According to NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein's writeup, Molden has the skillset to play either safety or nickel cornerback. He's been projected as a second-round pick in most mock drafts, though one has him going in the third.
Syracuse's Ifeatu Melifonwu (6-2 1/2, 205)
- The Draft Network's No. 7 cornerback
- Brugler's No. 10 cornerback
- Renner's No. 9 cornerback
Melifonwu popped up as a second-round projection for the Rams in the latest mock draft roundup, so it's only fitting to also include him here.
An 11-game starter as a redshirt junior for the Orange in 2020, he tallied 55 total tackles (three for loss), plus one interception and nine pass breakups on his way to Third Team All-ACC recognition. According to Zierlein's evaluation, Melifonwu is built like a safety but has the skillset to develop into a press-man cornerback on the outside.
Central Florida's Aaron Robinson (5-11 1/2, 186)
- The Draft Network's No. 13 cornerback
- Brugler's No. 11 cornerback
- Renner's No. 6 cornerback
Robinson is another cornerback prospect who has popped up as a possible second-round option for the Rams in mock drafts. The redshirt senior was a Second Team All-AAC selection in 2020 after leading the Knights with seven pass breakups and chipping in 41 total tackles while playing the slot.
Standford's Paulson Adebo (6-1, 198)
- The Draft Network's No. 9 cornerback
- Brugler's No. 12 cornerback
- Not ranked by Renner
Like Robinson and Melfonwu, we've seen Adebo's name come up as a possible option for the Rams in Mock Drafts, but as a third-round option. Adebo opted out of the 2020 season, but in 2019, he collected 33 tackles, 10 pass breakups and four interceptions en route to First Team All-Pac-12 recognition.
- Georgia's Eric Stokes (6-1, 194): The Draft Network's No. 5 cornerback, Brugler's No. 6 cornerback, Renner's No. 10 cornerback
- Michigan's Ambry Thomas (6-0, 191): The Draft Network's No. 14 cornerback, not ranked by Brugler, not ranked by Renner
- Minnesota's Benjamin St-Juste (6-0, 202): The Draft Network's No. 12 cornerback, not ranked by Brugler, not ranked by Renner
Take a look at top cornerbacks projected to be on the board when the Los Angeles Rams pick during the 2021 NFL Draft.