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 and edge, we continue the series with a look at the best linebacker options, based on experts' rankings.
LSU's Jabril Cox (6-foot-3, 233 pounds)
- The Draft Network's No. 7 linebacker
- The Athletic NFL Draft analyst Dane Brugler's No. 6 linebacker (subscription required to view full rankings and analysis)
- Pro Football Focus Lead NFL Draft analyst Michael Renner's No. 5 linebacker
Cox leads off since he was recently mentioned as a possibility for the Rams at pick No. 5 on NFL Network's Path to the Draft. A 10-game starter whose 58 total tackles ranked third on LSU last year, he is also capable of dropping back in pass coverage having snagged three interceptions.
North Carolina's Chazz Surratt (6-2, 229)
- NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks' No. 5 linebacker
- Brugler's No. 8 linebacker
- Renner's No. 10 linebacker
A popular Rams projection in several mock drafts, Surratt led the Tar Heels with 91 tackles while starting all 11 games last year, also finishing second in tackles for loss (7.5) and sacks (six) and chipping in three pass breakups, one interception, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. His background as a converted quarterback makes him an intriguing prospect.
Missouri's Nick Bolton (5-11, 237)
- Brooks' No. 3 linebacker
- Brugler's No. 4 linebacker
- Renner's No. 3 linebacker
Bolton has drawn comparisons to Buccaneers star Lavonte David based on pro day measurables, and he's received praise from NFL Media draft analyst Lance Zierlein as a three-down linebacker with promising instincts and field recognition. He produced at a high level for the Tigers in 2020, leading them in both total tackles (95) and tackles for loss (7.5) last fall.
Alabama's Dylan Moses (6-1, 225)
- The Draft Network's No. 11 linebacker
- Brugler's No. 10 linebacker
- Renner: Not ranked
Like Surratt, Moses has also been linked to the Rams in a handful of mock drafts. In 2020, he bounced back from a 2019 season-ending knee injury (torn ACL) by leading the Crimson Tide in total tackles (80) and adding three pass breakups, one forced fumble and one interception.
Ohio State's Justin Hilliard (6-1, 229)
- The Draft Network's No. 19 linebacker
- Brugler: Not ranked
- Renner's No. 7 linebacker
Despite battling injuries in the early stages of his Ohio State career, Hilliard finished his college career strong with 33 total tackles, one interception, one forced fumble, three fumble recoveries (tied for third in the FBS) and an interception in six games in 2020. If his medical evaluation checks out, he could be a late-round steal.
- Georgia's Monty Rice (6-0, 233): The Draft Network's No. 14 linebacker, not ranked by Brugler, Renner's No. 8 linebacker
- Boston College's Isaiah McDuffie (6-1, 227): The Draft Network's No. 13 linebacker, Brugler's No. 12 linebacker, not ranked by Renner
- Purdue's Derrick Barnes (6-0, 238): The Draft Network's No. 12 linebacker, not ranked by Brugler, not ranked by Renner
Take a look at top linebackers projected to be on the board when the Rams pick during the 2021 NFL Draft.