Scheduled to make their first selection in the 2023 NFL Draft early in the second at No. 36 overall, the Rams sit in an ideal spot to draft an offensive lineman, according to NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah, should they choose to use that pick on what Jeremiah views as one of their two biggest needs – the other being edge rusher.
"Where they're positioned, if you're looking for offensive linemen, I think it's a really, really good place to be," Jeremiah said on a conference call with NFL beat writers Friday morning ahead of next week's NFL Scouting Combine.
Prospects Jeremiah views as potential options for the Rams at that spot include North Dakota State's Cody Mauch and Minnesota's John Michael Schmitz.
Mauch, listed 6-foot-5 and 303 pounds on his NFL.com draft profile, currently sits as No. 45 on Jeremiah's Top 50 prospects for the 2023 NFL Draft. Though he primarily played offensive tackle, Jeremiah sees him being able to play anywhere along the offensive line – something that would obviously be of value to a team like the Rams that dealt with a multitude of injuries at the position last season.
"Cody Mauch to me is a really good player at North Dakota State," Jeremiah said. "Has five-position flexibility. I think that's probably the sweet spot for where he would go. And that you know, you're seeing this more and more and talking to people around the league and you're going through meetings, and I've seen it covering the Chargers games, doing their games and just being around the league, when you got guys that can play in those multiple spots, it just allows you to overcome the injuries of a 17-game season so much easier. And I think when you look at guys like Cody Mauch, I think that that really, really ups his value, because he's able to play in those different positions."
Outside of that Top 50, Jeremiah also pointed to Syracuse's Matthew Bergeron and Minnesota's John Michael Schmitz – both also Senior Bowl invitees like Mauch – as offensive line fits for the Rams.
The 6-5, 323 Bergeron, who also offers positional versatility, according Jeremiah, was penalized three times and allowed only five sacks in 686 snaps last season. Schmitz, a 6-3, 306-pound center, started all 12 regular-season games at that position for Minnesota in 2022 and blocked for a Gophers offense that rushed for 2,698 yards and 33 touchdowns and one that passed for 2,369 yards and 12 touchdowns last year. Schmitz was also one of Jeremiah's top 10 NFL Draft winners from Senior Bowl practice week last month.
"I mentioned Bergeron from Syracuse, I think would be a good fit. He's gonna be a really good tackle, could kick in if you wanted him to," Jeremiah said. "If you want to interior offensive linemen, another one in that mix, John Michael Schmitz is from Minnesota, was awesome at the Senior Bowl."