After three long days, the 2018 NFL Draft has officially come to a close. And although the Rams were slated to select eight players in this year’s event, Los Angeles finished with 11 in total — including 10 players selected on Day 3 alone.
Los Angeles kicked things off in the fourth round on Saturday, choosing offensive lineman Brian Allen at No. 111 and defensive end John Franklin at No. 135. The franchise then selected two linebackers to bolster its defense, picking up Micah Kiser at No. 147 and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo at No. 160.
L.A. added running back John Kelly (No. 176), offensive lineman Jamil Demby (No. 192), defensive lineman Sebastian Joseph (No. 195), and outside linebacker Trevon Young (No. 205) in the sixth round. And the club chose linebacker Trevin Howard (No. 231) and defensive lineman Justin Lawler (No. 244) in the seventh.
These 10 picks along with the clubs’ Day 2 selection — offensive lineman Joseph Noteboom at No. 89 — make up the Rams’ 2018 draft class.
“To be able to come away with 11 players that we feel good about and that really supplement us with some depth on both sides of the line, those are things that you feel really good about,” head coach Sean McVay said.
After bringing in Noteboom as a potential successor for Andrew Whitworth at left tackle, the Rams continued to add depth on their offensive line at the top of the fourth round.
While the Rams O-line was arguably one of the best in 2017, it features two starters who are on the back nine of their NFL careers. Noteboom and Allen fill that long-term need on the roster. They’re characterized as two durable, young players who will have the chance to develop greatly under Whitworth and center John Sullivan.
And in what was a talented pool of offensive linemen, general manager Les Snead said Allen’s tape in particular
Check out photos of Rams 4th Round selection Brian Allen, C, Michigan State.
Credit: AP Photos and Michigan State
“Not only does he block people, he just finishes, gets in position and drives people off the ball,” Snead said of Allen. “Just a fun guy to watch. But other than that a really good technician, a very smart, great guy.”
After taking two big men on offense, the Rams focused on the other side of the ball, selecting their first defensive player. Franklin finished his collegiate career as one of Stephen F. Austin’s top defensive performers of all-time and should provide depth on Los Angeles’ D-line.
Then it was time for the club’s first of five trades on Day 3. Instead of picking at No. 137 as originally slated, L.A. sent that selection to the Panthers in exchange for No. 147 and No. 197.
“Knowing that we didn’t have picks early and we focused on those middle rounds, we did think that if we could turn some of those into more picks, we’d have a [better] chance to get some fits and fill some roles,” Snead said. “That was the strategy and we were able to do that today.”
And with their additional fifth-round picks, Snead focused on linebackers. Not only were the Rams able to bring in two ILBs in Kiser and Howard, they were also able to supplement their depth on the outside with Okoronkwo and Young.
“You like some of the depth that you’re able to create with some guys that can play on the edges,” McVay said of the latter. “You’ve [now] got some different guys coming off the edge that can play that ‘Sam’ and ‘Will’ linebacker spot.”
“You’re able to address the inside linebacker spot with a guy like Micah Kiser, who is a great communicator and has got a great command,” he added. “And then you talk about Howard from TCU and some of the things that he’s been able to do athletically.”
The Rams added Kelly in the sixth round, who, according to McVay, will “add some toughness to that room, [along with some] added competition.”
“When you look at it, any time you’re able to acquire people that can make plays with the ball in their hands, that’s always something exciting,” McVay said. “We feel like he will be a really good complement to Todd Gurley, and we have Malcolm Brown in place [too].”
The final two picks of the sixth round saw Los Angeles drafting yet another offensive and defensive lineman. As was the case with several of the selections above, Demby and Joseph are solid prospects who will bring even more depth to the Rams 90-man roster.
Finally, the Rams capped off their Day 3 with a seventh-round pick acquired in a trade with Atlanta. Listed at
6-foot-4, 265 pounds, Lawler is a solid defensive player with an impressive skill set on special teams as well — tying a national lead with three blocked kicks in his senior season.
And following a recent trend in the club’s draft history, Lawler was one of several participants in this year’s Senior Bowl.
“You get to see guys go compete against really good seniors in their class,” Snead said. “A lot of times depending on what conference the player came to, you’ll get to see [them compete against a higher level] at the Senior Bowl. And I do think it helps you go, ‘OK, some of the traits he has will transfer into this league.”
With the 2018 NFL Draft having come to a close, the real work will begin for the coaching staff and its 11 new additions. Though the Rams will not have a traditional rookie minicamp — as the team did last season — the club will hold a “tryout camp” of sorts in the coming weeks.
“It’s a credit to feeling good about some of the depth that you have some understanding with some of the guys that are available in the latter half of the draft and through free agency,” McVay said. “Our guys have done a great job with that and I think that comfort level that we do have enabled us to take that approach.”
“We’ll go to work and get them on the field and start developing them,” Snead added.
Check out photos of 5th Round selection Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, LB, Oklahoma.
Credit: AP Photos and University of Oklahoma