It’s Los Angeles Rams mock draft time! Dynasty fantasy football is a year-round affair. A sharp manager will be thinking about all aspects of the dynasty season. Those managers who are keen enough to look ahead will be the ones that can grab themselves an edge over the competition. Managers will spend a large portion of the dynasty off-season discussing incoming rookies and the related topic, the NFL draft. It is easy for us to fall in love with the next workhorse running back or prototypical alpha wide receiver, but a manager that is in tune with the entire draft class will find themselves ahead of the game. Whether it is the next road-paving interior offensive lineman or genetic freak edge rusher, we can find ourselves at quite the advantage come April by building an entire picture of how the 2023 class will play out.
Credit for the mock draft simulation goes to ProFootballFocus. The team needs have come from this site. Compensatory picks have not been assigned and will not be in this exercise.
2022 Season Recap
2021 was a complete success that culminated with the Los Angeles Rams becoming Super Bowl champions. The trades for Matthew Stafford and Von Miller ultimately paid off. Les Snead was finally justified in his unique strategy of managing an NFL roster. More than any other team in the league, the Rams are fine-trading high draft capital for proven veteran assets. That, combined with hitting on an abundance of mid to late-round compensatory picks, led to a Super Bowl-winning roster.
2022 was the complete opposite side of that variance. Primarily due to injuries and some key departures from the roster, the 2022 Los Angeles Rams underperformed. The retirement of Andrew Whitworth, combined with some injuries, led to this offensive line ranking at the bottom of the league. Like a butterfly effect, the increased pressures led Stafford to miss the season’s back half. Things could not have gone worse for the 2022 Rams. To add insult to those injuries, their top-ten draft pick this year belongs to the Detroit Lions. Let’s see what they can do to reload this roster.
2023 Free Agent Departures
Thankfully for the Los Angeles Rams, free agency departures won’t be much of an issue for them this offseason. The most notable position that will be affected will be the quarterback room. Backups Baker Mayfield, John Wolford, and Bryce Perkins are all expected to hit the open market. Fortunately, veteran backups will be available for the Rams to sign this spring. Long-term backup options are even available later in this draft class.
2023 Draft Picks
2.36 – Cody Mauch, OL North Dakota State
Fans will quickly fall in love with North Dakota State tackle Cody Mauch. He was a star of the Senior Bowl for his play on the field and his quirky demeanor. Cody checks in at 6’4” and 305 pounds. His arms measured 32 ⅛”, so he may be best moved to guard at the next level. Mauch started his college career as a walk-on tight end. He was able to add a significant amount of weight and transfer from the interior of the offensive line out to the tackle position.
The Rams have needs at every position along the offensive line, which is perfect for Mauch as he has played almost every position in his time at North Dakota State. With his tight-end background, Cody has quick feet and moves well for his size. He has the mobility to excel as a pulling guard in a zone scheme. Mauch has the complete toolkit of an effective offensive lineman in the NFL. The only thing he is missing is his two front teeth.
3.69 – Keeanu Benton, DL Wisconsin
Aaron Donald was on the verge of retirement after winning his first Super Bowl. He decided to return for 2022 and continue his dominance as the best defensive player in the league. The Rams have to be on notice that Donald could be prepared to walk away from the game at any moment now. They must prepare for a post-Aaron Donald defense, a player that may be impossible to replace. That contingency plan starts now with this selection.
Benton is a hot riser after his dominant Senior Bowl week performance. The Wisconsin defensive tackle measured 6’3” and 312 pounds with an impressive 81¾” wingspan. He has no problem using that wingspan to create leverage to move interior offensive linemen off their blocks. If Donald returns for 2023, then Benton has the added benefit of learning from one of the best to do it.
4.136 – Jarrett Patterson, G Notre Dame
Our Senior Bowl run continues as the Rams can grab all of the top performers from Mobile and build along the trenches. Patterson was a four-year starter at Notre Dame. He spent three seasons as the starting center before switching to left guard in 2022. Throughout his over 1,400 snaps as a starter, he allowed zero sacks. That is an awe-inspiring feat. Patterson would come in to compete as a day-one starter along the Rams’ offensive line and has the versatility to play either center or guard.
5.142 – Quindell Johnson, S Memphis
The Rams spend their first pick in the fifth round addressing the safety position. Outside of Taylor Rapp, there isn’t much in this safety room that could contribute to a Super Bowl-winning season. Quindell Johnson was a four-year starter at Memphis and can come in as part of a safety rotation as early as Week One. Quindell possesses the athleticism for the position, but just news to improve his field awareness. With almost 250 career tackles, he has a nose for the ball. Hopefully, he can polish his game enough to be an every-down player.
5.172 – Tyler Lacy, DL Oklahoma State
The second pick of the fifth round goes to the defensive side of the football—this time along the trenches. Tyler Lacy was a four-year starter at Oklahoma State after redshirting his first year. He was versatile enough to play almost every position along the defensive front and will provide a ton of flexibility for his defensive lines coach at the next level. His game needs some polish to keep and use his leverage to win at the point of attack. There will be no one better to learn from than future Hall of Famer Aaron Donald. He will be a nice rotational piece to begin his career and has the chance to elevate his game to be a difference-maker eventually.
6.182 – Kenny McIntosh, RB Georgia
The Rams running back room is down to Cam Akers, Kyren Williams, and Ronnie Rivers. They will add another body, whether in free agency or the draft. We address the position in the draft’s sixth round in this scenario. McIntosh is a senior coming out of the University of Georgia. This school has a long history of turning out professional running backs with great careers at the NFL level. McIntosh is polished enough to contribute right away to this offense and will make a tremendous rotational asset to work alongside Cam Akers.
Los Angeles looks like a negative landing spot for our dynasty rookie drafts, but this is the perfect role for Kenny at the next level. This placement allows him to learn and absorb the offense without being relied upon immediately. We all know how frequent running back injuries are, which puts McIntosh just one step away from being an NFL starter. He will be of great value in the third round of rookie drafts.
6.191 – Aubrey Miller Jr, LB Jackson State
Miller began his college career at Missouri before transferring to Jackson State to play for Deion Sanders. He was named Southwestern Conference Defensive Player of the Year and named to the All-SWAC first team. Aubrey is a dynamic playmaker who possesses excellent athletic traits. He will bring this athleticism to the NFL level as a special teams contributor before elevating his game to a rotational third-down linebacker.
6.211 – BJ Thompson, EDGE Stephen F. Austin
The later draft rounds are great for selecting players from smaller schools. They don’t necessarily drop to this level due to their skills. Sometimes it is simply due to a lack of tape or scouts’ getting eyes on them. If you look at the production, Thompson recorded 24 career sacks in his five years split between Baylor and Stephen F. Austin. He has a large frame at 6’6” but can add some weight above his current 210 pounds. A developmental edge rusher is the perfect use for a sixth-round pick.
7.252 – Tyson Bagent, QB Shepherd
With the final pick in the 2023 NFL draft, the Los Angeles Rams address the quarterback position. Bagent comes from Shepherd, which is a small D2 school. He was impressive enough throughout college to receive an invite to the Senior Bowl. This invitation is something that rarely happens for D2 football players. Bagent has a large frame and a big arm to go with it. He profiles as a developmental backup at the next level.
As it currently stands, Stafford is the only quarterback on the Rams’ roster. All of the other backups are hitting free agency. This seventh-round investment can provide them with a cheap backup option for a few years. I would expect a veteran to sign in free agency, which means Bagent would be a gameday inactive for most of 2022. He hopes to show enough development as a rookie to secure the backup role for 2023 and beyond. Tyson wouldn’t be fantasy relevant for anything but the deepest of Superflex dynasty leagues.
2023 Fantasy Impact
McIntosh is the only fantasy-relevant player selected in this mock draft, but the other picks will help improve the quality of the offense. These rookies will help fantasy mainstays like Stafford, Cooper Kupp, Allen Robinson, and Akers. Improvements along the offensive line will keep Stafford upright and healthy. Having the starting quarterback will be a huge help for both Kupp and Robinson. Kupp should remain a top-five scorer at the wide receiver position, and the hope is Robinson can improve upon his terrible 2022 performance.
Akers is the player most directly affected by the selection of Kenny McIntosh. Kyren Williams and Ronnie Rivers are the only backs behind Akers, so some players will be acquired this offseason. This is best case scenario for Akers as he avoids competing with a veteran free-agent signing. McIntosh is a professional back who would serve as a high-quality backup who can operate in all game phases. This selection may be the end of Williams’ dynasty value.
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I hope you enjoyed this piece in our Offseason Primer series. Be sure to check back often, as I will cover all fantasy-relevant positions. For more content like this, follow me on Twitter @DanT_NFL. DMs are always open for questions, comments, or craft beer recommendations!