Dynasty fantasy football is a year-round affair. A sharp manager will be thinking about all aspects of the dynasty season at all times. Managers who are keen enough to look ahead will be the ones that can grab themselves an edge. A large portion of the dynasty off-season will be spent 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 in tune with the entire draft class will find themselves ahead of the game. This article focuses on the Super Bowl champions, the Los Angeles Rams!
Whether it is the next road-paving interior offensive lineman or genetic freak edge rusher, we can find ourselves at quite the advantage in April by building an entire picture of how the 2022 class will play out. Those that prepare ahead will not be often surprised at the outcomes. Check out some other Mock Drafts here!
The draft order used in this article reflects the finalized draft order. Credit to the mock draft simulation goes to The Draft Network. Team needs are also generated from this site. Compensatory picks have been assigned and will be included in this exercise.
Rams 2021 Season Recap
It turns out that selling all your draft picks to go all-in on one season does work in the NFL, or at least it did for the Rams. After years of getting close to the Super Bowl or losing in it, Sean McVay and company finally achieved glory. They won the Super Bowl in their home stadium, no less. Here’s looking at you, Cardinals. I digress. The Rams went all-in after acquiring Matthew Stafford to replace Jared Goff at QB. That move worked like a charm. Cooper Kupp had a historical year at WR, Cam Akers changed the belief about Achilles tears and their recovery, Andrew Whitworth finished his career strong, and Von Miller was acquired from the Broncos.
In fact, that’s why the Rams don’t have their 2nd, and 3rd round picks after trading them to the Broncos for Von Miller. They formed a fearsome trio at WR for a couple of hours after signing Odell Beckham JR. to play with Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. Unfortunately, Woods would tear his ACL. In the Super Bowl, OBJ tore his ACL, too, and is now a free agent. Aaron Donald finally got his ring. The crew is coming back. Well, minus a few key performers. Von Miller signed with the Bills. There’s no word on if OBJ will for sure be back. Sony Michel is a free agent. Their left tackle Andrew Whitworth finally retired. They need a new edge rusher and linebackers.
Rams’ Free Agency/Needs Recap
In free agency, they did shockingly sign Allen Robinson to a 3-year deal. This might shut the door on OBJ’s return or foreshadow a Robert Woods trade. Cam Akers should be ready to shoulder the load, but his health is a concern. The defense still has Jalen Ramsey, Aaron Donald, Leonard Floyd but did lose starting corner Darious Williams. I’ve identified the needs for the Rams: OT, Edge, LB, CB, IOL, and RB.
Thanks to the Rams’ unorthodox draft system in which they trade their high picks and rely on getting compensation picks to restock the pick cupboard, the Rams got plenty of draft picks once again. They recouped a 3rd, two 4ths, a 5th, and more. It’s really smart if you know you can hit on those late-round picks. However, it’s risky since you can’t afford to mess up those later picks. Sean has avoided screwing it up so far. Anyways, let’s get started with this first pick in the third round.
3.104 – Jesse Luketa, LB, Penn St.
The Rams need help at linebacker and edge rushing. Why not get a hybrid player that can do both? I think that sounds good myself. Luketa is a versatile player that can play defensive end, middle linebacker, and outside linebacker. I honestly think he is the best fit to rush as an outside linebacker/D-End, but thanks to his versatility, he’ll stay on the field for a ton of plays.
Luketa is the type of player the Rams love. He’s a team-first player that always gives 100% effort and never stops trying to improve. With the Rams coaching staff, I see no reason why they can’t mold Jesse into yet another star defender. He’s a great rushing defender, play-recognizer, and can even play soft zone. Overall, I think the Rams would be very happy to get this player. If you’re in an IDP rookie draft, I’d look at taking Luketa in the 3rd round or so since he is a project. He’s got a ton of upside and will play a ton in the Rams’ defense.
4.142 – Dare Rosenthal, OT, Kentucky
Every team needs a lot of offensive line depth. The Rams really need it with LT stalwart Andrew Whitworth retiring. Plus, the Rams have been hitting on late-round draft picks lately. Dare could become the starting RT or LT depending on what side the Rams like him on Day 1 of the season. The Kentucky red-shirt Junior is 6’7″ and 327 pounds. He played the best on this strong Kentucky O-Line that led the Wildcats to a Bowl game. The Rams rush a decent amount but do a lot of passing screen/action plays. They play action a ton. That’s right in Dare’s wheelhouse. If you let Dare get angry, he’s a monster in the blocking game. It’s tough to get past a violent Rosenthal.
Rosenthal is an angry, hard-working, strong, precise blocker that will consistently grab leverage and deliver pancake blocks. His pass blocking is fast and quick with hands that are improving. Dare will adjust to the moves the rusher is doing on the fly. His weak spot is run-blocking, where he can over-shoot defenders. With good coaching like the Rams have, this can be fixed. The big thing is that Dare is an angry blocker which will allow him to use his toughness in run-blocking better. Dare will get better in flexibility and not standing too tall in blocking with a proper NFL off-season. That is unless he becomes another Kelvin Benjamin. Nonetheless, getting at the very least an OT3 for your roster this late in the draft would just be another draft steal by the Rams.
5.175 – Cade Mays, IOL, Tennessee
As mentioned above, the Rams O-Line needs help/depth. They need guards, as I’m not sure David Edwards or Bobby Evans are the answer. That’s where Cade Mays comes in. He’s a solid senior guard standing at 6’6″ and weighing 325 pounds. The Rams love versatility. It just so happens that Mays is extremely versatile. Cade has significant experience at center, left, and right guard. Cade could be the long-term answer for either guard spot or just serve as a high-quality backup. What’s better? Well, Mays is well versed in power and zone rushing schemes. Those are nearly the same rushing schemes that the Rams run. Cade is experienced starting for multiple years at Tennessee. He’s an ideal candidate to replace Brian Allen in a year or so as the starting center. You can never have enough O-Line depth in the NFL.
6.211 – Micah McFadden, LB, Indiana
There’s no disguising the truth that the Rams need better middle-linebackers. Perhaps Ernest Jones did enough to earn one of the two starting MLB spots. However, I’m not sure anyone wants Troy Reeder to be the other starter, at least right now. I think they take at least one middle linebacker in the draft. McFadden could be a potential steal in the 6th if he is there. He’ll start as a special team’s player, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him unseat Reeder by the end of the year. Micah is instinctual as a backer. He reads, blocks, screens, and plays like a running back. Two things he does well is following his eyes and tackling. However, he does struggle with his being under-sized and can be pushed.
6.212 – Jeffrey Gunter, Edge, Coastal Carolina
The Red-Shirt senior is a top-10 edge rusher, in my opinion. He’s 6’4″ and 260 pounds. Gunter is versatile in that he can line up as a 4-3 DE or a 3-4 OLB. This enables him to be on the field and help the Rams replace Von Miller. Pairing him with Aaron Donald and Leonard Floyd will allow plenty of one-blocker battles. Gunter manipulates his length to constantly bull-rush opposing linemen. He sees the ball carrier and attacks without vengeance. In his college career, he’s racked up 38.5 sacks. That plays in the NFL. He does have issues. His 40-yard dash of 4.7 is just okay for an NFL d-end. He has technique issues and can be too eager that he passes by the rusher/QB. However, most of his flaws can be fixed with better mind-awareness and coaching. I believe in the Rams coaching, especially DC Raheem Morris.
6.218 – Luke Fortner, IOL, Kentucky
Admittedly, this might be a luxury pick, but Fortner is GOOD. I don’t understand how he isn’t getting a late-Day 2 grade. Luke Fortner stands 6’6” and 300 pounds. While at Kentucky, Luke played over 600 snaps at LG, Center, and RG. That’s versatility at its best. Luke finished as one of the best performers at the combine, with finishes in the top half of most of the drills. Luke knows how to generate leverage and punch/use his hands. He should be able to take over a guard spot on Day 1 and eventually win the center job at the very least. With all the line motions that the Rams use, Fortner is extremely talented when used to roam the field for blocks/screens. Fortner already plays like a pro, and I’m excited to see what some NFL coaching can do for him.
7.238 – Tariq Castro-Fields, CB, Penn St
With CB Williams leaving the Rams, the Rams could use another depth corner. That’s where Tariq comes in. He’s an impressive athlete running the 40 in 4.38 seconds. Tariq has excellent size for a corner at 6’1 and nearly 200 pounds. He’s got perimeter corner size and is a project. Castro-Fields shows all the traits you want in a corner and has great length. However, he’s yet to put it all together. In this sense, he’s a project corner that an excellent coaching staff could really mold. One big issue he has to work on is patience. He’ll bite on reads or throws too soon. If a coaching staff can coach him up big, he could be the next late-round CB star. Instead, he’s going to be a backup corner. Either way, he’ll help the Rams.
7.253 – Jeremiah Gemmel, LB, North Carolina
As I said earlier about the Rams needing linebackers, here’s yet another one. In the 7th round, you draft mainly for upside as the chances that guys in the 7th round will truly make an impact are slim. Although, 7th round guys are crucial for depth and special teams. Gemmel is a natural leader who acts like he was born to play football. He moves around the field, following the ball instinctively. He runs and bends fluidly and is agile. However, he struggles in coverage, has little experience in special teams, and struggles against double-teams or tough blockers. I think he is the perfect type of player to draft in the 7th. His upside is that of a star, but he will need to work hard. Regardless, he’s the ideal team player you want in your locker room, and that’s worth the 7th round pick.
Rams Fantasy Analysis
While this draft doesn’t have a ton for IDP or fantasy, it does affect it. Gemmel, McFadden, and Tariq are not worth anything in IDP. They will help your IDP teams by contributing to the Rams’ defense and helping their star players perform. If Gunter ends up with the Rams, I will draft him in the 5th round of rookie IDP drafts for the pure upside. Stash him in your taxi and watch him grow. In my opinion, Jesse Luketa ending up with the Rams would make him a 2nd round draft pick in IDP. He’s the perfect player for them there and would get a ton of playing time. Playing across from Donald and Floyd always helps your stat-production.
Mays, Fortner, and Rosenthal will help the Rams’ offense by opening lanes for the RBs and protecting Stafford. A healthy Stafford is a boon for your fantasy team, while Cakers getting wide lanes will help his health. Either way, more O-Line depth helps fantasy production. It will also help the Rams push for a 2nd Super Bowl win in a row.
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