2023 NFL Draft Recap: Los Angeles Rams
The 2023 NFL Draft has concluded after months of scrutiny about these prospects, potential landing spots, team and scheme fits, and so on. Now we get to start the entire process all over again now that we have team landing spots for these college prospects with their new NFL teams.
Today, we tackle the Los Angeles Rams and how they fared in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Los Angeles' 2023 NFL Draft Selections:
- Round 2, Pick 36 - Steve Avila, G, TCU
- Round 3, Pick 77 - Byron Young, EDGE, Tennessee
- Round 3, Pick 89 - Kobie Turner, DT, Wake Forest
- Round 4, Pick 128 - Stetson Bennett, QB, Georgia
- Round 5, Pick 161 - Nick Hampton, EDGE, Appalachian State
- Round 5, Pick 174 - Warren McClendon, OT, Georgia
- Round 5, Pick 175 - Davis Allen, TE, Clemson
- Round 5, Pick 177 - Puka Nacua, WR, BYU
- Round 6, Pick 182 - Tre'Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, CB, TCU
- Round 6, Pick 189 - Ochaun Mathis, EDGE, Nebraska
- Round 7, Pick 215 - Zach Evans, RB, Ole Miss
- Round 7, Pick 223 - Ethan Evans, P, Wingate
- Round 7, Pick 234 - Jason Taylor II, S, Oklahoma St.
- Round 7, Pick 259 - Desjuan Johnson, EDGE, Toledo
The 2023 Fantasy Football Impact:
Los Angeles came into this draft knowing it would use a Day 2 pick on a prospect to backup Matthew Stafford. The Rams and Stafford are married to each other for the next three seasons and the only QB on the roster when it selected Georgia's Stetson Bennett at 128th overall. Los Angeles struggled to find an NFL-caliber backup to keep them competitive in 2022 after Stafford didn't rush back from injury in a lost season. Sean McVay tried three different quarterbacks throughout the year before turning to castoff Baker Mayfield to carry them across the finish line.
Bennett famously drove the bus for an ultra-talented Georgia team en route to back-to-back BCS National Championships. Los Angeles was intrigued enough to see if Bennett could run an NFL offense with his smart, efficient play. Bennett slid in this draft because he's an older prospect at 25 years old and is limited in his ability to push the ball downfield. But if he can prove to be an efficient game manager in the NFL, he can carve out a career similar to Jimmy Garoppolo. The Rams are expected to bring in a couple more arms to camp to keep Stafford on a pitch count during spring and summer workouts. Expect to see a ton of Bennett in the preseason as McVay opts not to play starters during those games.
Davis Allen is a developmental player, with both Tyler Higbee and Brycen Hopkins entering the final season of their contracts. Higbee had scored 20 TDs in his career with Los Angeles but turned 30 years old in January. Hopkins was once a 2020 4th-round developmental selection in his own right but has only produced eight receptions in his career. Hopkins also was suspended three games last year for violating the NFL's policy of substance abuse. How Allen can impact this roster with his ability to block and can reach some mid-TE2 value with his ball skills and wide catch radius. More of a real-life prospect than a fantasy asset.
Puka Nacua, the two-way threat, is an interesting find in the fifth round for Los Angeles. Nacua led BYU in receiving over the last two seasons and totaled five touchdowns as a rusher. Nacua is a dart throw simply due to the fact he hasn't played a full season since his freshman year with the Cougars. If he can stay healthy, he has a chance to stick on the roster by revitalizing McVay's jet sweeps and be featured on sub packages much like Brandon Powell last season. Powell will is now in Minnesota with former Rams OC Kevin O'Connell, so the path to impact this roster is evident.
The last fantasy-relevant player in this draft was a true value pick for the Rams. Cam Akers is the big winner here because it's his job to lose to start camp, but it's possible Zach Evans plays right away as Akers' backup and change-of-pace option for McVay. The Ole Miss product excelled by using his speed to stretch defenses to the boundaries - a trait McVay loves so he can move the pocket and set up play-action schemes. Los Angeles drafted Kyren Williams last season, but he was strictly a third down back and even lost some snaps to Ronnie Rivers late in the season.