At least when it comes to purely football developments, nothing reshaped the NFL landscape quite as much as the Los Angeles Rams’ acquisition of long-time Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. That move, which also sent Jared Goff to Michigan less than two years after signing a massive contract extension, furthered the Rams’ unique, aggressive approach to team-building that shows no signs of abating.
But while the Rams don’t mind upending traditional notions of personnel management, they find themselves without a first-round pick for the fifth consecutive year. While the team doesn’t have any backbreaking deficiency at the top of the roster, issues lie underneath the surface. The offensive line lost starting center Austin Blythe and doesn’t have a clear successor. The 2021 NFL Draft offers prospects such as Alabama’s Landon Dickerson and Oklahoma’s Creed Humphrey, but rookies at the position tend to struggle out of the gate.
Looking slightly down the line, Andrew Whitworth turns 40 in December and missed multiple games last season. Los Angeles could use 2021 to locate his eventual replacement on the second day of the draft and get him ready for if/when Whitworth suffers another injury. Fortunately for the team, the incoming rookie class has plenty of viable options that could last past the first round, including Notre Dame’s Liam Eichenberg.
Los Angeles Rams 2021 draft selections
No. 57: TuTu Atwell, WR
No. 103: Ernest Jones, LB
No. 117: Bobby Brown III, DT
No. 130: Robert Rochell, CB
No. 141: Jacob Harris, WR
No. 174: Earnest Brown IV, DE
No. 233: Jake Funk, RB
No. 249: Ben Skowronek, WR
No. 252: Chris Garrett, LB
Fantasy football impact
Atwell has all the speed in the world, and teams will need to keep him from getting behind them, but at 5’9”, 155 pounds, NFL corners will need to fear him going over the middle and running a diverse route tree. He hasn’t gotten that far yet. He may be able to scare defenses at different points in a game, but it’s going to be a tough task for him to develop into an every-down receiver. I don’t expect his fantasy production to ever be consistent.