The Los Angeles Rams returned to the playoffs in 2020 after a one-year hiatus. However, their offensive inconsistencies and resulted in a divisional-round playoff departure and a seismic shift at the game’s most important position.
While the Rams rebounded from a down 2019 campaign, quarterback Jared Goff appeared to stagnate. The former No. 1 overall pick still produced an occasional dominant performance like his three-touchdown outing against the Philadelphia Eagles, but his overall level of play did not show the same recovery that the rest of the team exhibited. Those frustrations boiled over into the offseason when head coach Sean McVay referred to Goff as Los Angeles’ quarterback “right now” as opposed to their future at the position.
Those tensions didn’t dissipate in the weeks that followed, and the Rams ultimately traded Goff in a blockbuster deal that brought back longtime Detroit Lions starter Matthew Stafford. With Stafford now in the fold, Los Angeles hopes to produce its most prolific offense of the McVay era.
Los Angeles Rams 2021 Draft Picks
Round 2: No. 57, WR TuTu Atwell
Round 3: No. 103, LB Ernest Jones
Round 4: No. 117, DT Bobby Brown III; No. 141, WR Jacob Harris
Round 7: No. 233, RB Jake Funk; No. 249, WR Ben Skowronek; No. 252, LB Chris Garrett
Offense: Offensive line
The Rams’ immediate future along the offensive line appears set, with 39-year-old left tackle Andrew Whitworth pushing off retirement for another year and three of the unit’s four other starters returning for 2021. However, Whitworth cannot play forever, and the team lacks an apparent successor to the decorated tackle. Furthermore, center Austin Blythe left Los Angeles for an affordable one-year deal with the Kansas City Chiefs, leaving the Rams with a massive question mark in the middle of their O-line.
Though the Rams do not have a first-round pick this year, they could quite conceivably find an immediate or future starter with the No. 57 overall selection. Liam Eichenberg could fit their wide-zone scheme, as would Dillon Radunz. Eichenberg profiles as more-traditional left tackle while Radunz could potentially kick inside if needed.
Free agency saw safety John Johnson III depart Los Angeles for a multiyear deal with the Cleveland Browns. While the Rams have regularly invested draft picks at the position, they will have a hard time replacing Johnson’s contributions without additional help. Trevon Moehrig will probably come off the board before the Rams’ turn, but he would slide in nicely into the defense.
And while the cornerback position remains well stocked for 2021 with Jalen Ramsey leading the way, the Rams face the prospect of losing Darious Williams next offseason. The front office could get ahead of the problem this year by finding Williams’ successor in the draft, and a player like Asante Samuel Jr. could fit in well.
Dream first pick
Alabama’s Landon Dickerson could start his rookie season on the PUP due to the ACL tear he suffered in the SEC Championship Game, but he has tremendous upside as a unanimous All-American selection and could eventually secure the center position vacated by Blythe.