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LA Rams Draft Grade

The LA Rams didn't have a first round pick, because they traded that pick in the move to acquire Jalen Ramsey. In the second round the Rams selected TuTu Atwell the wide receiver out of Louisville. He's 5'7" and 155 lbs, and if you're unfamiliar with this player,  that's not a typo, this guy is actually 5'7" and 155 lbs. He's an explosive player. Atwell has some serious breakaway speed. He can pull away from defenders in the open field. He's quick and fast, and he has a sudden burst and quick change of direction, but he also has that top end speed where he can pull away from defenders. Atwell has an awesome burst in short yardage. He is really elusive and he's a shifty, explosive player. He's a lot of fun to watch. Atwell is also a very productive player; he led the ACC in receiving yards with 1276 yards in 2019. He did a lot of damage in that conference, and he, and he's a smart player. This is a guy who really knows how to get open. He can start and stop on a dime and his change of direction quickness is off the charts. The knocks on him are that he's not good in traffic and that really that comes down to his size because he lacks the size and play strength to really fight for those contested balls. I think his size is really the biggest concern. This is a guy who's really, really small even for a slot wide receiver. I think for me that's the biggest question mark. I really see him as more of a gadget player and unfortunately because of that I think he has limited upside. There's been many wide receivers who have come into the NFL with two inches and even 20 pounds or more on Atwell, and they couldn't make it in the NFL. So for me it's hard to get too excited about this guy even though his tape is exciting. He makes explosive plays and I get all of that. I do think Sean McVay will find ways to use him, but I think in the second round it might have been a little rich for me. This was a deep wide receiver class and the Rams probably could have gotten a guy who's a little more of a complete player and a guy who can play outside the numbers. I don't think we're going to see that from Atwell, but he'll certainly be interesting to see what he does for the Rams.

The second pick in the third round for the Rams was Ernest Jones. He's a linebacker out of South Carolina. He's 6'2" and 230 pounds. This is a guy who's a tough, hard nosed linebacker. He plays a physical brand of football. Jones has a really high football IQ. He's a nice read and react player, as far as reading a play and knowing how to get in the right position. He's a wrap up tackler with really good technique. Jones is a really sound player in that regard. He gets downhill in a hurry and he really plugs running lanes. Jones is an excellent player against the run and coaches rave about his attitude and his work ethic. Many analysts had a second round grade on him, so I think this is good value in the third round. I think to get a guy like this where they got him was definitely a steal in that regard. The knock on his game is he's below average as far as athletic ability. He's not the most explosive player or the quickest player, and because of this he struggles to cover tight ends and running backs out of the backfield, which makes him really a two down linebacker and a goal line package guy. He's going to be a liability on third down and in obvious passing situations. Ernest Jones has very slow change of direction in space, which is one of the reasons he has a hard time covering guys. 20 years ago, a guy like Ernest Jones would have been a late first round pick, but the game has changed and it's a different era and guys like him just aren't as valuable. In the modern era with so many three and four wide receiver sets that offenses run he will be a liability. I do think he's good enough to compete for a starting middle linebacker job, so I don't think it's a bad pick it's just nothing to get too excited about.

I really liked their pick in the fourth round, Robert Rochelle the cornerback from Central Arkansas. This is a player who was a little under the radar coming from a small school but he's a ball hawk. I love his game tape. He had five interceptions in 2019, so he's definitely a value pick that I really liked in the fourth but overall I'm just not really crazy about TuTu Atwell they're their second round pick. I don't ever see him really becoming more than a slot-gadget type player; there's really no precedent for a guy his size making a big impact in the NFL. They passed on a lot of really good players with that pick. I do think he'll find a role but I'm iffy on his durability and longevity in the NFL. Ernest Jones is a nice player that should contribute right away, but he's limited as far as his upside and what he can do defensively, so it's kind of a ho-hum draft in my opinion and that's why I'm giving them a "C+" 

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