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By David Jackson | LA Rams Fans Forum

The Rams are playing it close to the vest in divulging who they have met with. So far, according to various sources the Rams have met with San Diego State P Matt Araiza (currently projected as high as a Round 3 prospect), UCLA Bruins OG Sean Rhyan (currently projected in Round 5), and have had a pre-draft meeting with North Dakota offensive tackle rookie prospect Matt Waletzko. (Currently projected as high as Round 6). Finally, The LA Rams have met with QB Malik Willis out of Liberty (Top-rated QB – Projected Round One) (Indicated as occurring at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine, but unconfirmed).

Additionally, the Rams have reportedly met with a few prospects who are projected to be UDFA’s. Those players include USC WR K.D. Nixon and Georgia St. TE Roger Carter.

My feeling is the Rams will draft to fill the needs in the secondary, OL and pass on drafting a punter. The Rams have drafted very well in the Snead / McVay era and I expect that to continue in this years draft and make selections that may surprise many of us.

With that said, here is my mock based on the BPA’s and the Rams needs. Please feel free to comment below.

JoJo Domann, LB | Pick #104

Nebraska linebacker JoJo Domann is a modern-day NFL linebacker prospect who is going to offer his next team plenty of value in the passing game. Domann lived as the field outside linebacker for the Huskers defense in 2021, frequently manning the hashes and aligning in space as a pseudo-nickel defender against spread formations. The Big Ten Conference schedule has offered Domann a nice mix of opportunities to showcase his skills—he played against several spread offenses such as Ohio State and Nebraska but also took on more traditional heavy-set offenses such as Michigan. Domann projects as an NFL starter for defenses that need to account for spacing issues—I’m not sure how good of a fit he will be for teams in the AFC South, for example, where run-heavy offenses like Tennessee and Indianapolis will force you to have to play heavy and be ready to fill between the tackles with consistency. But in divisions like the NFC West, for example, I could see Domann maximizing his potential as an impact defender and serving as a starting linebacker. Domann is at his best in coverage, he’s got very fluid zone drops to collision routes and uses his peripheral vision to feel route combinations. His reactive quickness and transitions in space are excellent and I think he can create a lot of ball production in the pro game. It is worth noting that Domann saw his season end two games early in 2021 after needing surgery on his left hand—although he played through most of the Purdue game with the injury and played the following week against Ohio State, one of the star performances of his career. He also suffered multiple ACL injuries early in his career at Nebraska, where he was originally a safety. Domann is also an older prospect, he’s a sixth-year senior who will (probably) be 25 years of age before the start of his first NFL minicamp (DOB is 07/28/1997). But with experience playing in the secondary and impressive coverage skills, Domann is sure to appeal to NFL teams looking to bolster their ability to handle 12-personnel grouping conflicts or maintain their run-fit integrity against 11-personnel. 

Percy Butler S, Louisiana | Pick #142

Percy Butler is an experienced defensive back for the Ragin’ Cajuns who has seen significant playing time since his freshman year in 2018. Butler has been a reliable player at the safety position. Going into the 2021 season, Butler received a lot of hype and was able to put together a good season and attract the attention of scouts—something that is hard to do as a defensive back in the Sun Belt Conference. Butler serves as a reliable run-fit defender for the Ragin’ Cajuns. He has the instincts to properly diagnose run plays and work downhill toward the line of scrimmage. Butler doesn’t have any exceptional athletic traits, but in the NFL, he can make some teams if he is able to use his natural instincts as a player. 

Pierre Strong Jr. RB, South Dakota State | Pick #175

Pierre Strong is a good athlete with good straight-line speed while showing good body control as a runner. In the passing game, he’s shown sufficient hands out of the backfield. He is a definite threat in space when he gets the ball on a check-down. He is physical and willing in pass protection but should be better in this regard with pro coaching. In the run game, he is a slasher-type runner that has been extremely productive at the FCS level. He is a good decision-maker who has a good feel for weak-arm cutbacks on a defender. He runs with good vision and instinctive feel in traffic. He will not be a back who breaks many tackles or a back who consistently creates when nothing’s there. He also has a lot of clear air production in their system. However, he has redeeming attributes in his vision, footwork, and home-run potential. In the NFL, he would be an optimal fit in a zone run scheme, ideally as a complementary piece who could also remain on the field on passing downs.

Jeffrey Gunter EDGE, Coastal Carolina | Pick #211

Jeffrey Gunter was the starting OLB/edge defender for the overachieving Sun Belt conference Coastal Carolina Chanticleers. Gunter originally committed to Coastal Carolina but after a few productive seasons transferred to N.C State only to later return to Coastal Carolina. During his time at Coastal Carolina, Gunter has been a productive player and has been one of the key pillars of a Coastal Carolina team that has received national attention for its high level of play. Gunter is a thickly-built prospect that likes to use his natural strength to overwhelm offensive linemen. In the run game, Gunter mostly aligns outside of the offensive tackle and does a good job setting the edge to help force outside runs back inside toward the field. As a pass rusher, Gunter’s move is converting speed to power to collapse the pocket. In the NFL, Gunter should start his career off predominantly as a run-down defender while he continues to develop his pass rush repertoire in the NFL. 

Sam Webb CB Missouri Western | Pick #212

Webb is a 6’2″, 200 pound defensive back that was a weapon on offense and defense for Excelsior Springs High School before joining the Griffons. As a senior in high school, Webb scored 12 touchdowns on offense and recorded four interceptions on defense. He earned All-State, All-District and All-Conference honors, and when colleges began calling, Sam chose the school that felt most like home.

In his first year with the Griffons, Webb redshirted to learn the defense. In 2017, his redshirt freshman year he played in 10 games and get this, he started 8 games.

He was second on his team in 2017 with three interceptions and his 99 yard interception return against Lindenwood was special.

In 2018, Webb started 11 of 12 games and finished with 34 tackles. Teams were not targeting Webb much his Sophomore year, and when they did he was breaking up passes. He finished second on the team in pass break-ups.

Last year, Sam Webb finished the season as an All-Conference player in the MIAA. He finished with 29 tackles and recorded 3 interceptions and 12 pass break-ups. He has great mechanics and looks quick on film. He has great size as well. I am expecting a four interception year from Webb, but would not be surprised if teams stay away from him. He will make you pay if you go his way.

James Empey IOL, BYU | Pick # 218

James aligns at Center for the Cougar offense. He is a sufficient level athlete with regards to his initial quickness off the snap, agility to redirect and body control. In the run game, he does a good job of snapping, getting his hands up and body in favorable positions. He is a technical sound player who demonstrates good body control and agility particularly when climbing to the second level. He does a good job on combo blocks in the run game. In the passing game, he is a strong player who demonstrates the ability to anchor and maintain the depth of the pocket. He demonstrates good length and has sufficient level punch in his pass set. He easily recognizes and anticipates twists inside and plays with good technique. He can handle the bull rush at that level but could be a concern in the NFL. He is a member of the LDS church and has participated in a mission, so his age is note worthy, as well.

He’s a little light for the position and is probably best suited in a run and cut scheme rather than a downhill power run offense. He’s not a great athlete and will need to rely on his good technique and instinctive feel to make up for his lack of good athleticism. He’s not a finisher and doesn’t play with a nasty block temperament. His age should be noted, as there may not be much upside and has likely peaked as a result. 

Eric JohnsonI DL, Missouri State | Pick # 238

Johnson caught fire in January after dominating practices at the NFLPA Game. He was then a late invite to the Senior Bowl and has been shooting up boards throughout the entire pre-draft process.

Johnson put on a show during his pro day on March 25. Measuring just under 6’4 1/2″ inches and tipping the scales at 299 pounds, he timed 4.88 seconds in the 40 with a blistering 10-yard split of 1.70 seconds. His three-cone timed 4.53 seconds, and Johnson looked terrific in position drills.

Andrew Stueber OT, Michigan | Pick # 253

Michigan offensive lineman Andrew Stueber has the physical demeanor and functional power to develop into a starting-caliber offensive lineman at the NFL level. There is likely to be some debate about Stueber’s value as an interior or outside blocker at the pro level, but with his long frame, I do think he’s best served to step into a role on the outside as an offensive tackle. Stueber isn’t the most fleet of foot to play on the edge, but he offers excellent length, very good power, and a savvy approach that allows him to process fronts and late motion effectively as a blocker in both the run game and as a pass protector. A brief stop at right guard for two games in an abbreviated 2020 season will feed the speculation to play Stueber inside, and at the very least that experience will aid his resume as being someone capable of accounting for depth at more than one spot on the line. It is worth mentioning that he suffered an ACL tear in 2019, costing him his entire season. He’s at his absolute best in short sets and when he’s asked to drive off the ball and reset the line of scrimmage. He’s old-school and a barroom brawler, which won’t be for everyone but makes him a great candidate to step into a run-heavy scheme and be given the chance to develop. 

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