Before the new NFL season, the Rams made a blockbuster trade with the Chiefs to acquire cornerback Marcus Peters. In exchange for Peters, the Chiefs receive a 2018 4th round pick and a 2019 2nd round pick. With this trade, are the Rams a contender in the NFC?
Los Angeles’ defence is bordering on elite, with superstar defensive tackle Aaron Donald and Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Peters. Their offence has emerging QB Jared Goff and Offensive Player of the Year Todd Gurley. Their receivers are above average and their offensive line has an excellent mix of veteran and emerging talents. Sean McVay won Head Coach of the Year and GM Les Snead have built a sustainable winning culture. So, what do the Rams need to do to ensure long-term success?
Lock Up Key Players to Long-Term Contracts
The Rams are in an interesting situation. They have a few players such as Trumaine Johnson and Lamarcus Joyner who are solid players, but may be too expensive to sign. However, they have some players who would clear lots of cap space and are no longer quality players. Some of which would be Tavon Austin and Robert Quinn.
If the Rams can sign some young, key players and release the older, less productive ones, the Rams can be built for success.
Draft Effectively to Plug Roster Spots and for Continued Development
If the Rams draft effectively, they can become a legitimate contender for the NFC. When I say “drafting effectively”, I mean that they should draft for need and for development. Their biggest needs right now would be offensive line and tight end. They also have veteran players at linebacker who could become expensive.
An example of having continued development would be the left tackle position. Pro Bowl tackle Andrew Whitworth is covering Goff’s blind side, but Whitworth is 36, so his years are limited. By investing a high draft pick on a tackle, they can develop under Whitworth.
Focus on Depth and Breadth
Some of the best teams in the NFL have great depth at various positions. Take the Eagles as an example. Yes, they have Foles under Wentz, but their running backs showed loads of depth. With Blount, Ajayi and Clement, they had a plethora of options in the run game.
As well as depth, they need breadth. Although the Patriots were a good team, one would have noticed their lack of breadth at their positions. Their edge rushers were abysmal and that could have been the difference in Super Bowl LII.
In conclusion, the Rams can certainly be contenders in the NFC. However, they must sign the right players and relieve cap space where necessary. As well, their draft strategy must include plugging in roster gaps and continued development in positions where veterans are currently starting. Finally, their ability to acquire depth and breadth on their roster will lead them to be contenders for the NFC and Super Bowl LIII.