LA Rams have a good draft class to find a center

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CoachAllred

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LA Rams have a good draft class to find a center

by Bret Stuter6 minutes ago



Oh yes, the NFL is ramping up for another NFL Draft. While the draft is filled with reasons for optimism, the 2021 NFL Draft brings with it a sense of concern for the LA Rams. You see, the team has an immovable set of needs for their roster heading into the draft, and they are unavoidable. Drafting for a need is never an ideal situation because the draft itself is so unpredictable.

Yet heading into the draft, there is little guesswork about the positions that the Rams should be focussed upon. While there are some positions that could use more talent, the Rams need depth at offensive center, outside linebacker, cornerback, offensive tackle, and linebacker. Beyond that, the team could benefit from adding talent at practically any and all positions.

But there is the rub.

If the Rams face a situation at the 57th pick of the 2021 NFL Draft of choosing between a talented rookie who they expected to be one of the Top-15 selected on draft day or a position of need that they suspected may fall as far as the third round, which rookie’s name will the team call-out at the podium? If the team elects to go the best player available route (BPA), they risk missing out on addressing a position of need in this draft. But if they go after the positional need, they risk overreaching at the selection and miss out on the chance to dramatically improve the talent level of the overall roster.

It’s the NFL Draft version of the Kobayashi Maru, the unwinnable scenario. That damned-if-you-do-and-damned-if-you-don’t challenge. There is no way to win in this one.


Internal options

So what do the LA Rams do? Well, that is likely the question that the front office is tackling right now. The data is in, the prospects are now being assembled in any number of ways to ensure that come the moment of truth when the LA Rams step up to the podium for the first time, they will have instant answers available to the team as to how they believe their choices can best help the Rams roster.

One such question is the availability of NFL caliber centers in this draft. While the team will benefit from the healthy return of 2019 starting center Brian Allen, and the competition of reserve Coleman Shelton, neither player saw action in 2020. Of course, we haven’t much intel from the thoughts of offensive line coach Kevin Carberry.

Will he try to coach up rostered players like Tremayne Anchrum for the role? Anchrum is so intelligent and well-spoken, and he has a nice bit of mauler in him as well. Is this the chance for Jamil Demby to step into a larger role on the offensive line? In the past, he was used as a utility lineman across all five offensive line positions. Or will the Rams revert Austin Corbett back to the center position, and try to insert a player into the right guard spot?

Even if the LA Rams do not draft a single offensive lineman, they still have multiple options for their 2021 starting offensive line. The team will welcome back offensive lineman Chandler Brewer, who rejoins the team after opting out for 2020. The team will also be reinforced by the inclusion of veteran Jamil Demby. Yes, the LA Rams did lose a center to free agency. But the Rams roster already boasts 11 players. That is enough for a starter and backup at all five offensive line positions, plus one.


Don’t mock me
Simulating the NFL Draft has become almost like a video game. There are a number of great online NFL Draft simulators, like that of the Draft Network, First Pick, PFF, and Pro Football Network, just to name a few. While each has various levels of features, trades, draft strategy logic to auto pick for other teams, they all converge on two positives for the LA Rams.

First, they all agree that five quarterbacks will come off the board in round one, some project as early as five of the first 15 players selected. The second consensus is that the LA Rams will have multiple offensive center prospects to sort through in round two.

Players like Creed Humphrey, Quinn Meinerz, Josh Meyers, Kendrick Green, Landon Dickerson all or some project to be available at the 57th pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. (We’ve featured them in previous articles). By round three, the Rams will likely have fewer options for the center position. Creed Humphrey and Landon Dickerson are unanimously off the board by the 88th pick. Quinn Meinerz is more than likely gone. The Rams may still have a shot at drafting Kendrick Green or Josh Meyers. Michae Menet shows up for round three.

The 2021 NFL Draft will be pretty wild. Even knowing what we know now, there is plenty of opportunity for a significantly talented prospect to fall through the cracks. Even players like Pittsburgh’s Jimmy Morrissey, Texas A&M’s Ryan McCollum, Georgia’s Trey Hill, or Stanford’s Drew Dalman could fall out of the draft and be signed as an undrafted free agent.


This is a draft year unlike any other. Prospects enter the draft without a 2021 NFL Scouting Combine. They either have played no football, some football, a lot of football, or a full 2020 NCAA schedule of football. Teams are still limited to virtual meetings with prospects, and cannot meet with them directly. And yet, the draft will happen, and the LA Rams will emerge with answers for their offensive center position. Still, there are no guarantees that it will be the answer you want.
 

WestCoastRam

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With the depth at center, if the Rams see a couple that they like at 57, I suspect they'll pull out an old play of theirs and trade down a few spots to pick up an extra selection.

This prob works too if Meinerz is gone and they feel like 57 is a tad high for the other guys.

I don't expect them to stay at 57.

Which makes me think of the general Rams strategy in the draft:

1) Trade down from 1st pick (usually a 2nd rounder!) to add capital in this draft.
2) Use additional pick from (1) or day three picks to maneuver in rounds 3 and 4 to ensure they get targeted players.
3) Use priority FA market to fill out any late round picks that were traded away for (2)
 
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Neil039

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It’s a tough call. They have to either believe they have their guy at 57 or feel confident no one will grab them before 88. In many of the mocks I have read or completed the top three are gone by 88, but drafting one at 57 appears to be a reach. If they can’t draft the guy they want possibly ex Chiefs C Reiter is the option.
 

CoachAllred

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here's hoping Creed Humphrey Oklahoma some how slips through the cracks.
 
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oldnotdead

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A center takes 2-3 years to develop. With Stafford, the Rams IMO won't want a rookie in front of him. The fact they didn't try to resign Blythe (thank god) would indicate to me they feel good about the guys they have. They drafted both Allen and Anchrum though Kromer wasted Anchrum's rookie year by keeping him as a 6'2" LT (makes me cringe just to think about it) so essentially he's a rookie particularly since it's a position he has never played. Anchrum's height wouldn't be a liability at center, and his long arms give him a better than average play radius than the average center. Being an OT would also indicate he has good feet, though when you look at his collegiate footwork it definitely needed work. But IMO Shelton is the most physical of the three and is capable of playing all 3 interior line positions. He's a big boy with good movement skills.

That said I definitely would expect them to add a center for the PS. The only center I expect them to sign is a LS and not all centers are good enough at that particular skill. But as far as a starting center I think it will be Allen or Shelton and whoever starts will be looked at as their long-term guy.
 
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dang

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With the depth at center, if the Rams see a couple that they like at 57, I suspect they'll pull out an old play of theirs and trade down a few spots to pick up an extra selection.

This prob works too if Meinerz is gone and they feel like 57 is a tad high for the other guys.

I don't expect them to stay at 57.

Which makes me think of the general Rams strategy in the draft:

1) Trade down from 1st pick (usually a 2nd rounder!) to add capital in this draft.
2) Use additional pick from (1) or day three picks to maneuver in rounds 3 and 4 to ensure they get targeted players.
3) Use priority FA market to fill out any late round picks that were traded away for (2)
I’d like to see the Rams trade down from R2 for 2 R3 picks. That would give them 4 picks in the 75-103 range to add depth and future talent to the roster including a very good OC prospect.
 

WestCoastRam

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I’d like to see the Rams trade down from R2 for 2 R3 picks. That would give them 4 picks in the 75-103 range to add depth and future talent to the roster including a very good OC prospect.
I'm not sure that really adds up as far draft compensation.
 

blackbart

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Snead has the Jim Kirk playbook and will soundly thrash the Kobayashi Maru game once again.

Thinking his hands are tied is probably just what they want. And in 3 years we might see the true answer.

Our guy is the master.
 

dpjax

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As we’ve been emphasizing, there is no real consensus on the top-ranked center in the 2021 NFL Draft class, but it is also possible that the LA Rams will be able to grab whoever that is because of how the board could fall this year. The Rams are one of the only teams with an obvious need at center, there doesn’t appear to be a player at the position who has been considered a lock for the first round, and every few years the top center does go near the 57th overall pick that LA currently holds.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd
© Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
While it is important to remember that it is rare for non-first round centers to start as rookies, the Rams should be able to do no less than bring in serious competition for Coleman Shelton, Brian Allen, and Tremayne Anchrum in training camp if they want to. Or the Rams could decide that even if all centers remain on the board at 57, that only gives Les Snead more reason to believe that a good one will still be available at 88 or 103 and instead focus his efforts on the best player available or another need.


But if Oklahoma center Creed Humphrey is still on the board at 57, there’s a good chance he’s one player who won’t be an option 33 picks later.

The Athletic’s Dane Brugler posted his comprehensive 2021 NFL Draft guide this week and he ranked Humphrey as the top center in this class, giving him and two others a second round grade. He instead listed Landon Dickerson as a guard, giving him a 1st-2nd round grade with an “all-pro ceiling” with the versatility to play center. Here’s Brugler’s summary of Humphrey, who notably also has a history with wrestling that goes back to when he was 4 years old.

SUMMARY: A three-year starter at Oklahoma, Humphrey was a mainstay as the Sooners’ center in head coach Lincoln Riley’s scheme. After redshirting in 2018, he won the starting center job and didn’t allow a sack in his 37 career starts, earning Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year honors as a sophomore and junior. Humphrey plays with outstanding strength and smarts, which allows him to out-physical his opponent, as his wrestling background and mentality translate to the field. He doesn’t always show the power to be a people-mover in the run game, but he finds a way to get the job done and tested above average in every category at his pro day. Overall, Humphrey is a technician with the reaction quickness, play strength and intangibles that NFL teams target for the position. He projects as an NFL starting center with guard potential.
Brugler has Humphrey as his 46th overall prospect, putting him in range of the Rams’ first pick at 57. Should the Rams let Humphrey pass them by if they get the chance and go with one of the other centers in the class, or is he too good to let go?
 

CGI_Ram

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The Rams are one of the only teams with an obvious need at center, there doesn’t appear to be a player at the position who has been considered a lock for the first round, and every few years the top center does go near the 57th overall pick that LA currently holds.
To what degree this is true, it is very good for us.

Without a true need, few teams will “waste” an early pick for something they need down the road. So... I could see the centers in this draft falling.
 

TheTackle

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Creed Humphreys has been my favourite center throughout the process but the gap isn’t huge between the top 3 or 4. If we want to pick one with our first pick, a good player will be available, bank it

However, I think we should go with BPA at one of C CB or LB/Edge. Of course, I would be shocked if Humphreys (and perhaps Myers) are not placed higher than 57 on our board. Dickerson will drip into the 3rd if teams are worried about his injuries. That would be good value if he is the 4th center take
 

fanotodd

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If the player the Rams FO views as the “absolute best Center in the draft” is sitting there at #58, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t grab him. There is only one “best player in the draft” at every position and if you have a chance to grab one...you do it. It’s never a bad pick.

When the Rams drafted Aaron Donald, the last thing they needed was DL. It was the best position group on the team. Not saying there’s a HOF, generational Center in the draft, but if the guy whom the Rams FO deems the best falls to them, they have to grab him.

Because that’s not likely, I don’t necessarily see a Center at #58 unless it’s a guy they have to have and he won’t be there when we pick again. That smells like a trade down scenario to me.
...but a Center needs to be selected on day 2; otherwise we’re looking at a developmental guy who might not be anything more than interior depth—not exactly solving the problem.
 

Soul Surfer

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That's what they said about the 2018 draft when we picked Brian Allen.

I'll believe the quality when I see it.

Though I do think they'll take a center after the fourth round.
 

Ramstien

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I look for the Rams first three picks, in the draft, to go like this; CB, OL, ILB. Of course, anything can happen with Sneed and trades, or some player falling in the draft that was though to go much higher. I for one love Sneed's strategy of trading 1st round picks for proven NFL players.
 

Soul Surfer

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I look for the Rams first three picks, in the draft, to go like this; CB, OL, ILB. Of course, anything can happen with Sneed and trades, or some player falling in the draft that was though to go much higher. I for one love Sneed's strategy of trading 1st round picks for proven NFL players.
I am thinking;

Cornerback
OLB
DL
ILB
Center
 

fearsomefour

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I'll be disappointed if Snead doesn't target a center--(in the early rounds)
I would be disappointed but not surprised.
I’ve been very unsuccessful trying to predict what the Rams are going to do under Snead.
If he see centers he is “ehh” about but there is an edge player or receiver or CB he loves the value of I could see him skipping C all together early on.
Remember how late Sullivan was brought in after McVay was hired.
I’m sure they have their internal options (Allen, Shelton, Corbett, Arch) ranked out, their draft rankings and a short list of vet unsigned Centers they can bring in.
 

Merlin

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Meinerz probably goes before we pick. Teams prioritize freakish ability and his strength is real. Not talking bench here either. I'm talking body strength, leverage, etc. He looks like he is going to be hard to move even as a rook at this level and that is hard to find with Centers. Usually the guys who go early have at least some of that ability to anchor vs a power rush but also bring really good technique which allows them to play right away. Then you trail off into guys who need to get stronger and/or better at technique and that's not a bad thing that group produces a lot of starters.

But this guy is different. He's all brute power without that polish in technique you normally see with early guys. Which means he's a Guard for purposes of this draft with maybe a future at center.

Either way I don't know how many of these guys can start day one. Dickerson is my favorite IOL period but it's hard to see him getting to us. I really like his film. Humphrey is probably the best of the rest but the Rams may favor a guy like Myers. Who knows. Either way they're probably drafting a center for the depth chart which means it's not something they're gonna reach for at 57. I expect that at least, that it'll be a draft & develop guy.
 

Loyal

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To what degree this is true, it is very good for us.

Without a true need, few teams will “waste” an early pick for something they need down the road. So... I could see the centers in this draft falling.
We just saw our guy at #33, so we had to move up. F*ck those 6th round picks ~ McSnead
 
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