The 2020 season has just ended, and as of March 17, the 2021 campaign will open its doors. Touchdown Actu therefore takes the opportunity to offer you an overview of the different franchises during the off-season. Which players to keep and cut? Which free agent to extend? Which rookies to watch? Here are some ideas, franchise by franchise. In the spotlight today, the Los Angeles rams.
For the third time in Sean McVay’s four-year reign, the Rams have qualified for the playoffs. But once is not custom, it is the defense that carried this team during the season, especially in the second half of the season. Despite this, the team’s offensive limitations made it impossible to compete against the Packers in the divisional.
To remedy this, the Rams paid a heavy price to welcome Matthew Stafford (and get rid of Jared Goff’s contract). Expected as the one who will bring the Rams to a level, he will have to make the most of an attack in search of the level of 2017.
1 – Aaron Donald (DT)
2 – Jalen Ramsey (CB)
3 – Andrew Whitworth (T)
Season after season, Aaron Donald proves that he is one of the best defenders in history. Three-time defender of the year, he is the most two-man player in the league and yet he is still just as dominant. Over the last three seasons, he has managed 46.5 sacks and shows every week that he is the leader of this team. This will still be the case next year, and the defense will still have to surpass itself.
But the defense also features another NFL star, charismatic cornerback Jalen Ramsey. The former Jaguars has had a historic 2020 season, and his ability to put out the opposing number 1 receiver is invaluable. The defense is therefore a two-headed monster, and Ramsey will have the duty to take care of the back of the field.
On the attack side, Matthew Stafford will not be alone. And if the targets are numerous, the leader is a lineman, tackle Andrew Whitworth. The 39-year-old veteran, three-time All Pro and four-time Pro Bowler, is the spiritual leader of this offense and will be on a mission to facilitate the integration of Matthew Stafford into this offense.
Michael Brockers (DL)
The Rams are projected 27 million above the cap, and it will therefore be necessary to part with some players under contract. Brockers could be one of the victims of these budget cuts. Despite a more than decent season, his departure would save $4 million. It is this kind of economy that is going to be necessary.
The summer man
Matthew Stafford (QB)
Difficult to choose another player. The former draft number 1 chose to leave Detroit to finally play for the title, and he has a good squad around him to succeed. Receivers Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods, tight end Tyler Higbee or runner Darrell Henderson, there is talent at all skill positions.
The hardest part is yet to come, since we will have to relaunch a team that has been amorphous at times offensively in 2020. Matthew Stafford will have to prove that he can be solid in the regular season, but also in the playoffs, which he has only known 3 times in his career.
Top 5 Free Agents
1 – Leonard Floyd (EDGE)
2 – Troy Hill (CB)
3 – Austin Blythe (C/G)
4 – Gerald Everett (TE)
5 – Josh Reynolds (WR)
In the shadow of Aaron Donald, is well helped by defenses that focused on the defender of the year, Leonard Floyd had an excellent season with 10.5 sacks and 19 quarterback hits. He’s going to have offers, and the Rams may not have the course to win the auction. A departure seems inevitable and the pass rush will have to make up for this probable departure.
Troy Hill has had the season of his life, and he too could leave. Versatile cornerback, correct holder for most franchises, he will leave if the market ignites on the position. Another starter, Austin Blythe, has had a good season in the center and his running skills will give him visibility for teams relying mainly on this aspect of the game.
As for the luxury substitutes, Gerald Everett and Josh Reynolds will try to find a starting place elsewhere, but a return is possible.
The top 5 needs
1 – Linebacker
2 – Interior offensive line
3 – Left Tackle
4 – Tight End
5 – Slot Cornerback
Since the departure of Cory Littlteton, the Rams linebacker group is quite weak, it is the only fault of this team. And the Rams don’t have many draft picks, so they’re going to have to recruit smart to strengthen the position.
Same observation on the interior offensive line, but the solutions could be less expensive at the post. The free agency is rich in veteran players on these positions, which will interest Los Angeles.
If there is still financial capacity, the cornerback and tight end positions could also be reinforced. A player like Brian Poole could be a strong reinforcement in this defense in order to provide stability at the back.
Alex Mack (Centre)
The interior offensive line needs to be reinforced, with a veteran who can accompany the young players in their progression. Although Mack is 35 years old and has had a difficult season in 2020, he represents an improvement for the Rams line at a price that should be very reasonable.
Seven-time pro Bowler and member of the typical team of the 2010 decade, his resume speaks for itself, and the fact that Mack is a native of Los Angeles will surely help convince him.
The new blood
Jackson Carman (OL, Clemson)
The Rams must prepare the succession of Andrew Whitworth, but have a player who can start as a guard from his rookie season in the meantime. The Rams don’t have a first round, but can find that player in the second.
Powerful player with violent hands, he is not the most mobile of tackles, but has the potential to become a good starting player in the NFL. Absolutely imperial in racing games, it will be a real asset for the installation of an effective racing game.
Autre choix : James Hudson (OT, Cincinnati), Brady christensen (OL, BYU), Dillon Radunz (OT, Noth Dakota State), Jabril Cox (LB, LSU), Elijah Molden (CB, Washington), Deonte Brown (IOL, Alabama), Trey Smith (IOL, Tennessee)