Alden Gonzalez breaks down the Los Angeles Rams' 2017 draft class.
Round 2, No. 44 overall: Gerald Everett, TE, South Alabama
My take: The Rams traded down from 37th overall with the Bills in order to gain an additional third-round pick. This pick fills their biggest immediate need, especially when you consider just how crucial tight ends are for new coach Sean McVay. No team received more yards out of the tight end position than McVay's Redskins last season, and his hope is Everett develops into his new Jordan Reed. Everett, at 6-foot-3 and 239 pounds, was a four-year starter who bounced around in college and didn't begin playing football until his senior year of high school. Over his past two years at South Alabama, he caught 90 passes for 1,292 yards and 12 touchdowns, being named All-Sun Belt Conference each season. Everett brings speed, athleticism and ball skills that make him a mismatch against linebackers and safeties. He needs to improve as a blocker, but he can be an immediate weapon for franchise quarterback Jared Goff.
How he fits: Everett joins Tyler Higbee, a fourth-round pick last year, to give the Rams two young pass-catching tight ends who can line up on the outside. This position became a major need after the Rams cut ties with veteran Lance Kendricks earlier this offseason. Their three pass-catching tight ends -- Everett, Higbee and Temarrick Hemingway, a sixth-round pick last year -- have combined for 11 NFL receptions but will get a chance to prove themselves immediately. The Rams have finished last in the NFL in yards each of the past two seasons. They need more talent at receiver, but Tavon Austin signed a long-term extension last year, Robert Woods was signed in free agency, and Pharoh Cooper was a fourth-round pick in 2016.
Round 3, No. 69: Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington
My take: The Rams got another weapon for Goff with Kupp, a possession receiver who set 15 FCS records in college. Kupp, 6-2 and 204 pounds, finished his career with 428 catches, 73 touchdowns and 6,464 yards, more than any collegiate receiver at any level. Kupp was the FCS Offensive Player of the Year each of the past two years. He isn’t necessarily explosive -- as evidenced by a 4.62 40-yard dash and a 31-inch vertical leap -- but he is a reliable pass-catcher with soft hands. It’s a great fit for Goff, who would benefit from a security blanket on those in-breaking routes that McVay loves to run. Kupp is expected to be ready to contribute right away, which the Rams, devoid of impact receivers for about a decade, desperately need.
How he fits: It’s no secret that the Rams badly needed more weapons for Goff. And they got them with their first two picks, first with an explosive tight end and then with a reliable receiver. The Rams now have two tight ends, Everett and Higbee, who can line up on the outside and beat teams down the field. Their top four receivers -- Austin, Woods, Cooper and Kupp -- are better at short-to-intermediate routes. But the Rams are also hopeful that Austin, who boasts blazing speed, can develop into a vertical deep threat, a la DeSean Jackson.
Round 3, No. 91: John Johnson, S, Boston College
My take: Johnson has good instincts in coverage, and you can’t have enough of those guys in such a pass-happy league. He has solid ball skills and soft hands, with an ability to produce interceptions and has experience as both a free safety and a slot corner. Johnson had three interceptions in each of his last two years with the Eagles and really improved his stock as a senior, adding 77 tackles and nine pass breakups, then impressing at the Senior Bowl. At 6-0, 208 pounds, he’s athletic and fluid for the position, but needs to improve on his routes to the ball and his physicality as a tackler.
How he fits: The Rams’ two starting safeties -- Maurice Alexander and Lamarcus Joyner, who is transitioning from slot corner -- are slated to be unrestricted free agents next offseason. So is their most experienced backup, Cody Davis. The Rams needed to address depth in their secondary with this draft, and Johnson potentially gives it to them at two different positions (Trumaine Johnson, E.J. Gaines and Nickell Robey-Coleman are the Rams’ looming free agents at cornerback). Johnson also excelled as a special-teams gunner and can help the Rams there, too.
Round 4, No. 117: Josh Reynolds, WR, Texas A&M
My take: Reynolds gives the Rams some much-needed big-play ability at wide receiver. At 6-3, 194 pounds, Reynolds has great leaping ability, can stretch the field and is a major threat after the catch. In three years for the Aggies, Reynolds averaged 17 yards per catch. His 2,788 receiving yards and 30 touchdowns the past three years led the SEC. But he still needs to bulk up and needs to clean up some of his drops on easy catches.
How he fits: With Reynolds, the Rams have an outside threat to join a receiving corps that includes Austin, Woods, Cooper and third-round pick Kupp, none of whom profile as such. Reynolds is the seventh wide receiver or tight end selected by the Rams since the start of the 2016 draft. It’s all about accumulating weapons for Goff, last year’s No. 1 overall pick. The Rams selected Reynolds after moving back five spots with the Bears, which netted an additional sixth-round pick.
Round 4, No. 125: Samson Ebukam, OLB, Eastern Washington
My take: Amazingly enough, Ebukam represents the Rams' second pick from Eastern Washington, having teamed with third-round receiver Cooper Kupp. The Rams moved up 16 spots with the New York Jets and gave up the 13th pick of the sixth round to take Ebukam. He brings speed, explosiveness and football intelligence but needs time to develop, according to draft reports. At 6-3, 240 pounds, Ebukam doesn't necessarily have the size to operate out of a three-point stance.
How he fits: The Rams operated without much linebacker depth last season, but they need more of it now that defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is converting them from a 4-3 to a 3-4. Ebukam can be a backup to the recently added Connor Barwin, who signed a one-year contract, and Robert Quinn, who is transitioning from defensive end. One of their inside linebackers, Alec Ogletree, heads into his final year before free agency unless the Rams sign him to an extension.
Round 6, No. 189: Tanzel Smart, DT, Tulane
My take: Smart is a 3-technique who’s listed at 6-1, 296 pounds. He’s a bit undersized, but is quick and disruptive, compiling 9.5 sacks in 36 games as a starter over the past three years. Smart was first-team All-American Athletic Conference in both 2015 and 2016, compiling 18 1/2 tackles for loss in his final season.
How he fits: Smart will provide some depth for a Rams defensive line that features Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers. Three of their other key defensive linemen -- Dominique Easley, Ethan Westbrooks and Tyrunn Walker -- are eligible for free agency next offseason. Smart probably profiles as a nose tackle in the NFL.
Round 6, No. 206: Sam Rogers, FB, Virginia Tech
My take: Rogers lined up in multiple spots for the Hokies, including tailback, and can bring some versatility in the passing game. A former walk-on, Rogers is hailed for his toughness, durability and work ethic, having played in 53 games (25 of them starts) in his four seasons at Virginia Tech. He finished with 1,494 yards from scrimmage and 11 touchdowns.
How he fits: The Rams will bring Rogers in as a fullback, which makes you wonder about the future of Cory Harkey, one of their key locker-room leaders over the past four years. Rogers is 5-10, 231 pounds, but is a strong worker and can be a violent blocker. Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster once described Rogers as "a nonstop ball of butcher knives."
Round 7, No. 234: Ejuan Price, OLB, Pittsburgh
My take: Price actually played six seasons at Pitt, going through three head coaches, due to pectoral and back injuries that forced him to miss extended time. He really started to come into his own over the past two years. In 2015, Price racked up 11 1/2 sacks and was named first-team All-ACC. In 2016, he picked up 13 sacks, tied for sixth most in the FBS, and was first-team All-ACC once again.
How he fits: Price is the second outside linebacker selected by the Rams, after Ebukam in the fourth round. They need additional depth there because they’re switching from a 4-3 to a 3-4. Price, listed at 5-foot-11 and 241 pounds, is undersized. But he has good burst and can be an effective sub-package rusher. The Rams’ last undersized defensive player from Pitt -- Aaron Donald -- worked out pretty well.