The NFL draft is set to begin April 28 and the Los Angeles Rams hold five picks in this year's selection process. For the next week and a half, we'll take a look at a different position every day with what the Rams have in place, what they need and when they might address it.
We begin the countdown with a look at this year's crop of running backs.
What's needed: The Rams have not been shy about drafting running backs under Jeff Fisher's guidance. In fact, they've actually come up with their past three primary starters at the position in each of the past three drafts. It's safe to expect that run to end this year barring injury, as Gurley is clearly entrenched not only as the starting back but also the centerpiece of the Rams offense moving forward. Bringing Cunningham back as a restricted free agent was a must as he's become the team's primary third-down back and best kick returner. Mason was supposed to be the speedy complement to Gurley in 2015 but struggled with his opportunities and has had some off-the-field issues that have left his spot on the team in a tenuous position. Mason has some work to do to reclaim his spot in the pecking order. Brown got some chances in the season finale and has some promise as a powerful backup option who can chip in on special teams. Watts was suspended indefinitely last year and his future with the team is also cloudy. The Rams are in pretty good shape here because of Gurley and Cunningham, and Brown is intriguing, but a speedy back might be a worthwhile pickup if Mason's issues persist.
Verdict: Since the Rams only have five picks and the first one will be used on a quarterback, it seems unlikely they won't be using one of their five picks on a running back. The two fourth-round and two sixth-round picks Los Angeles will have left after making the No. 1 overall pick don't leave much room for the Rams to fill their other needs. Those needs at positions such as receiver, tight end, safety, cornerback and kicker can't be completely ignored and will probably take precedence over adding another running back. We can't rule it out entirely given Fisher's history of drafting at the position, but it seems it would have to be a situation where a back is clearly the best player left on their board. More likely, they'll look to find another hidden gem as an undrafted free agent. After all, that's how they found Cunningham and Brown.