After giving up the farm for the rights to draft QB Jared Goff in the recent 2016 NFL Draft the Los Angeles Rams didn’t have a pick in the second or third rounds. If Goff doesn’t start, which is probable at this juncture, that would mean the club would probably get zero influx of game day talent this upcoming season.
If you’re a Rams fan that’s not a good thing. If you’re a Rams coach that’s not a good thing. If you’re a member of the Rams front office it’s not a good thing. Should the team work another trade? Work the wire? Comb the available free agents? Canvass the local super market?
Not so fast. The Rams front office tabbed two gems in the fourth round that could make an impact on the 2016 campaign.
TE Tyler Higbee – 6’6″ 249 lbs Western Kentucky 33 14″ arms 10 1/4″ hands – What’s not to like? He’s big and strong now but he’s still growing. He should settle in around 260 lbs and still keep his speed. A former WR he’s a smooth strider for a big man with soft, secure hands. Excellent quickness off the line which allows him to work the seam. Good speed. Has no issues working the middle of the field and can protect the ball with his body as he catches it.
Higbee is still growing. He’ll need to get stronger and more physical in the blocking game. In college he could run around and out-physical guys for the ball. He’ll need to get his route tree down and learn how to create separation with his breaks but he should be an effective mismatch weapon now as a TE2 with the ability to step into the starting gig as soon as he can consistently handle edge pressure and get his run blocking angles down.
Being injured a good bit of his last college season (knee) helped push his stock down but this guy is a stud and a steal in the fourth. Tyler will be the starter. It’s a matter of when, not if.
WR Pharoh Cooper – 5’11” 203 lbs South Carolina – 32 1/4″ arms 9 1/8″ hands – Quick is an understatement. Too short, too slow (4.63 40 yard dash). That’s what the NFL scout’s say as Cooper doesn’t fit the “template” for many an NFL team. That allowed the Rams to get 3rd round value by nabbing the highly productive slot WR with their second pick of the 4th round.
Cooper has a lot to learn. So do most receivers coming into the NFL. From a military family Pharoh has a tremendous work ethic and (as mentioned) the ability to out-quick anyone. Cooper won’t be a weapon over the top. Fisher will deploy him underneath where he will be able to get open quickly and with consistency. He should be a hot read on blitzes since he will almost always be open early and still has the size to help block downfield on running plays.
Slide him into the slot. Let him learn from Tavon Austin and Brian Quick. Marinate. Wait patiently. Enjoy.
Two players in the fourth that had higher round values the Rams identified and selected. 2016 is looking better.
What say you Sports Nation?
Another Left Coast Sports Post: on Twitter – Steven Van Over