By Earl Heath, Contributing Sports Writer

In this years NFL Draft many would expect the Rams to go early with selections on the defensive side of the ball. During the off season the team has lost five players from the defense and defensive coordinator Brandon Staley had departed to the Chargers 

They started by making four of the first five picks on the defensive side.  

The Rams won’t have a first-round pick in five drafts. 

   In the 2nd round at number 57 they chose Tutu Atwell wide receiver from Louisville. They then traded the 88th pick to San Francisco for the 117th pick and the 121st in the fourth round. The used the 103rd pick in the third round to get inside linebacker Ernest Jones from South Carolina.  

During the off season the Rams traded Jared Goff and two first round picks to Detroit for Quarterback Mathew Stafford. 

They signed former Long Beach Poly great Deshawn Jackson. Now Stafford appears to have a stable of good receivers to work with.  

“The more weapons you can surround yourself with offensively, especially around a player like Mathew Stafford, that’s important to us,” said coach Sean McVay. 

The 5-9 155-pound Atwell is a roadrunner type, last season he caught 46 passes for 625 yards and seven touchdowns in nine games for a 13.4 ypc. 

“I’m feeling great right now man just excited to be a Ram,” said Atwell. When asked about how much did the Rams communicated with him before the draft? He stated: “I had a couple of zoom calls with them, the Zoom calls went great very well. Wide Receivers coach (Eric Yarber) told me don’t be surprised if I don’t let you go past the second round.”  

 In 2019 Atwell led the Atlantic Coast Conference with 1,276 receiving yards and touchdowns (12). He also had 4 receptions of 70 yards or more. The former high school quarterback finished his career with 10 one hundred yard receiving games.    

“Were excited about being able to add him to our deep group Robert (Woods), Cooper (Kupp) and Van (Jefferson),” McVay said.  “So to be able to add another guy in the room who can make plays for us is a big time get for us and to be able to put players around Mathew (Stafford). 

Jones could be a big find, at linebacker. The 6-2,230 pounder  has a knack for the ball. He was the Gamecocks leading tackler in 2019 with 97 in the twelve games. In the shortened 2020 season he was team leader with 86 tackles in nine games including back to back games against (LSU) 19 and vs. Ole Miss 18.  

“He got some interesting traits where he’s a long armed human being,” Rams GM Les Snead said. “That allows him to blitz use his hands to bat those longer tackles. He’s a tough guy to throw over and he’s really, really sound in zone coverage.” 

Bobby Brown III from Texas A&M was a 4th round pick and the 117th overall selection. He considered a good run stopper who’ really excited to be on the field with Aaron Donald. ”It feels like an out of body experience,” said Brown. 

The loss of Michael Brockers (Lions) and Morgan Fox (Carolina) gives Brown a big chance to show what he can do. 

Other Ram picks include 4th round Robert Rochell CB from Central Arkansas. Jacob Harris WR Central Florida. Earnest Brown DE Northwestern.  Jake Funk RB, Maryland. Ben Skowronek WR Notre Dame, Chris Garrett LB Concordia U-St Paul.