With the Los Angeles Rams missing the playoffs in 2022, their focus has now shifted toward the offseason and figuring out how they can get back in the mix in 2023.
The biggest domino has already fallen, which was Sean McVay deciding to return as head coach. With that being the case, the Rams will try to reload their roster to compete again as opposed to starting a full rebuild.
If the Rams are going to get back in contention though, then they will have a lot of moves to make. While the Rams don’t have a lot of cap space at their disposal, they are expected to have 10 draft picks and can always make cuts or moves to open up more cap space.
So with that, here are the positions the Rams will need to address most this offseason to improve the roster:
The loss of Von Miller was greatly felt this past season when the Rams struggled to get a pass rush. They still had Aaron Donald and Leonard Floyd, but the hope was that Justin Hollins and Terrell Lewis would emerge. Neither made it through the full season before being cut though, so the Rams will need to find replacements this offseason.
The Rams’ 38 sacks were in the bottom half of the league last year, so look for their big addition this offseason – whether it be in the second round of the draft or free agency – to address that.
Another need for L.A. this offseason is the offensive line, although it may not be as big of a need as originally expected.
The Rams showed in the final weeks of the season that their offensive scheme will work as long as there is continuity on the offensive line. Unfortunately, L.A. was decimated by injuries up front in 2022, but if a lot of those guys come back in 2023 then there may not be many holes to fill.
Brian Allen, David Edwards, Logan Bruss, Joe Noteboom, Coleman Shelton and plenty of others all missed time for the Rams in 2022. Some of them likely won’t be back in 2023, but the Rams were able to discover a lot of offensive line depth in the final few weeks of the season when unexpected guys performed well.
I would still expect the Rams to look to add to their offensive line this offseason, but if they went into next year with a starting group of Alaric Jackson, Shelton, Allen, Bruss and Rob Havenstein then that could be a solid group. Others like Noteboom (if he’s not cut), Oday Aboushi, Chandler Brewer and AJ Arcuri could also be in the mix.
Interior Defensive Line
One of the Rams’ biggest strengths in recent years has been their interior defensive line, which is no surprise when you have Donald leading the way.
Donald has already said he will be returning in 2023, which is obviously great news for L.A. But after him, the Rams could be losing their best two interior defensive linemen with both Greg Gaines and A’Shawn Robinson set to hit free agency.
Larrell Murchison emerged as a potential option moving forward when he finished the season strong after being claimed off waivers. Bobby Brown should also figure into this mix in 2023, although it’s clear the Rams will need to add to this group this offseason whether it be in the draft or bringing back Gaines and/or Robinson in free agency.
Cam Akers was another young Rams player to emerge in the final few weeks of 2022 with three consecutive 100-yard rushing games to close the season.
Despite his rocky past with the Rams, he is now in good standing with the organization and projects to be the team’s starter in 2023. L.A. also has Kyren Williams to serve as a change-of-pace back, so ideally the team brings in a veteran running back that can do a little bit of everything to fill in the gaps and add more depth at a position where injuries are likely to occur.
Similar to the interior defensive line, safety has been one of the Rams’ biggest strengths in recent years. With both Taylor Rapp and Nick Scott hitting free agency though, it is now something they will need to address.
Jordan Fuller will be returning in 2023 and despite back-to-back injury-plagued seasons, he has shown he can lead this secondary when healthy. Outside of him though, it’s a very young and inexperienced group that includes Quentin Lake and Russ Yeast, which is why it wouldn’t be surprising to see either Rapp or Scott back with the team after free agency.