Eleven draft picks are at the disposal of the Los Angeles Rams come April 28, when they can start making their picks beginning at No. 36.
However, CBS Sports NFL analyst Ryan Wilson on Monday, March 27 projects that pick will become the latest to be sent away in the era of general manager Les Snead but for this reason: The Rams crash the first round party and nabs “one of the most physically gifted quarterbacks in the draft.”
Nelson has the Detroit Lions receiving the Rams’ first pick while the Rams move to No. 18 to make this blockbuster move — taking Will Levis out of Kentucky.
Levis had been labeled a top 10 talent throughout the draft process. However, Nelson writes that new inconsistencies have surfaced which could get him to fall out of the 10th selection. And if he falls, it can be the prime opportunity for the Rams to capitalize.
“He’s built like a linebacker and watching him throw the ball in person is something to behold — you can actually hear the passes whistle — but questions remain about his ability to layer the ball to all three levels, and some inconsistencies when he rolls to his left,” Nelson wrote. “There’s talk that he could slip on draft day and depending on how long he lasts, maybe a team like the Rams would make a move to get him.”
Nelson adds “if anyone can get the most out of Levis’ ability, it’s Sean McVay.”
The CBS analyst adds that with this proposal, the Lions also get the Rams’ 77th pick and a second rounder in the 2024 draft.
Rams Would Get ‘Boom or Bust’ Prospect if Move Does Happen
On the surface, this is definitely a bold move. But it can be categorized as a Rams-type move given their history of blockbuster trades. The difference is, this is a draft shakeup — a rarity in the era of Snead/McVay.
Levis not only got compared to former NFL QB and perennial Pro Bowler Jay Cutler, but drew praise for his athletic traits from draft expert for nfl.com Lance Zierlein.
“Levis is one of the most physically gifted quarterbacks in the draft,” was the first part of his evaluation of Levis.
However, along came an immediate flaw Zierlein pointed out.
“But there are warts in his game that might not be easily corrected,” he wrote. “He has prototypical size and experience operating in a pro-style passing attack. He’s an athletic passer, with the ability to zip off-platform throws with plus velocity from a compact release. He struggled to put together an extended period of high-caliber quarterback play in 2022, but was also dealing with injuries that he fought his way through for much of the season. Levis has the arm to beat coverages on all three levels, but inadequate placement and accuracy have created a lot of uncatchable throws.”
Zierlein added one more in the weakness category: “Nearly a quarter of his passes were thrown to targets behind the line of scrimmage in 2022, per Pro Football Focus.”
Is he Worth Trading up?
Levis has received mixed reviews about his game.
However, one unnamed executive for an NFC team told nfl.com: “People are being too hard on him from what I’m seeing in the media. He was hurt for most of the year and gutted it out. He’s a good teammate, he’s big and he has arm talent. I like the pro potential a lot. He just needs to get healthy and keep working at it.”
His arm and size makes him appealing at 6-foot-4, 239-pounds. The Rams regardless have a QB position to address behind another former Southeastern Conference QB in Matthew Stafford after losing Baker Mayfield to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. If there’s truly a trade the Rams could pull off it’s with the Lions. After all, they’ve done it before with Goff and have worked with an Ex-Ram in Lions GM Brad Holmes before.
Or, perhaps the Rams will play things closer to the chest by awaiting on names like Hendon Hooker of Tennessee, Tanner McKee of Stanford, Jake Haener of Fresno State or Jaren Hall of Brigham Young — all four being mentioned as L.A. possibilities.