How Von Miller’s Posts can Alter the Rams’ 2022 Draft Plans

Von Miller

Getty Von Miller looks on from the sidelines during his Rams debut on November 15, 2021.

Could “F*** Them Picks” turn into “take them picks” for the Los Angeles Rams?

General manager Les Snead gave a blunt view of the draft through his famed T-shirt of himself during the Rams’ victory parade back on February 16. But now, things are starting to trek in a different direction for the Rams — both involving free agency and next month’s draft by virtue of Von Miller.

Why? There’s this tweet with a Denver angle:

And, this subsequent post from Miller via his Instagram stories:

While Snead, head coach Sean McVay and other higher ups in the Rams’ front office and staff weren’t present in Indianapolis during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine from March 3-6, there were representatives from the Super Bowl 56 champs who were scouting talent and coming away with who could be a future Ram.

But now, the latest Miller news could convince the Rams to rethink any original draft strategies as a precaution.


How the Rams Could Approach the Draft if Miller Walks

Before the social media posts, most mock drafts and NFL Draft experts placed left tackle as the top draft need for the Rams — given the still to be determined status of Pro Bowl blindside protector Andrew Whitworth who has pondered retirement.

Meanwhile, NFL Network draft expert Daniel Jeremiah plugged Memphis center Dylan Parham as the Rams’ first draft selection in his February 14 mock draft. Center is considered another need with 2021 starter Brian Allen among the Rams’ free agent names heading into the March 16 cycle.

But if Miller does leave via free agency, could it mean pivoting elsewhere to start the 2022 draft…a la edge rusher?

This could have a high probability of happening if the unrestricted free agent Miller decides to head back to Denver. There’s the chance the Rams will have to gravitate toward adding a pass rusher through the draft, which includes the first selection they get in round three of the draft.

Miller bolstered an already NFC-leading pass rush as the Rams hit a different gear toward their Super Bowl trek. In his first four games as a Ram, the 32-year-old Miller delivered zero sacks. However, from December 21, 2021 to the big game, Miller produced nine total sacks in eight games. The Rams went 6-1 when Miller got a sack according to Pro Football Reference.


Who Could be Options if There’s no Miller

Again, this is a contingency plan if someone else wears No. 40 for the Rams in 2022.

And to boot, Miller’s position is considered a draft need anyway. Not just because of Miller, but because Travin Howard (best known for his game-sealing interception that clinched the NFC title) and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo are unrestricted free agents. But to reiterate: If Miller leaves, then OLB/edge rusher likely elevates to the No. 1 priority for the champs.

Anyone who watched the edge rushers and OLB group perform in front of scouts at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday, March 5 likely saw lots of speed and potential on that turf. But some look better in a Rams uniform. Here’s who looked like a prized fit in Raheem Morris’ defense:

Amare Barno, Virginia Tech: With the 40-yard dash time the 6-foot-5, 246-pounder delivered, you’d swear Barno was secretly running with the loaded and speedy wide receiver group. Barno blazed his time in 4.36 seconds, unheard of for any edge rusher. Barno delivered a better 2020 than 2021, hence why he’s fallen in some draft projections. But with that speed, his balance as a past OLB and end and the 10 sacks in 21 games he delivered with the Hokies, Barno looks ideal for the Rams’ scheme if he falls down to the third round.

Sam Williams, Ole Miss: The 6-foot-4, 261-pound Williams is another towering defender who raised his stock in Indy — turning in a 40 time of 4.46 (second to Barno). Lance Zierlein of nfl.com pointed out that Williams’ strength is pass rushing.

Jeffrey Gunter, Coastal Carolina: The 6-foot-4, 258-pound Gunter is the slowest of the three with a 40 time of 4.70. Make no mistake about it, though, he destroyed his other workouts…and sent a wave of pass rushing destruction as the Chanticleers became a top 25 program. Gunter delivered 38.5 tackles for a loss and 17 sacks in his final three seasons. Zierlein is a believer he can fit in a 3-4 scheme (which the Rams have in some packages).

All three are considered non-first round picks. One could be the fallback option if the Rams need to replace the prized pick-up Miller.

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