Rams restock offense, drafting pass-catchers Everett, Kupp
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Even without a first-round pick, the Los Angeles Rams are finding ways to bolster the NFL’s worst offense around Jared Goff.
The Rams chose South Alabama tight end Gerald Everett with the 44th overall pick Friday after retreating seven spots in a trade with the Buffalo Bills. Los Angeles then grabbed Eastern Washington receiver Cooper Kupp with its third-round pick before using the 91st overall choice acquired from Buffalo on Boston College safety John Johnson.
The Rams didn’t have a first-round pick after last season’s trade to snag Goff at No. 1 overall, but they addressed three clear areas of need on the second day of the draft.
The Rams’ first pick in Sean McVay’s tenure was Everett, a tight end who should fit well in the new coach’s offense.
Everett starred at South Alabama for the past two seasons after leaving UAB when the school shut down its football program. He is a standout pass-catcher who has been criticized for his blocking acumen, yet he was still one of the top talents in a draft class that is deep at his position.
“I think I bring the complete package of a tight end,” Everett said. “Definitely a vertical threat first, but also being a willing blocker in the run game, just being able to create that mismatch at any point of time in the game.”
Everett should team with second-year pro Tyler Higbee to provide a solid threat at tight end for the Rams, who had the NFL’s worst offense last season for the second consecutive year. McVay’s offenses in Washington used tight ends extensively, and he is likely to do the same in Los Angeles.
Everett already met Goff during his pre-draft visit to the Rams, and the quarterback immediately welcomed Everett on Twitter.
“I’m ecstatic,” Everett said. “I can’t wait to get out there in OTAs and get used to the rhythm and run routes with Jared and the rest of the receivers and tight ends for the Rams.”
Kupp is another highly regarded pass-catcher from a small school. He set college football receiving records with 428 catches for 6,464 yards and 73 touchdowns with the FCS Eagles, who won three Big Sky titles.
Kupp will be a third-generation NFL player, and he has made up for his lack of exceptional speed with strong routes and great hands. That describes much of the Rams’ current receiving corps, which lacks a large target for Goff or incredible speed outside of Tavon Austin.
“I think I bring versatility,” Kupp said. “A guy that’s going to know the offense inside and out. A guy that’s going to be ready to go Day One. I pride myself on that, on learning the offense. I know exactly what I need to be a guy that can be reliable and be able to get first downs. The ability to create in multiple different ways, play wherever you need me to play, I think that’s something that I bring that a lot of receivers can’t.”
Johnson should have a chance to play immediately in the Rams’ depleted secondary, and many draft observers think the 6-foot defensive back has the coverage skills to do it. The Rams have only two safeties with significant experience, and Johnson also could fill in as a slot cornerback for Lamarcus Joyner, who is moving to safety.