The Los Angeles Rams drafted possible replacements for Todd Gurley and Brandin Cooks in the second round Friday night, grabbing Florida State running back Cam Akers with the 52nd overall pick and Florida receiver Van Jefferson with the 57th overall pick.
After sitting out the first round on Thursday, the Rams got rolling by replenishing their offensive skill-position talent, which has taken a hit along with every other level of the Rams’ roster in recent months.
Two of the Rams’ biggest losses were on offense, and they immediately found interesting prospects to take their roles in coach Sean McVay’s offense.
Although they drafted Darrell Henderson in the third round just last season, the Rams decided they needed another top ball-carrier after releasing Gurley, their starting running back and the NFL’s leader in touches over the past half-decade.
“As far as following in Todd Gurley’s shoes, I’m just going to come in and play,” Akers said in a video conference call from his childhood home in Mississippi. “I’m going to do whatever they need me to do.”
The Rams then grabbed Jefferson with the pick they acquired from Houston in the recent trade that sent Cooks to the Texans.
Akers finished three seasons at Florida State as one of the most productive running backs in Seminoles history despite playing for the program in a time of upheaval and poor offensive line classes. He rushed for 1,144 yards and 14 touchdowns last season.
“I’m somebody who can come in and be a game-changer, be everything and anything they need me to be,” Akers said.
The Rams didn’t make a first-round draft pick for the fourth consecutive year, but they had two selections apiece in the second and third rounds. Los Angeles traded its first-round picks this year and next year to Jacksonville for Pro Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
Since trading up to grab Jared Goff with the first overall pick in 2016, the Rams have made only one draft pick in the top 50 of the ensuing four drafts. Los Angeles took tight end Gerald Everett 44th overall in 2017, but didn’t pick higher than 61st in the ensuing two drafts.