22. Los Angeles Rams
The Los Angeles Rams went from being one of the most injured teams in the NFL in 2022 to now being one of the youngest rosters in the league. Even though the Rams didn’t have a first-round pick in 2023 (Matthew Stafford trade), they wound up adding a whopping 36 rookies to the 90-man roster. More than one-third of this Rams team is made up of rookies.
Until recently, they didn’t make any substantial additions in free agency. In fact, they have really only added a couple of notable veterans this offseason in tight end Hunter Long (Jalen Ramsey trade) and cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon. Other than that, the Rams’ primary acquisitions are going to be guys coming back from injury like Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, and Aaron Donald.
And those are still pretty darn good players. I struggle with where to place this team, a team that won the Super Bowl two seasons ago but a team that looks significantly different as well.
21. Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers really had a great offseason, just about by every possible account. They figured out their head coach situation after firing Matt Rhule, replacing him with Frank Reich. Reich’s arrival in Carolina is a homecoming of sorts as he was once the first quarterback to ever take a snap for the franchise.
The Panthers then got aggressive, as they have for most of Scott Fitterer’s time as GM, and traded up to the no. 1 overall pick for Bryce Young. I love what the Panthers have done to surround Young with the best QB brain trust possible. Not only that, but Reich went out and hired Thomas Brown and Duce Staley, two great offensive minds and running game experts who are going to help support a young QB with a great ground game. Signing Miles Sanders helps, too.
Overall, I think the Panthers are one of those teams trending up but we need to see what Young can do on an NFL field first.