Two days after landing Jared Goff, the Los Angeles Rams finally got back to work at the NFL Draft.
The Rams picked troubled Western Kentucky tight end Tyler Higbee with their first fourth-round pick, the 110th overall. Moments later, they moved back four spots and picked up a third sixth-round selection by trading the 113th pick to Chicago, eventually using the 117th pick on South Carolina wide receiver Pharoh Cooper.
The 6-foot-6 Higbee was an outstanding collegiate pass-catcher, making 38 receptions for 563 yards and eight touchdowns in his senior season in an offense run by Tyson Helton, now the quarterbacks coach at Southern California.
Higbee was considered one of the top tight end prospects in the draft, but his stock slumped earlier this month when he was arrested and charged with second-degree assault and other offenses after an altercation outside a bar in Bowling Green. Police said Higbee acknowledged punching a man outside a bar before attempting to evade police.
If Higbee overcomes his legal woes, he could be a solid replacement for Jared Cook. The Rams released the tight end earlier in the offseason even though he was their second-leading receiver last season with 39 catches for 481 yards.
The Rams need plenty of targets for Goff after finishing last season with the NFL’s least productive passing offense and total offense.
They went out and got another with Cooper, who became a solid receiver for the Gamecocks after being recruited as a defensive back. He had 135 catches over the past two seasons while also lining up occasionally as a Wildcat quarterback.
The Rams didn’t have a pick in the second or third rounds because they gave up those selections to get their new franchise quarterback. Los Angeles chose Goff with the first overall pick, sending a package of six picks to Tennessee to move up.
After Saturday’s trade, the Rams also have three sixth-round selections, hopefully adding depth to a young core of talent.
Rams GM Les Snead isn’t worried about having a light draft because he has been piling up young talent for four years, giving him a cushion to absorb the price necessary to get Goff.
The Rams’ run of nine straight losing seasons is the NFL’s longest current streak, but they’re hoping for an immediate surge in their return home after a 21-year sojourn in St. Louis. The Rams haven’t made the playoffs since 2004.
Doughty to Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins selected former Western Kentucky quarterback Brandon Doughty, a Florida native, in the seventh and final round.
He threw for 461 yards and three touchdowns in the Hilltoppers’ Miami Beach Bowl victory against South Florida. No one at the Football Bowl Subdivision level ever threw for more touchdowns in a two-year span than the 97 that Doughty piled up in 2014 and 2015.
“I’ve been working my butt off for this,” said Doughty after his team’s bowl victory. “It’s my dream. I remember when I was in the backyard, I was 5 years old, I was Dan Marino and thinking, ‘Oh, man, I hope I get to play in the NFL.’ It’s just a dream and for it to be a reality, something that’s very realistic, I’m honored.”
In a coincidence, the Dolphins’ training camp is held in Davie, Fla., Doughty’s hometown.