LOS ANGELES (AP)The Los Angeles Rams’ success over the past few years has been built on obtaining or keeping elite veteran talent.
That mentality has left them with four straight boring Thursday nights at the NFL draft.
The Rams didn’t make a first-round pick for the fourth consecutive season Thursday night. Jacksonville acquired the Rams’ first-round pick last year in the trade for Pro Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey, and the Jaguars used that 20th overall selection on LSU edge rusher K’Lavon Chaisson.
Right when the Jags made their pick, the Rams tweeted out a highlight reel of Ramsey’s play for the Rams, adding: “We got our guy.”
That guy also cost Los Angeles’ first-round pick next season, but Ramsey is a star in a city that loves them. The rest of the Rams’ draft will be about finding complementary talent to go around Ramsey, Aaron Donald, Jared Goff and the other elite veterans already on their salary cap-strapped roster.
The action should pick up for the Rams on Friday when they have the No. 52 and No. 57 overall picks in the second round, followed by two more selections in the third round. General manager Les Snead and coach Sean McVay will be much busier for the rest of the weekend after sitting out the opening night.
The Rams have plenty of depth needs to fill in the next two rounds, but they’ll be limited by the dwindling stock of difference-making players.
“When you’re picking 52 (and) 57, there is an element that you have to allow the draft to come to you a little bit,” Snead said this week.
For instance, while the Rams would love to make a splash by choosing a big-play receiver to replace Brandin Cooks in a receiver-rich draft, they realize many elite pass-catching talents already will be out of that pool. They’ll choose the best players to provide upgrades or depth at several positions, particularly linebacker, defensive line, cornerback and even running back.
“Usually when a draft is considered deep in a position, it’s probable a lot of those players are gone in the first 32 (picks),” Snead said. “That’s usually what deep means. … It’s imperative for us to maybe get beyond some of the household names that make this draft deep, that are probably going to go in the top 32, and find some of those players that have a skill set that can fit into Sean’s offense.”
The Rams have made plenty of personnel splashes during their four years back home in Los Angeles, but they sat idle Thursday night. Meanwhile, their three rivals in the ultra-competitive NFC West all got better, and the crosstown Los Angeles Chargers landed two big-name first-rounders: quarterback Justin Herbert and linebacker Kenneth Murray.
The Rams? They haven’t made a pick higher than No. 44 overall in the four drafts since they moved up to choose Goff first overall in 2016.
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