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As they always do, Les Snead and Sean McVay fielded questions from Rams media members this week leading up to the 2022 NFL draft. They didn’t reveal prospects they’re targeting or positions of need, but they did share some info on their draft prep.
Here are seven things we learned from McVay and Snead’s press conference.
Rams want to stockpile picks
It should come as no surprise that the Rams would rather trade down in the draft to accumulate picks rather than move up by trading some of their later selections. Snead did say there’s always a possibility of going up to get a player they really like, but he sounded more willing to trade down.
“I do think probably based on where we’re picking and the amount of picks we have, you’d probably rather come away with more shots at the basket than less,” he said.
Currently, the Rams have eight picks, so it’s possible they’ll finish the weekend with nine or 10.
Pass rushers are always a priority
Edge rusher is arguably the Rams’ biggest need after losing Von Miller. Leonard Floyd will be one starter, but the combination of Justin Hollins and Terrell Lewis is a somewhat unreliable one after both players missed time due to injuries last year.
The Rams want to add pass rushers, but finding a starting-caliber one is difficult in the third round.
“We love people who can rush the passer. The key is will there be any on the board when we go to pick?” Snead said.
Can never have enough depth on offensive line
McVay indicated that the Rams are pretty comfortable with the current group they have along the offensive line, “but that’s always a position that you can never have enough depth,” he added.
He mentioned the job that players such as Joe Noteboom, Bobby Evans, David Edwards, Austin Corbett, Austin Blythe and Brian Allen did stepping in when their numbers were called, and they all gained valuable experience.
Rams have 4-5 positions to target in 3rd round
Snead said the Rams have their “needs” and their “wants.” With their needs, they try not to have any bias towards them, where they feel the need to reach for a position at one of those positions for the sake of filling a hole.
“What you probably don’t want to have happen is at a position of need, you all of a sudden have a lot more players at that position just because you need them,” Snead said.
He said the Rams have four or five positions that “we’d like to pick from,” and hopefully a player they like at one of those positions will fall to them at No. 104 in the third round.
“You’re attempting to eliminate reaching at a position where if a player is a little less on your board but at a position, you really gotta work through those before the draft to really know when there is a line and not let the desperation of a need blur that vision.”
Rams don’t grade by round
Interestingly, the Rams don’t grade by round on their grading scale. They don’t call a specific player a “fourth-round prospect.” Instead, they look at how a player can help the team regardless of what round they’re projected to go in.
“With each player, what role can they fill and some of them, there’s a role of projecting growth and upside and things like that. … I think that helps us because we’re not really grading players by round. It’s like, what can they do to help the Rams in 2022 and what might they be able to do in years beyond that?” Snead said.
McVay expects rookies to help sooner than later
The Rams don’t always get a ton out of their rookie classes because they draft to fill future holes, not necessarily immediate ones. But in this draft, they feel confident that they’ll come away with players who can help “a lot sooner than later,” as McVay put it.
They’re not going to reach to fill pressing needs, but they do like the depth of this class and believe they’ll find a handful of players to help them in 2022.
Rams talk to prospects' high school coaches and teachers
Teams do a lot of homework on prospects, especially those projected to go early in the draft. The Rams aren’t unlike those other teams, and they look into the background of prospects they really like.
Snead said they go back as far as high school to ask teachers, coaches and people in the community to find out more about them, specifically for prospects they’re highly interested in.
“Probably as far back as high school,” he said. Definitely, with players we’re really interested in, we will definitely connect with not just coaches, but probably teachers and people in the community where the young man grew up and seeing the patterns of how he’s developed and matured over the years and see if we can figure out a pattern of where he’s progressing.”