Is the Rams’ lack of top-50 picks taking a toll on the roster?
It’s widely known that Sean McVay hasn’t made a single first-round pick since becoming head coach of the Los Angeles Rams in 2017. The team has gone six straight years without a top-32 selection, either trading them away for proven veterans or moving back out of the first round.
What might be even more surprising is the overall lack of top-50 picks made by the Rams in the last six years. Since McVay arrived in 2017, the Rams have only picked one player in the top 50 of the draft.
In the six years prior, the Rams stockpiled top-50 picks, averaging more than two per year. Obviously, that has to do with the fact that they never finished above .500 or made the playoffs from 2011-2016, so their picks were earlier, but there’s been a clear shift in mentality when it comes to the draft.
And all those top-50 picks didn’t exactly translate to wins during the pre-McVay era.
2011-2016: 13 top-50 picks
2017-2022: 1 top-50 pick
The Rams’ lone pick in the top 50 since 2017 was Gerald Everett, and that came in McVay’s first year. Since then, they haven’t picked in the top 50 once, making selections at No. 52, 57 (twice) and 61. That’s the closest they’ve come to the top 50.
Is it taking a toll on the roster? We saw a clear lack of depth and talent behind the top starters in 2022, which was a big reason the Rams struggled to overcome the injuries they suffered. They simply didn’t have enough capable backups to step up as starters.
Pro Football Focus believes the Rams’ lack of draft capital is starting to catch up to them, picking “ignoring the draft” as the team’s biggest draft mistake in the last five years.
A team can only go so long without replenishing the coffers. The strategy obviously paid off with a Lombardi Trophy, but having zero top-50 picks over the past five seasons is obviously taking its toll.
The Rams made it work by winning a Super Bowl last February, which is the ultimate goal of every team. But there’s a legitimate reason to question whether the Rams can sustain their success moving forward without much draft capital.
It’s going to come down to whether their mid-round picks can become above-average starters – players such as Tutu Atwell, Bobby Brown III, Robert Rochell, Logan Bruss, Cobie Durant and Derion Kendrick. Because looking back at the Rams’ 2020 draft, very few of those players have succeeded in doing so. Terrell Lewis and Terrell Burgess have already been cut, Jordan Fuller missed almost all of the 2022 season and Brycen Hopkins hasn’t yet become a starting tight end.
The Rams may never pick early in the draft, but they do make a lot of selections each year by trading back and stockpiling picks. They just need to hit on more of those picks to round out the roster.
This year, they’ll pick at No. 36, which should give them the opportunity to add an impactful rookie near the top of Round 2. But if they don’t pick the right prospect and develop him, it won’t matter whether their first pick is at No. 36 or 136.
More Latest Rams news!
The Titans released Robert Woods and he sure seems happy about it
Rams named best fit for free-agent G Dalton Risner
Rams mock draft roundup 2.0: Who the experts have LA taking in Rounds 2 and 3