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How Will the Rams Spend Day 1 of the NFL Draft?

Posted Apr 26, 2018

Without a first-round pick, GM Les Snead and HC Sean McVay will mainly be observers for the first day of the 2018 NFL Draft. But they'll watch closely.

For the third year in a row, the Rams won’t be involved in much drama for the the first night of the NFL Draft.

In 2016, it was widely assumed Los Angeles would select quarterback Jared Goff at No. 1 overall — and that assumption was correct. Then, because of the trade up to pick their franchise QB, the Rams did not have a first-round selection in 2017 either.

Now the club will once again — in all likelihood — be observers for the first round of the marquee NFL offseason event. And that’s alright with head coach Sean McVay, especially because L.A. used No. 23 overall in order to acquire wide receiver Brandin Cooks.

“If you told me we would get a player like that at No. 23, I would be throwing a pool party — and I don’t even have a pool,” McVay quipped during his and general manager Les Snead’s pre-draft press conference on Tuesday.

And it doesn’t seem likely that Los Angeles will trade up to get back in the first round, as Snead said, “I think the more realistic thing is all of a sudden the guys fall into, let’s call it, late 60s, 70s and things like that — then you start looking at those opportunities.”

With the Rams owning the No. 87 overall pick — the 23rd selection in the third round — Snead essentially is saying Los Angeles could possibly enter conversations to trade up toward the end of the second round or possibly earlier in the third. The club does have three fourth-round picks and four sixth-round picks in addition to its original third-round selection.

But those instances will occur later in the weekend. When it comes to Thursday night’s proceedings, Snead said on Tuesday that the club may just keep things fairly casual in the draft room.

“I think it will be fun, let’s call it, Day 1 to sit back and actually see how that whole top five — all the quarterback drama plays out. Because we’re not in that business, we’re not in that mix, we’re not picking in that round,” Snead said. “To be honest with you I really don’t know what’s going to happen. It will be fun and I think it’s always fun to go okay, let’s see who might’ve fallen to 23 and we’ll have fun looking at maybe who we would’ve drafted if that would have been the case.”

“It’s similar to last year where I think if you weren’t fortunate enough to work in football, I’d still be watching it anyway,” McVay said. “So, I will be watching it, you’re still in tune with it. You’re still a fan of the game and seeing what some of these other teams are doing with the picks and how that affects their roster. But it will be exciting and I think that’s the unique that Les mentioned.”

Clearly, that will change as things move from Day 1 into Day 2.

“As you get closer to 87 it becomes a little clearer on how things are going,” Snead said. “Some of the players that you thought were going to be there — will they fall? Are they going to be there? You start strategizing, should you move up? Or do you move back and try to accumulate some more picks? So, I think that happens, let’s call it, closer to Friday night than Thursday night.”

“It’s real similar to last year is that after that first round, for us last year it was figuring out what you want to do with that two spot and plan those scenarios,” McVay said. “Now for us it will be after that second round finishes up and then after two and three, then you have a chance to really have a good feel for how you want to use those three fourth-round picks the next day.”

But this is one of the most intense times of the year for any general manager, leading McVay to declare, “It’s almost it’s like [Snead’s] version of calling a game where you have different scenarios or different coverages or fronts you’re trying to attack, and you want to make sure you have answers accordingly.”

Given that, McVay said he developed a true appreciation for how Snead and his staff prepares for the draft last year.

“I think when you look at how many guys on our Draft class contributed to some of the success that we had last year, that’s a credit Les and his staff,” McVay said. “I thought the coaches did a nice job of being able to develop them as well. But what you learned is that the preparation paid off and there was a lot of different scenarios that he had gone through and he was ready to role. You come away impressed with the way that he went about it.”

That process will begin once again when the clock strikes 5 p.m. on Thursday evening.