INDIANAPOLIS – Rams general manager Les Snead and head coach Sean McVay are not attending the NFL Combine this year, their second-straight year of doing so after tending to media obligations there, then leaving in 2020 (the combine was canceled in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
This approach does not suggest a disregard for the event – there will still be medical staff and assistant coaches on hand throughout the week. Ultimately, efficient time management was the most important variable when deciding to stay back rather than attend.
"There's a lot of different ways of being able to get the information that's necessary to make sound decisions as it relates to the draft and free agency, and there's a lot of trust that I have in Les and his group to do that," McVay said during a video conference Wednesday. "And that's what they're working on throughout the midst of the season. This is a year's worth of work, and that trust that our coaching staff has in them is been a really valuable part of why we feel like we can approach those things. I also think we always try to ask why, you know? Why are we doing the things that we're doing? Is this in alignment with helping us be the best football team and efficiently using our time as relates to combine, these different things and, and that's kind of a good thing."
This year, they felt their time was best spent staying in Los Angeles given the upcoming personnel decisions faced.
Free agency starts two weeks from when McVay and Snead spoke with the media. Both of them also said new deals for quarterback Matthew Stafford and defensive lineman Aaron Donald are a high priority this offseason.
So McVay and Snead remained local this week and started putting together the blueprint for both of those offseason tasks on Monday.
And of course, the combine still holds value.
"We're very intentional about how we use the combine," Snead said. "We definitely use it – our area scouts are doing something specifically different than maybe some of our personnel executives and advisors. Our analysts and analytics department will be crunching and synthesizing the numbers, right that come in as the players get measured and tested in different different drills. Maybe we're not there to see subset player, jump or do his broad jump. But we certainly utilize the numbers as they come in. So that's, that's what we're doing."
In terms of the different means of acquiring information that McVay mentioned, that will especially be the case again this year. Top-30 visits – as in, clubs being allowed to host up to 30 non-local prospects during the pre-draft process – is back on the offseason calendar after not taking place last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, beginning March 8 and running through April 20. Teams can also conduct up to three video and phone interviews per prospect, no more than an hour in length, from March 8 through April 27.
In other words, there other ways for Snead and McVay to be involved in the information-gathering process prior to the draft without having to be physically present at the combine.
"At the end of the day, Les and I felt like our our time would be best utilized staying back, being able to do some things and there's a lot of layers to that," McVay said. "You don't want to minimize the value of the combine. But for us, that's what we felt like was going to be the best approach."