After three days — two of Rams picks — the NFL Draft has come to a close, with Los Angeles selecting five players on Day 3.
In the fourth round, the Rams chose wide receiver Josh Reynolds and outside linebacker Samson Ebukam. Defensive tackle Tanzel Smart and fullback Sam Rogers came in the sixth, and outside linebacker Ejuan Price in the seventh. Those five along with tight end Gerald Everett, wide receiver Cooper Kupp, and safety John Johnson are Los Angeles' 2017 Draft class.
"When you acquire the eight players that we did, you were able to kind of stay in alignment with the board we had set up," head coach Sean McVay said. "And we feel like we were able to address a lot of those needs, but we also didn't overreach for a need. It seems like a lot of the guys we had valued, we were able to get at the spot that we wanted. And that was kind of the goal for the weekend. And we felt like we accomplished that."
Overall, both McVay and general manager Les Snead said their first draft together went smoothly — though McVay did joke, "What if he said, 'No'?"
"The main work is done in the preparation," Snead said. "And there's going to be curve balls, and you've got to be able to adjust and handle it. But that's why we have a draft board, and we try to use the board to do that."
"That's the biggest thing that stood out to me — the contingency plans were in place. We had a plan going into it and for the most part we were able to stick to that plan," McVay said. "And maybe when a team made a decision that we didn't anticipate, there were decisions or scenarios that were already in place, so you weren't really caught off guard. And I think that's a credit to Les and his staff."
The Rams began Day 3 the same way as Day 2 — by moving back to gain an extra pick. Los Angeles traded No. 112 overall for two Chicago selections — No. 117 in the Round 4 and No. 197 in Round 6. They used No. 117 to select Reynolds, a 6-foot-3 wide receiver out of Texas A&M.
"When you look at Josh, he's a little bit of a longer guy. Great ball skills, big catch radius," McVay said. "I thought he did a nice job in the Senior Bowl when you look at some of the things he was able to do — especially in the one-on-ones."
"I'm a playmaker and can play pretty much anywhere they need," Reynolds said on his conference call. "I'm a winner and I'd love to help this team win."
Reynolds caught 61 passes for 1,039 yards with 12 touchdowns in 2016. He caught at least one touchdown pass in each of his last eight games his senior year for the Aggies.
"He's a guy that's averaged right around 17 yards per catch in his career, so he's had big production in the SEC," McVay said.
While it looked like the Rams would have a while before their next selection late in the fourth round, they ended up using their extra sixth rounder from Chicago to trade up to No. 125. There, L.A. chose Ekubam — the club's second draft pick out of Eastern Washington following Kupp's selection on Friday. In his senior season, Ebukam recorded 15 tackles for loss and a team-high 9.5 sacks.
"He's athletic. He can run — I think at his Pro Day he ran a 4.4 [40-yard dash]," linebackers coach Joe Barry told therams.com. "A kid that comes from a really good program — they've done great things up at Eastern Washington. So we're really excited about him."
Having traded their original fifth-round pick, the Rams waited a bit until their first sixth rounder, which they used on Smart — a defensive tackle out of Tulane.
Listed at 6-foot-1 and 296 pounds, Smart led Tulane with 18.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks in his senior year. Given his size, he could be a factor in the defensive line rotation, helping to spell Aaron Donald at three-technique.
"I really want to learn a lot from Aaron Donald," Smart said on his conference call. "I'm going to play my role and anywhere that coach wants me to play, I'll do it."
Los Angeles got a versatile player with its second sixth-round pick in Rogers, a fullback out of Virginia Tech. Rogers recorded 284 yards on 67 carries with two touchdowns rushing, and 301 yards on 24 receptions with four touchdowns receiving in 2016. McVay said Rogers will have a chance to compete with Zach Laskey for a role on the unit.
"I thought you saw Sam do a nice job in the run and the pass game," McVay said. "I think he's a guy that when you get him out in space, he can fit people up and press them on angles. And those are some of the little nuances that we'll look from from that fullback spot. And I think some of the teams, you might not use it as often. But if you have a guy that you feel like can fulfill that role, you can do some different things that might regulate a defense based on who you're going against."
Rogers also projects as a significant special teams contributor.
"Playing at Virginia Tech, special teams is a huge emphasis — I can't wait to bring that mentality to the Rams and get on the field any way I can," Rogers said.
L.A. chose Price — an outside linebacker out of Pitt — with its final pick in the seventh round. He was a first-ream All-ACC honoree after ranking second in FBS with 23 tackles for loss and recording 13 sacks.
"I think naturally I'm a 3-4 outside linebacker, so I couldn't have asked for a better fit," Price said on his conference call. "I'm just blessed to have this opportunity. I'm just grateful that it finally came around after three long days. I think I'll fit right in with what I do. My specialty is penetration and pass rush so I think I can definitely be useful."
Listed at 5-foot-11 and 241 pounds, Price is just old enough to have played with Donald at Pitt, and said on his conference call that the two attended rival high schools.
"I'll probably talk to him in a little bit, but I haven't talked to him today," Price said. "I'm sure we'll link up and speak on it at one point."
While those are the players the Rams selected, Snead did acknowledge a spot the club did not address. While offensive line may have been thought of as a position of need, Snead said part of the reason L.A. did not choose a player there is the individuals already on the roster.
"When Sean, his staff, [offensive line coach Aaron] Kromer comes in — because we had a relatively young offensive line, they were fresh in coach Kromer's mind. And there were a lot of guys in our group that he wanted to work with, and felt like they may be better than some of the rookies in this draft class," Snead said, adding they also signed Pro Bowl left tackle Andrew Whitworth to improve the unit.
"I think coming out of that minicamp really enabled us to have a better feel for that depth up front, and continuing to give guys a chance to grow and develop at those inside spots, and then also look for those guys who can backup on the edges," McVay said.
Now the works begins, with rookie minicamp slated for the weekend of May 12. Until then, L.A. will be hard at work signing college free agents to fill out its roster.