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Rams' draft prep mostly unaffected by working remotely

The COVID-19 pandemic has closed the facilities of NFL teams, forcing them to conduct draft meetings from inside their homes.

Fortunately for the Rams, the impact of working remotely has been minimal.

"The plan from here is really get with our IT department and make sure each home is is locked and loaded from an IT standpoint," Snead said on a video conference last week. "Interestingly, in today's time, we're probably finding the number one obstacle is somebody who has an actual phone line, a hard line."

Small hurdle to clear aside, Los Angeles has actually been ahead of the curve when it comes to virtual preparations.

With so many key members of their personnel department living in different parts of the country, they began implementing virtual meetings over the last year and a half, according to Snead, in an effort to make the time scouts spend on the road, away from families and meeting with the front office in-person more efficient.

"We've been practicing this a little bit so it's not as foreign to us," Snead said.

If there is one area where the Rams – and likely other NFL teams – have been impacted the most, it's top-30 visits.

Normally, teams are allowed to have up to 30 prospects visit their facilities prior to the draft. Besides a tour of those facilities, those visits also typically include in-person meetings with front office executives, scouts and position coaches, making it an important part of the pre-draft process. Two years ago, the Rams used two of them on future starters Cooper Kupp and Gerald Everett.

Despite the cancellations of those visits, though, Rams head coach Sean McVay said the thorough background vetting done by the personnel department, especially on prospects' character, gives the team confidence and peace of mind. McVay also said the tape is the best evaluation tool of a prospect.

"We've had a chance to watch more tape than I know I would in normal a year," McVay said.

With that worry out of the way, it appears the phone line hiccup has also been resolved.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport on Monday reported teams' IT departments have completed their work, including installing cameras in the homes of coaches and general managers for this year's virtual draft broadcasts and compliance. A systems test will be conducted next week in the form of a mock draft with all 32 teams participating through Microsoft teams, and a separate and secure line established by the NFL for draft trades will also get checked out.

Between those additional safeguards and the Rams' early adoption of virtual meetings, the circumstances are more than manageable.

"I think big picture, right, less distraction at home, probably depending on the age of your kids," Snead said, chuckling. "But less distraction at home, more specific preparation for meetings and intentional about your communication. You can make this work, for sure."

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