As part of the coverage leading into the 2023 NFL Draft, theRams.com will give fans insight on what each week in April looks like for the team.
The first installment covers the first and second weeks of April and what they've entailed from a draft preparation standpoint for both the coaching staff and scouting staff.
When the calendar turned to April 3, the Los Angeles Rams' coaching staff was busy diving into the team's third wave of draft prospects.
The staff in mid-February had been given an initial list of players compiled by the scouting department, then gave their input on that group of players the week after the combine this year. That top-tier group – or first wave – serves as a reference point as players are grouped together before moving on to later tiers. Along the way, a coach may discover a player in the third wave who belongs in that initial batch, for example.
It's all part of the process of refining the board in preparation for the 2023 NFL Draft.
It's also just one key part of it during the first week of April, because that week also kicks off College Free Agent (CFA) committee operations.
As the coaches finish their thoughts on the third wave of players, they also get paired up with a scout and figure out that post-draft plan – effectively setting the stage for the rest of April.
The coaches this week are also sitting down with the scouts for conversations on that third wave of players, and reviewing any potential movement since the last time both groups discussed the first and second wave of players. Are there any new injuries? Are there any potential assessments players are flagged for? Anything causing a player to be seen in a new light that they didn't see when they initially discussed that first batch of players? Maybe a player tested better than the Rams anticipated, and they can comfortable anticipate him being gone before they're on the clock. Or, vice-versa – maybe the player didn't test very well, but the Rams liked his film – do they still like him? (The answer is typically yes.)
Since the Rams have already talked about that top group of players already and general manager Les Snead has had the chance to configure the board a little bit more, it gets the board to a place where it's more clear to him and allows the team to have big-picture conversations that will ramp up over the next couple of weeks. It also allows coaches to not only talk directly about one player, but also compare players and talk through scenarios – important context for the Rams to have at this time.
The back-half of this week involves NFL Scouting Combine medical re-checks by Los Angeles' sports medicine and performance staff, in which that staff reassesses players who might have had incomplete medical grades from the combine, which leads to further manipulation on the board based on those results.
Collectively, that medical information and feedback will set the stage for next week for conversations with over-the-top scouts and information those scouts have gathered.