Rams head coach Sean McVay and general manager Les Snead held a video conference with local media following Day 2 of the NFL Draft, sharing their thoughts Friday night on the additions of Louisville wide receiver Tutu Atwell (Round 2, No. 57 overall) and South Carolina linebacker Ernest Jones (Round 3, No. 103) and trading the 88th pick to the 49ers, among other topics.
Here are some of the highlights and key takeaways from the virtual session:
Can never have enough of a receiver like Atwell, especially in a draft class where there were multiple (which doesn't happen often)
Atwell revealed during his post-selection video conference Friday night that Rams wide receivers coach Eric Yarber had told him during the pre-draft process to not be surprised if they prevent him from falling out of the second round. But after listening to McVay and Snead talk more than a couple hours later, it became clearer why the Rams valued Atwell so highly and spent their highest draft capital on him.
Even though they already signed wide receiver DeSean Jackson – who was shared as a player comp for Atwell by an NFL Network analyst during its broadcast based on similarities in skillset – McVay said "there's no limit on the amount of guys that you have that have that skillset in terms of being able to threaten the defense vertically."
"(Atwell) was a guy that we felt good about," said McVay, who also expressed optimism about Jackson staying healthy this year. "I think the receiver position was something we anticipated potentially using a pick on fairly early with the picks that we did have."
Snead then spoke about how the Rams identified Atwell "and a few other receivers" in this year's draft that had "this rare, unique ability to explode off the ball and keep running fast the longer the down went." Snead said this doesn't happen every year, though in some years – like this year – there's a big group of those receivers that would "measure near the top" in terms of that speed.
"Whether you have DeSean or not, you better attack while you can, because it might be a couple drafts before you get a few those guys," Snead said.
Trading back "a positive thing for the Rams"
Snead said during his and McVay's joint, post-Day 1 video conference that he anticipated picks 88 and 103 being the spots where Los Angeles would get phone calls inquiring about trading back. Sure enough, they found a willing trade partner from within their division at No. 88, sending the selection to the 49ers in exchange for picks 117 and 121 in the fourth round.
Snead said at that point, they felt like some of their favorite players would still be available at No. 103 overall. The move ultimately worked out, as Jones – whom they would've drafted at 88 – was still on the board 15 picks later.
The trade will give Los Angeles five selections on Day 3 after beginning the draft with only three.
"So being able to add another fourth rounder and have three tomorrow, we felt like was a positive thing for the Rams," Snead said.
Jones capable of covering the pass, too
The long arms that helped the 6-foot-1 1/2, 230-pound Jones lead South Carolina in tackles for the second-straight year and average the sixth-most tackles per game in the SEC also make him effective as a pass rusher and in coverage.
"He's got some interesting traits where he's a longer-armed human being, so that allows him to blitz, use his hands to probably bat those longer tackles, those arms down and get the QB," Snead said. " He's tough to throw over. He's really, really sound in zone coverage and has made some picks. I call it with guys with longer arms, it's just tough to shoot over them as a QB."