Rams head coach Sean McVay and general manager Les Snead held their annual pre-draft press conference on Tuesday afternoon, covering the team's preparation for another unique draft, new free agency additions since they last spoke with the media and more. Here are some of the highlights and key takeaways from their nearly 40-minute virtual session with local media.
Exploratory talks about trading back already underway
Los Angeles has been no stranger to trading back to acquire more picks in the NFL Draft in the Snead-McVay era – see the 2019 draft as one of the biggest examples as well as their action on Day 3 last year – and that could be in play again this year.
According to Snead, the team has already, and will continue to have, discussions with other teams "on a few" of their picks in terms of potentially trading back.
"Historically when you're picking 57th, a little late in the second round, at the end of the day there's a supply and demand factor that comes into it," Snead said. "But historically, those picks have been traded often because a team that may be sitting in the third round maybe has more capital to move up, just to jump a few teams. So, I do think the exploratory talks will continue between now and then. But again, could happen a lot on Friday, but I think at that pick right there, there will be not to be teams behind us that a player falls to that pick and they want to go get him."
Rams feel strongly about internal options for replacing Austin Blythe at center
With Austin Blythe signing with the Chiefs during free agency, the Rams have a vacancy at the starting center spot. Both McVay and Snead expressed confidence in their internal options – McVay even said they would be "more than comfortable" going that route rather than acquiring one via the draft.
"We've definitely discussed some internal candidates," Snead said. "Definitely, like every draft, we evaluate the center position and try to stack those layers as best as possible."
"There's absolutely candidates in our building right now," McVay said.
Brian Allen, a 2018 fourth-round pick with starting experience, and Coleman Shelton, who was originally signed in 2019 after spending the preseason with the Cardinals and retained earlier this year as an exclusive rights free agent, were the first two names McVay brought up. McVay also noted that they have guards with position flexibility to potentially play it.
Kevin Carberry valuable to draft prep
As Snead mentioned earlier, the Rams are still evaluating the centers. And if they do decide to use a pick on a center or another offensive line prospect, they'll feel great about their research thanks to new offensive line coach Kevin Carberry.
"I'll tell you what's been really helpful is Kevin Carberry, the mastery that he's had from recruiting and a lot of the crossover with, whether it's Pac-12 guys, or even just when you're looking at a lot of these linemen now that are coming out," McVay said. "He's got a great command of this draft class because he was at Stanford for three years."
Recent free agency transactions
Tuesday's press conference marked the first chance reporters had to speak with McVay and Snead since the re-signing of cornerback Darious Williams and signings of wide receiver DeSean Jackson and punter Corey Bojorquez
Williams is "someone you'd love to be around (for) a long time," Snead said. However, given the uncertainty with what the 2022 salary cap will look like, it's tougher to engage in those discussions right now.
"But as Wade Phillips used to say, good players get paid and Darious Williams has proven to be a good player," Snead said. "I always say, yup, we'd love to have as many good players as possible."
Meanwhile, the Jackson addition had to do with McVay's history with Jackson (the two worked together in Washington from 2014-16) and the chance to add a "smart, explosive player" to L.A.'s offense.
"He brings an element to our offense where he adds to a really solid receiving group," McVay said. "He's known for the ability to stretch the top shelf of the defense, and create and add to some of those explosives, but it certainly isn't exclusive to that."
As for Bojorquez, Snead indicated signing him was a value opportunity for the Rams, while McVay was adamant that Bojorquez was not brought in to compete with incumbent Johnny Hekker.
"Johnny's resume speaks for itself," Snead said.