Rams are ready to make their first pick of draft after sitting out opening round
They could only sit and watch as 32 players came off the board Thursday night during the first round of the NFL draft.
The Rams did not have a first-round pick — one of the costs of last year’s trade to the top of the draft to select quarterback Jared Goff — so Rams general manager Les Snead and new coach Sean McVay began reformulating plans after seeing other teams take receivers, tight ends, cornerbacks and other positions of need.
But Snead and McVay emerged from their draft room sounding optimistic about their prospects.
Barring a trade to move them forward or back, the Rams will choose fifth in Friday’s second round, the 37th pick overall.
Is the player they projected to be in that spot still available?
“Still there,” Snead said.
“Players,” McVay added. “Players…. You feel really good about a bunch of different guys.”
The Rams are scheduled to make two selections Friday. Along with the 37th pick, they have a third-round pick, the 69th overall.
They have six picks in rounds 4 through 7 on Saturday.
McVay last season oversaw the NFL’s third-best offense as offensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins. Now he has taken control of a Rams team that ranked last in offense the last two seasons.
Snead, McVay and other coaches and scouts — along with Rams fans — saw three receivers selected among the first nine picks. Five cornerbacks were chosen and three tight ends.
“Early in the round it was like a fan, you didn’t really know who was going to go where,” Snead said, adding, “Toward the end there, heck, when it gets around pick 25, 26, 27, you realize, ‘OK, we’re getting closer.’
The run on receivers began early. With the No. 5 pick that Tennessee acquired from the Rams in the trade that netted Goff, the Titans selected Western Michigan receiver Corey Davis. Two picks later, the Chargers chose Clemson’s Mike Williams. Two picks after that, the Cincinnati Bengals chose Washington’s John Ross.
USC’s JuJu Smith-Schuster and East Carolina’s Zay Jones are among the receivers still available.
No cornerbacks were chosen in the top 10. But Ohio State’s Marshon Lattimore (11th), Alabama’s Marlon Humphrey (16th), USC’s Adoree’ Jackson (18th), Ohio State’s Gareon Conley (24th) and Louisiana State’s Tre’Davious White (27th) eventually were selected.
Kevin King of Washington, Chidobe Awuzie of Colorado, Quincy Wilson of Florida and Fabian Moreau of UCLA are among cornerbacks still available.
With top tight ends O.J. Howard, Evan Engram and David Njoku already selected, the Rams might consider Jake Butt of Michigan or Bucky Hodges of Virginia Tech.
There also are several highly regarded offensive linemen, defensive linemen and linebackers still available.
“I think it will kind of naturally sort itself out,” McVay said. “But the thing that you do feel good about is, when you look at the depth of this draft, there’s a lot of good players at different positions that we feel really good about.
“And that kind of gives us some flexibility of what we want to do at 37 that’s going to help us get better.”
Follow Gary Klein on Twitter @latimesklein
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