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Tackles, receivers fly off board as Rams watch Round 1 of NFL draft

Alabama receiver Henry Ruggs III runs after a catch.
Alabama’s Henry Ruggs III is one of many talented receivers taken in the first round of the NFL draft.
(Vasha Hunt/AP/Shutterstock/Vasha Hunt/AP/Shutterstock)

The first round of the NFL draft was another quiet one for the Rams.

Having given up first-round picks this year and next in the trade that brought them cornerback Jalen Ramsey, general manager Les Snead did not anticipate an eventful Thursday evening as the first 32 players were selected.

“We certainly had a lot of those players that went … as no shot of making it to the second round,” Snead said in a video conference afterward.

Friday will be busier.

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The Rams have two picks in the second round — Nos. 52 and 57 — and two in the third. They have one pick in the fourth, sixth and seventh rounds that will be conducted Saturday.

“The players that we’ve targeted, the players that we researched a lot are still there,” Snead said. “But what makes it interesting is we’re still 20 or so picks away, so a lot of good football players are going to come off before we pick.”

The Chargers kept the No. 6 pick and selected Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert. They then traded to get the 23rd pick and took Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray Jr. in the NFL draft.

The Rams watched Thursday as NFC West teams added premium talent.

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The Arizona Cardinals chose hybrid linebacker Isaiah Simmons, the San Francisco 49ers took defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw and receiver Brandon Aiyuk and the Seattle Seahawks selected linebacker Jordyn Brooks.

The Rams are in the market for players at multiple positions. After trading Brandin Cooks — and with Cooper Kupp and Josh Reynolds entering the final year of their rookie contracts — they could use a receiver.

The receiver depth in this draft played out as anticipated with six selected Thursday, including Alabama’s Henry Ruggs and Jerry Jeudy, Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb, Texas Christian’s Jalen Reagor, Louisiana State’s Justin Jefferson, and Arizona State’s Brandon Aiyuk.

Left tackle Andrew Whitworth is entering his 15th NFL season, so the Rams also could be looking for his successor. But six tackles were taken in the first round, including Georgia’s Andrew Thomas and Isaiah Wilson, Alabama’s Jedrick Wills, Louisville’s Mekhi Becton, Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs and USC’s Austin Jackson.

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Since coach Sean McVay was hired before the 2017 season, the Rams have found contributors and, in some cases, rising stars in the second and third rounds.

In 2017, the Rams selected tight end Gerald Everett in the second round. They did not have a second-round pick in 2018, but last year they selected safety Taylor Rapp.

Kupp and safety John Johnson were third-round picks in 2017. Offensive tackle Joe Noteboom was a third-round pick in 2018. Last year, running back Darrell Henderson, cornerback David Long and offensive lineman Bobby Evans were third-round picks.


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