Without a pick until third round, champion Rams shoot for another Hollywood ending
The star-studded Super Bowl champion Rams are basking in their Hollywood image.
On Tuesday, ahead of Thursday’s NFL draft in Las Vegas, the team released a slickly produced pseudo movie trailer entitled “On the Clock.” The three-minute video featured several Rams players, and actors playing owner Stan Kroenke, general manager Les Snead, coach Sean McVay and defensive coordinator Raheem Morris.
“Les and I both felt pretty good about it,” McVay said during a videoconference with reporters, “and I know Raheem Morris certainly feels really good that Tyrese Gibson played him.
“So, he’s been walking around with his chest out all day.”
The Rams won’t have marquee billing in the draft — they are without a first-round pick for the sixth year in a row — but they will continue their Hollywood theme by conducting business and making their picks from a palatial Hollywood Hills home.
Reporters who cover their teams on a daily basis predict how the first round of the 2022 NFL draft will unfold in The Times’ beat writers’ mock draft.
Last year, the Rams conducted the draft from a house in Malibu. Snead remained at his home because of a COVID-19 issue.
So, McVay is looking forward to being together on site.
“It’s a great set-up — I mean you look at just the setting, the views, the house, it’s incredible,” McVay said. “For us, the most important thing is the functionality. ... I’ll be glad that Les and I are in person together since he, hopefully, knock on wood won’t catch COVID.”
Unless they make a move to trade up — “Always a possibility,” Snead said — the Rams will not pick until the end of the third round, with pick No. 104. They have eight picks, including one in the fourth and fifth rounds, three in the sixth round and two in the seventh.
“The key is identifying guys that we have a vision for that fit within out culture, but also fit for some of the voids we might have, the areas of need,” McVay said.
With Von Miller having left to sign a massive contract with the Buffalo Bills, and Obo Okoronkwo signing with the Houston Texans, the Rams are expected to explore selecting an outside linebacker. Leonard Floyd starts on one side, with Justin Hollins, Terrell Lewis and Chris Garrett competing for a spot opposite Floyd.
“We love people who can rush the passer,” Snead said when asked about interest in drafting an edge rusher. “They key is: Will there be any on the board when we go to pick?”
Said McVay: “That’s the question.”
The Rams also are expected to consider selecting defensive backs. Star cornerback Jalen Ramsey leads a secondary that also includes cornerbacks David Long and Robert Rochell, and safeties Jordan Fuller, Taylor Rapp, Nick Scott and Terrell Burgess.
The Rams will consider other positions as well.
And though they are without first- and second-round picks, the Rams could move to acquire more late-round picks. Snead has never shied from trading back to do just that.
After a recent spike in salaries for NFL wide receivers, can Cooper Kupp expect to haul in a new contract that will make him the highest-paid wideout?
“We’re going to come away some players that we expect to help us a lot sooner than later,” McVay said.
Barring a trade to move up, the Rams will not be on the clock until late Friday night. They will be busy on Saturday, when rounds four through seven are conducted.
Last year, after selecting receiver Tutu Atwell in the second round, the Rams drafted linebacker Ernest Jones in the third round, defensive lineman Bobby Brown, Rochell and tight end Jacob Harris in the fourth, defensive lineman Earnest Brown IV in the fifth and running back Jake Funk, receiver Ben Skowronek and Garrett in the seventh.
This week, the Rams’ draft decisions will be “unfolding in the moment,” McVay said.
“Les gets real frenetic, in a good way, as the clock starts ticking down,” McVay joked, “and it’s fun for us.”
This will be the 11th draft Snead has overseen since he was hired in 2012.
“Les is the basket case now,” McVay said, “and I’m the basket case during the season.”
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