Les Snead and the Los Angeles Rams’ personnel department are the wild strangers that run up to the roulette table, put their entire bankroll on black, and ride that wave until red hits. As most teams tend to run conservatively to build a winner, LA slapped a 200-shot of nitrous to their engine, hoping to win the race before the engine blows up. And now the Rams and their talented roster are playing in Super Bowl 56.
Rams go all-in for Super Bowls
The Los Angeles Rams‘ last first-round pick was Jared Goff. Goff played for five seasons in Los Angeles. There’s no greater proof that building a team through the draft is overrated more than that. The Rams haven’t made a first-round pick since 2016. In 2018, their first pick was in the third round, which is also valid for 2022.
For years, media and fans have condemned the Rams for their lack of interest in traditionally building a team. They were “all-in” for the entirety of the Jared Goff era. They pushed the boundaries to win a Super Bowl before paying the big QB contract.
Despite pushing the boundaries for years, there are still six franchises with less cap space than the Rams. The only other team there that has been pushing the boundaries the same way was New Orleans, who is -$60 million in debt heading into 2022. The Rams are at -$8 million.
Hitting home runs in pro personnel
There is an argument that Les Snead should be Executive of the Year. Just this season (and offseason), he made massive moves. In fact, those moves got them to this point.
- Traded for Matthew Stafford
- Re-signed Leonard Floyd
- Trade for Sony Michel
- Trade for Von Miller
- Claimed Odell Beckham Jr.
Stafford was a home-run swing on an older former top pick that had underachieved in a lousy organization. The swing connected, sending a moonshot to left-center field for 440 feet.
The Von Miller trade at the deadline shocked everyone, including Miller. Miller’s transformed the Rams’ defense, and his game against Tampa Bay was a vintage playoff performance. Beckham Jr. has really come into his own for the Rams, having two of his biggest games in the playoffs.
Michel was the most productive back in Los Angeles this season. The trade showed Snead’s willingness to adapt when things go wrong, as he traded for Michel after Cam Akers’ injury. Floyd was the Rams’ second-most-productive pass rusher of the regular season behind Aaron Donald.
And they traded multiple first-round picks for Jalen Ramsey, who was just voted as an All-Pro for the third time.
Hitting after Round 1 of the NFL Draft
Although they haven’t carried a Day 1 pick since prior to the Trump administration, the Rams have hit on some important pieces that are contributing to their current success.
- Ernest Jones (pick No. 103 — 2021)
- Cam Akers (pick No. 52 — 2020)
- Van Jefferson (pick No. 57 — 2020)
- Jordan Fuller (pick No. 199 — 2020)
- Taylor Rapp (pick No. 61 — 2019)
- David Long Jr. (pick No. 79 — 2019)
- Greg Gaines (pick No. 134 — 2019)
- Nick Scott (pick No. 243 — 2019)
Scott just recently was forced into the starting lineup during the playoff run. He made a few massive plays during the Buccaneers game, including an interception. Gaines has evolved into one of the more dominant run defenders in the league. Before getting hurt — and even dating back to last season — Fuller was a massive hit with the 199th overall pick.
The Rams are all-in. However, there’s a level of control to the chaos. They’re also attacking a market inefficiency, as trading for non-quarterbacks in the NFL often nets a solid contributor for a fraction of the cost, given most draft picks will never become a solid veteran contributor.
The league values the draft. And the Rams continue to exploit that.