Eight years ago, the Rams made defensive lineman Michael Brockers the 12th pick of the NFL draft. Two years later, they selected defensive lineman Aaron Donald with the 13th pick. And in 2016, the Rams traded to the top of the draft to pick Jared Goff No. 1.
Those three first-round picks are still on the Rams roster. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey and presumptive edge rusher Leonard Floyd are other first-round picks acquired by a team attempting to bounce back from a 9-7 finish.
But the October 2019 trade that brought Ramsey to Los Angeles cost the Rams first-round picks this year and in 2021.
So barring a draft-day trade, when the NFL draft begins Thursday, the Rams will be first-day spectators for the fourth year in a row.
The Rams gave up their first-round pick in 2017 as part of the 2016 trade with the Tennessee Titans that netted Goff. In 2018, the Rams traded their first-round pick to the New England Patriots for receiver Brandin Cooks. Last year, the Rams held the No. 31 pick, but packaged it with a sixth-round pick and sent it to the Atlanta Falcons in exchange for second- and third-round picks.
Since the end of last season, the Rams cut or traded four former first-round picks — Cooks, running back Todd Gurley, edge rusher Dante Fowler and linebacker Clay Matthews — and added Floyd, who has agreed to terms but not signed a one-year, $10-million contract.
The April 9 trade that sent Cooks to the Houston Texans gave the Rams an extra second-round pick.
They go into the draft with two picks in the second round — Nos. 52 and 57 — two in the third and one in the fourth, sixth and seventh rounds.
The Rams could trade up into the first round but that scenario is not probable.
“When you’re at 52, I bet teams that are trying to move out of late first would rather not come back that far,” Snead said this week.
So the Rams will be patient, and perhaps trade back to acquire more picks.
“When you’re picking 52, 57 there is an element that you have to allow the draft to come to you a little bit,” Snead said.
The Rams could be in the market for a receiver, offensive tackle, edge rusher and cornerbacks, among other positions.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the draft will be conducted virtually, with coaches, general managers and other executives operating from their homes. McVay, Snead, chief operating officer Kevin Demoff and vice-president Tony Pastoors will be connected to each other, coaches and scouts and the NFL.
McVay is not concerned about the Rams’ draft board being hacked.
“These things never go exactly according to plan,” he said.