3 reasons why this LA Rams roster is set up for the long haul
Reason III: Rams continue to draft ‘next year’ players
The LA Rams draft strategy is not flawless. The team creates a shopping list, sets the criteria, and then goes about the annual choreography of adding a new draft class to the team’s roster. Sometimes the team finds immediate roster help, other times the team whiffs on a player. It happens.
But more often than not, the LA Rams draft depth for the future. There is no way of knowing when and if injuries will occur, or how successful the team will be at extending expiring contracts. So the Rams front office simply looks at a year ahead and uses that as a shopping list during and after the NFL Draft.
In 2021, the LA Rams drafted heavily on offensive skill players, as well as high-ceiling players able to help in a wide range of defensive roles. Next season, those players will be expected to step up and compete for a starting role, or at least for a significant rotational role on either the offense or defense.
Developing players is key to the success of any NFL team. Just one ‘off’ year from the draft can send a ripple through the team that will take several seasons and successful draft classes to recover from.
Of course, there are concerns over the class of 2021. We know that the LA Rams had several opportunities to select a promising prospect at a position of need, and failed to do so. That may or may not be important, depending on how well the overall draft class delivers in 2022. But it does illustrate the utter randomness of selecting an NFL star. Even when the draft profiles scream “future star”, NFL teams will rely on their own intelligence and analytics.
Are the Rams All-In for 2021? Of course, as are 31 other NFL teams. The only difference? The Rams are willing to trade for a player today in the belief that they will come to terms on a mutually beneficial long-term contract.