The LA Rams did not make a selection in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. That is not news. The Rams have not made a selection in Round 1 of any draft since General Manager Les Snead was joined by Head Coach Sean McVay some five years ago, and faced the 2017 NFL Draft together. This year, the team did not make a selection until the very end of Round 3.
So how can I claim that any drop in the draft, let alone Day 1 of the NFL Draft, in 2022 has anything to do with the LA Rams? Simply stated, the Rams were joined by seven other teams this year, all of whom followed the same trade-out-of-round-one pattern for a game-changing NFL veteran of their own.
That trend, removing 25 percent of the NFL teams, and all of their fans, from the drama of Day 1 of the NFL Draft, resulted in the viewership from the first day of the draft falling to 10.03 million, which is a full 33 percent drop from the viewers from just two short years ago.
But while the drama on Day 1 has dropped precipitously, the LA Rams have not abandoned the NFL Draft completely. In fact, in many ways, the Rams have simply focused far more attention on later rounds, and added more importance to players who had earlier been designated as Irrelevant in past drafts.
Again, an assertion without foundation? Not entirely. Simply an expressed interpretation of the LA Rams’ behind-the-scenes Draft Day Tweet: Inside The Draft presented by their Draft headquarters host – Rocket Mortgage.
While there is plenty of pressure in drafting earlier to get THE guy, drafting later forces the Rams organization to make educated guesses over who would and would not remain on the draft board when they chose at 104.
But in preparing for that selection, the team not only had to assess the fit, makeup, positional need, and skillsets for any prospect believed to remain on the board at 104, but they also had to take the additional step of preparing a draft board by removing those players who they were certain would not be available at 104.
In the end, the LA Rams appear to have made optimal use of their 2022 NFL Draft picks. We will find out how well in the months ahead as we begin to get reports out of training camp. In the meantime, reduced ratings on Day 1 of future NFL Drafts may compel the NFL/NFLPA to consider revising the format once more. Perhaps an eight-round draft with Day 1 including rounds one and two? At least in that format, the NFL is bound to attract LA Rams fans to tune in. Well, four out of five years, at least.