To many teams, the annual scramble to round out their roster with undrafted rookies to add to the roster is merely an extension of their draft process. It’s a list of draftable prospects who, for one reason or another, simply failed to hear their name called out during the 255+ scheduled selections of allotted draft picks.
But for the LA Rams, the process of signing undrafted rookies to the roster after the draft seem to take on a life of its own. This is not just chasing down the guys who were projected to hear their names in early rounds, but who ended up falling out of the NFL Draft. The Rams seem to use this opportunity much like an artist uses a sketch pad.
With the persistence of an excellent scouting department aimed with the help of the Nerds Nest, scouts target players for what they may offer a patient NFL team. That means targeting smaller college football programs and signing a dozen or more players who bring unique or seldom-found skillsets to the table.
By doing so, the Rams avoid the common trap of patterning their positional rooms with players who are drafted versus those who are not. On those teams, draft players are tracked by executives who understand that failure to draft well undermines their job security.
The Rams establish a meritocracy early on and allow the coaching to invest the extra time necessary to develop the raw but talented prospects that swell their ranks for training camp. But this was not an organizational decision by enlightened senior executives. Rather, this is what has become necessary for a team that has used draft picks to add elite players to the roster, and must balance that financially with less expensive players to round out the rest of the roster.