The LA Rams have not invested a single NFL Draft pick into the quarterback position (directly) since hiring head coach Sean McVay. That’s a problem and a foolish oversight. We know how popular the LA Rams offensive coaching staff has become over the years, as the Rams have been forced to hire practically half of their coaches after other NFL teams have cannibalized the staff to improve their own teams.
And the Rams get no compensation for that.
What would a scenario look like if the Rams had dared to invest a seventh-round draft pick occasionally into developing a quarterback? While any discussion about that scenario is purely speculation, we can take a look at the LA Rams division rivals, the San Francisco 49ers, and perhaps learn enough to make the team rethink the way they address the backup quarterback position.
Purdy good game manager
Despite the 49ers trading up to draft quarterback Trey Lance with the third overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, and despite the inability to trade away injured veteran Jimmy Garoppolo, the 49ers invested a seventh-round draft pick into a quarterback from Iowa State named Brock Purdy.
The thing about drafting Purdy for the 49ers is that he played the quarterback position, and that was clearly not a perceived need for the team heading into the 2022 NFL season. The Niners had already committed to turning over the keys to young quarterback Trey Lance. And, should he fall to injury, the team had wily veteran quarterback Jimmy Garappolo waiting in the wings to take over. And yet, here we are, with Purdy about to start his third NFL Playoffs game.
He is not a gunslinger. In nine games played, he threw 170 passes and completed 114 for 1,374 yards, 13 touchdowns, and just four interceptions. That is an average of just under 153 yards per game. But the 49ers’ defense and rushing attack have afforded him the opportunity to be just a game manager along the lines of former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer.
Demand for Rams ex-QBs could be very high
To be fair, the LA Rams chapter with backup quarterback Baker Mayfield was similar. Mayfield threw 129 passes, completing 82 for 850 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions. That averages out to just 170 yards per game. Curiously, that five-game performance has some fans clamoring for the Rams to extend Mayfield.
Now, imagine what the LA Rams might do with a rookie quarterback who is added on Day 3 in the draft. We already that the demand for Rams offensive coaches outpaces the annual supply. What might the demand for a drafted quarterback be after four years in the Rams system? If you observe what QB Jared Goff is doing with the Detroit Lions offense, you can logically guess that ex-Rams quarterback free agents would be in high demand.
If the Rams let backup QB Baker Mayfield test his value in the NFL Free Agency market, we’ll get a good estimate of the demand for an ex-Rams QB. He is projected to be in the market that includes veteran QBs Derek Carr, Tom Brady, Sam Darnold, Jimmy Garoppolo, and even Lamar Jackson. If he lands a solid contract, that pretty much confirms that the Rams have an untapped avenue for accumulating value going forward.
The Rams should have already been exploiting the demand for ex-players by generating and feeding the NFL demand for Rams-trained quarterbacks. But better late than never . . .