2023 lessons allow Rams to gauge the price of success, riling up analysts

Les Snead, Los Angeles Rams
Les Snead, Los Angeles Rams / John McCoy/GettyImages
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Premium price for a true bargain? Make it make sense

My point is that on NFL.com, Braden Fiske was the fourth-highest-ranked DL prospect on their big board. On NFL Draft Buzz, Fiske was projected to be selected in Round 2, but among the Top 10 selections of that round. So what would the cost have been had the Rams traded from 52 to 33? To 35? Had the Rams been forced to trade higher, a spot where Fiske may have been selected in other scenarios, would 'experts' still be sounding the alarm of an overpay like this:

The inherent value of a top-tier player escalates quickly as the supply for that level of perceived talent at that positional group dwindles. Five teams after three players are far less motivated to pay the asking price to trade up for one of those players than three teams after one player.

Another flaw in any what if . . . ? scenario is the circular logic that is used to deflect the reality of Braden Fiske's selection at 39. Some have argued that the Rams could have stood pat and selected Ohio State DT Mike Hall Jr. at 52. Well, here is the problem with fictional what if . . .? scenarios. They are fictional.

The fact is that had the the LA Rams not selected FIske at 39, who is to say that another DT-needy team would not have made that trade? And it was pretty common knowledge that the Rams were shopping for a stalwart defensive lineman early in this draft. On many draft boards, Mike Hall Jr. was a less-talented prospect who was projected to fall into Round 3. Wouldn't the Rams selecting Hall mid-Round 2 have been the equivalent of trading up for Fiske, but only with a player who does not harbor the same fit and upside for this defense?

The San Francisco 49ers traded a king's ransom to trade up in the 2021 NFL Draft to select QB prospect Trey Lance. Was that an overpay? Well, seeing the production gleaned from Lance in the 49ers offense, it most certainly was. But few touted the trade at the time.