The LA Rams currently hold a Round 1 draft pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. But will the team use it? That seemed to be a preposterous idea when the LA Rams limped into their Week 10 BYE with a record of 3-6. At that point in time, it seemed almost a lock that the Rams would hold a Top-10 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. After the seven year drought of not selecting on Day 1 of an NFL draft, it seemed to be fitting.
The thing is, these LA Rams have improved from 3-6 to 8-7, thanks to a 5-1 run after their BYE. Right now, Tankathon.com projects the LA Rams first-round pick to fall as the 21st overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. So at that spot, do the Rams make a selection? Or do the Rams do what they have done since hiring head coach Sean McVay in 2017, and trade that Round 1 pick?
If you believe that the NFL Draft is a guaranteed onramp to load up with future NFL Pro Bowlers, think again. Yes, the LA Rams rookie class of 2023 is phenomenally talented. And yes, the Rams have hit on about 10 of 14 players selected. But that is by far a unicorn draft. The best that the Rams, or any team, can realistically hope for is to land contributors about 50 percent of the time.
Will the Rams keep their Round 1 pick?
We explored hit rates from the NFL draft in a November 2023 article. We explored the hit rates for positions that were addressed in Round 1 of the NFL Draft. But we also explored the chances of drafting an NFL starter in later rounds as well. While some positions suffer a steep decline in the success rate out of Round 1 (such as quarterback), other positions do not suffer much of a decline in later rounds (such as offensive tackle).
Per the NFL Draft Value Chart, if the Rams enter the 2024 NFL Draft with the 21st overall pick, that pick is the equivalent of two early picks in Round 2. Would the Rams trade the 21st overall pick if the Washington Commanders offered up their two second-round picks, currently projected as the 36th overall pick and the 41st overall pick? Per the LA Rams track record, the salary implications of those rookie slots, and the nature of the 2024 NFL Draft, I would be very surprised if they didn't trade back.
Of course, the Rams front office cannot dictate the terms of trading back. It takes two teams to negotiate a trade, and the talent level expected to be available in the 2024 NFL Draft is such that the Rams may not get many offers as teams believe very talented players could fall to them in this draft.
Of course, there are plenty of draft day trades that involve teams that wish to move up in Round 1. Six such trades occured in the 2023 NFL Draft, and a similar number could occur in the next draft. The Rams Round 1 pick is an ideal spot for a late Round 1 selecting team to trade up to. If the Rams negotiate well, they could remain in Round 1, while adding another pick in Rounds 2 or 3 for Day 2.
The further the Rams fall in the draft order, I believe the more likely that the Rams trade back, and perhaps trade out, of Round 1
What are your thoughts? Should the Rams stick in Round 1 no matter what they are offered? Let us know in the comments section of our Facebook page. Merry Christmas and Happy New Years!