How did those LA Rams draft day trades impact the 2024 NFL Draft?

Ole Miss Zach Evans
Ole Miss Zach Evans / Tim Warner/GettyImages

The LA Rams are normally a wheelin' and dealin' type of team in any given NFL Draft environment. But the Rams were especially deal-driven in the 2023 NFL Draft. Entering with just 11 picks and 46 open roster spots, the Rams were more than happy to explore trades that not only allowed them to align rookie prospects on their big board with the team's picks, but also allowed the team to multiply their number of picks.

I want to be very clear. The objective of any NFL Draft is to make optimal upgrades to the Rams' roster. That is the objective no matter which method is used. Those who opt for making picks at the top of the draft believe that there is ore science than random chance to the draft, and any choice to trade back ultimately lessens the chances of finding players to upgrade the roster.

Those who adhere to the theory that the NFL Draft is nothing more than a set of NFL-glorified scratch tickets believe that there is little science to it and that the best way to optimize an NFL Draft impact on upgrading the Rams roster is to increase the number of picks. In the 2023 NFL Draft, the Rams opted to increase their number of picks. Here's what took place:

Day 2 Draft Day trades

The two Day 2 trades had a common theme, shrink the 90-pick gap between the team's Round 3 pick at the 77th overall pick and the team's Round 5 pick at the 167th overall pick. The Rams started off by trading with the Houston Texans to move back four spots in Round 3 and move up 30 spots in Round 6 into Round 5. Here is that that trade looked like:

When the Rams arrived at the 73rd overall pick, the team agreed to trade back 16 spots, still in Round 3, and by doing so add the 128th overall pick in Round 4. Here was that trade announcement:

Now keep in mind that this second trade on Day 2 by the Rams was touted as a win-win exchange: FMIA's Underrated trade of the weekend. At the 89th overall pick, the LA Rams added Wake Forest, DL Kobie Turner. And with the 128th overall pick, the LA Rams landed Georgia QB Stetson Bennett.

Draft Day 3 trades

With four selection made, the Rams began to target more picks, and traded back seven spots in Round 5 to add an additional pick in Round 7:

The Rams doubled down shortly thereafter, moving back four more spots in Round 5 and adding another pick in Round 7:

At the 174th overall pick in Round 5, the Rams added Georgia OT Warren McClendon Jr., and with the 175th overall pick, the Rams picked up Clemson TE Davis Allen. The final trade of the day occured when the Rams packaged a 2024 sixth-round pick with the 252nd overall pick to move up 37 spots to the 215th overall pick.

With the 215th overall pick, the LA Rams selected Ole Miss RB Zach Evans, a versatile running back who most draft boards projected to be selected as early as Round 3.

The LA Rams closed out the 2023 NFL Draft by selecting Toledo DE Desjuan Johnson.

When all of the smoke cleared, the Rams traded a 2024 Round 6 pick, but did so to get a huge bargain in the 2023 NFL Draft in RB Zach Evans. And the Rams did add 3 picks to their original 11 during the process.

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Was it all worth it? Well, we really won't know for some time. But the Rams did seem to jump up to grab a running back who, on paper, really seems to fit what this team wants to do on offense and at the running back position going forward. Hopefully, Evans will prove his worth in the 2023 NFL season.