How the LA Rams 2023 draft class is vital for 2025 and 2026

Los Angeles Rams Offseason Workout Les Snead
Los Angeles Rams Offseason Workout Les Snead / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages

The LA Rams certainly changed their traditional strategy as far as how the front office went about assembling the Rams roster in 2023. This was a year for the Rams to open up the floodgates and pour 14 rookies from the 2023 NFL Draft into the Rams roster. And for the most part, most of the focus on the Rams' strategy has centered on two things: How does this method set the Rams up to compete in 2023, and how does this method set up the Rams' draft position in the 2024 NFL Draft?

But to tell you the truth, both impacts feel a bit like the checkers game that other teams employ when focusing on their strategy. And it's been my experience that the Rams have, for the most part, taken an approach that seems to rely on the long game. I may simply be a bit paranoid, but am I missing something about the Rams willingness to batch onboard 40+ rookies onto the roster this season?

While there is no denying the financial factor, the reality that players in their rookie contracts are simply the best economic value to an NFL team if they can play at the NFL level, I cannot believe that dollars are cents are the only elements that make sense right now. What else is there?

Rams long game is more inspired than many realize

So what else could there be? Well, I have to push myself away from the keyboard and just let my mind wander a bit on this one. But if the LA Rams hit on 20 of there 40+ rookie additions to the Rams roster, how will that affect the Rams over the next four seasons?

Each year, contracts expire. If you look at the LA Rams players who hit the NFL free agency market in 2023, this team lost 15 players who signed with other teams, the Rams were only able to extend two players, and ten players remain unsigned to date. So what?

Next season, only 19 players are under contract that will expire. That number could decrease as the Rams sort out the current roster and make the appropriate cuts to get down to their 53-man active roster limit. The following year, the Rams project to have just 16 players test their value in free agency.

By onboarding so many young players in 2023, the Rams have essentially slowed down their attrition rate over the next four years. Yes, the team will still have players enter the NFL Free Agency market. Yes, the Rams, like all 32 NFL teams, will need to mete out how much they spend each season so as to ensure a positional and chronological balance to the team's payroll expense.

Well played, Les Snead, well played

But the LA Rams may be playing chess after all. Two factors that determine the ability of an NFL team to successfully compete in the NFL Playoffs is durability (health) and continuity (how long players have played together). In summary, the Rams not only have reset payroll outlays, but this team has pressed the reset button on their expiring contracts as well.

If we focus solely on the team's 53-man roster and assume a 25 percent turnover each year (due to four-year rookie contracts), the Rams only have to roster 13 players this season. But factoring in special teams starters, a 14-player 2023 rookie draft class, and the odd 2-5 players who make the team without being drafted, the Rams are adding up to 20 rookies to the roster this year.

That huge spike in 2023 rookies means that for the next three years, the number of Rams players hitting the NFL free agency market will be less an average year. Fewer losses from the roster means that the Rams have decidedly improved their continuity over the next four years as well.

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Of course, rampant injuries or an epidemic of whiffs of new players who simply do not fit the Rams scheme will undermine the impact of such a huge rookie class. But from this early vantage point, and as we sort through the talent of players added to the Rams roster so far, this appears to be a tactic that could prove quite successful and advantageous for the Rams future success.