Jason Kelce retirement could derail Rams draft plans, unless . . .

The Rams may be able to leverage the Eagles sudden need for an elite center prospect to improve their draft position.

Super Bowl LVIII - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs. Jason Kelce,
Super Bowl LVIII - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs. Jason Kelce, / Harry How/GettyImages
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The LA Rams are making a selection in Round 1 for the first time since 2016. For the first time, the Rams do not get to relax over a cold beer while the other NFL teams monitor the draft board, plotting and planning their strategy of whether or not to move up in the draft, and how far. But this year, the team is exposed to the hopes and disappointments of choosing their player on Day 1. Now, let's just push a pin on that thought for now.

The Philadelphia Eagles have suspected that their offensive center of 13 years, Jason Kelce, is finally retiring. He is a seven time Pro Bowler, and a six time AP All-Pro player. He's won a Super Bowl, and lost a Super Bowl. But regardless of how well or unwell the Eagles played, everyone knew that Kelce was going to compete with everything he's got.

But that is no longer the case. Jason Kelce has hung up his cleats and has decided to retire.

So what does that have to do with the LA Rams? Hear me out.

The Philadelphia Eagles are accustomed to having an All-Pro performance at the center position. But now, they no longer have Kelce to depend on. As it now stands, the Philadelphia Eagles are selecting in Round 1 with the 22nd overall pick. The LA Rams, as stated above, are selecting in the same round with the 19th overall pick.

The best center in the 2024 NFL Draft is, by consensus, Oregon center Jackson Powers-Johnson. Whether or not the Philadelphia Eagles meet with him, you have to believe that he is one of their Round 1 options in the 2024 NFL Draft.

If the Rams are also smitten with Jackson Powers-Johnson, then they have to believe that the Eagles will be willing to trade up to select him. That means that the Eagles will be trying to trade with the Cincinnati Bengals or sooner to choose JPJ before the Rams can take him off the board.

But if the Rams were willing to talk to the Eagles about trading back? Now we have a curious draft strategy. To move up to the Rams spot at 19, the Rams could demand the Eagles first round pick at 22, plus their Rouhd 3 pick at 97. The trade would look like this:

Eagles trade up

It will be hard for some fans to surrender a chance to land the top center of the 2024 NFL Draft. But if he is not on the Rams radar as a prospect to add to the roster, then it makes perfect sense to leverage the Eagles immediate need for a new center by dangling that pick out for them to acquire, at a premium price.

That would result in the Rams holding picks at 22, 52, 83, 93, and 100 through the first two days of the draft. Used wisely, that could translate into five more starting players for this team.

Everything is fair in love and war. And I don't believe that Eagles GM Howie Roseman would hesitate to exploit the Rams need for a rookie prospect to gain higher ground. So, no reason why the Rams should not be prepared to take advantage of the situation either.

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