LA Rams 2023 NFL Draft is truly unchartered water
By Bret Stuter
I am quite eager to see what the LA Rams can do in the 2023 NFL Draft. In fact, I can almost hear it now . . .
"With the 36th pick of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Rams select . . . "
We all know the first words that will be uttered as the LA Rams make their way to the podium to announce the first rookie added to their barren roster, but the name that comes at the end of that sentence is truly anybody's guess right now. But this is a bit of a new experience for the LA Rams, insomuch as the team's draft ammunition has never been this good.
Yes, the national narrative so far would lead Rams fans, and NFL fans in general, to believe that the Rams roster is destitute, the Rams talent cupboards are bare, and the only picks that the Rams hold this year, and in future drafts are the scraps that fall on Day 3 after all the other 31 teams have gorged themselves on rookie talent. But that is not how the 2023 NFL Draft will play out, at least not with the way the Rams picks fall this year.
The LA Rams are in rather new and unchartered waters this year. For starters, they have not had a pick this many, nor paired with more picks than 11 before:
- Draft Year First Pick Total selections
- 2017 44th pick 8 picks
- 2018 89th pick 11 picks
- 2019 61st pick 8 picks
- 2020 52nd pick 9 picks
- 2021 57th pick 8 picks
- 2022 104th pick 8 picks
- 2023 36th pick 11 picks
With less than half of the roster under contract, the Rams are more like a rebuilding team than many rebuilding teams. Yes, the LA Rams are bringing back some veterans like QB Matthew Stafford, WR Cooper Kupp, DL Aaron Donald, RT Rob Havenstein and TE Tyler Higbee. But none can say for how long, or whether the returning veterans will like being the mentors to up to a dozen young players apiece. But let's park the chemistry concerns to a sidebar for the moment.
The LA Rams make their first selection at the 36th overall pick and will have three rookies on the roster before the 80th overall pick occurs. The Rams have never had a pick in the Top 40 of any draft since hiring Sean McVay to be the Head Coach of the LA Rams. The Rams have only had 11 draft picks once before in the seven drafts since McVay, and the team will have made three selections before the Rams had made a single pick in two previous drafts (2018, 2022). So when exactly do the Rams pick?
- Round Pick
- Round 2 36th overall
- Round 3 69th overall
- Round 3 77th overall (via Dolphins)
- Round 5 167th overall (comp pick)
- Round 5 171st overall (comp pick)
- Round 5 177th overall (comp pick)
- Round 6 182nd overall
- Round 6 189th overall (via Titans)
- Round 6 191st overall (via Packer)
- Round 7 223rd overall
- Round 7 234th overall (via Steelers)
- Round 7 Traded 251st overall (comp pick) to Pittsburgh Steelers
The Rams draft this year is unique in many ways, and really cannot compare to other seasons. We'll give a more detailed analysis, but let's examine the 2022 NFL Draft with the 2023 NFL Draft for a moment.
The LA Rams 2022 NFL Draft was a draft for the defending Super Bowl champions, a team that had proven that it was the biggest, baddest, and best team in the NFL. But to get there, the Rams had emptied their vault, unloading 2022 picks to acquire 2021 players. That left the team standing in a line to make their first selection after some teams had chosen three or more rookies.
This year, it's the LA Rams who hold three picks among the top 80 prospects chosen in the 2023 NFL Draft. While there are no guarantees, the Rams will have the opportunity to choose at least three players from among the most highly regarded rookies that this draft class has to offer.