LA Rams draft strategy improved dramatically since this overlooked draft class

The LA Rams recent rookie classes have been spectacular. Let's look back at when the Rams seemed to focus on the right rookie attributes...

Les Snead, Los Angeles Rams
Les Snead, Los Angeles Rams / Ric Tapia/GettyImages

There has been a great deal of microscopic assessment of the LA Rams draft efforts in recent years, particularly in light of the absence of any Round 1 picks since 2016. That was the year before the LA Rams hired Sean McVay to be the youngest NFL head coach, as head coach of the LA Rams. It's 2023, seven years later, and McVay remains the youngest head coach in the NFL.

But when it comes to the LA Rams roster building strategy, the Rams front office has been at the cutting edge of the latest fads. For the first several years, the Rams were more than happy to trade draft picks in the future for present day veteran help. But that all changed when the LA Rams entered the 2022 NFL Draft.

In 2021, the Rams targeted athletic freaks, with the expectation that they could learn how to compete effectively in the NFL. That strategy seemed to backfire. In 2022, and without many valuable picks, the Rams regrouped and seemed to target rookie prospects who knew football fundamentals.

Despite the Rams entering that draft as the defending Super Bowl Champion, the Rams did not appear at the podium until late in Round 3, with the 104th overall pick. While the Rams had far less value in terms of their picks, the Rams front office demonstrated a very shrewd of carpet bombing their secondary needs with four rookie prospects, all of whom have had a significant starting or rotational role in the past two seasons.

And then there is the sensational 2023 NFL season by Rams RB Kyren Williams.


2022 (8 picks)

2023 (14 picks)

2024 (11 picks)

Round 1


Round 2

36, Steve Avila


Round 3

104, Logan Bruss

77, Byron Young


Round 3

89, Kobie Turner


Round 4

142, Decobie Durant

128, Stetson Bennett

Round 5

164, Kyren Williams

161, Nick Hampton


Round 5

174, Warren McClendon


Round 5

175, Davis Allen


Round 5

177, Puka Nacua

Round 6

211, Quentin Lake

182, Tre Tomlinson


Round 6

212, Derion Kendrick

189, Ochaun Mathis


Round 6

215, Zach Evans


Round 6


Round 7

235, Daniel Hardy

223, Ethan Evans

Round 7

253, Russ Yeast

234, Jason Taylor II

Round 7

261, AJ Arcuri

259, Desjuan Johnson

While many point to the Rams 2023 NFL Draft as the pivot point for an impressive draft, peering back to the 2022 NFL Draft reveals that the Rams began to master selecting on Day 3 of the NFL draft in 2022. Perhaps that proficiency was born out of a strong need to fill gaping holes in the Rams roster. But the Rams drafted plenty of contributors in both 2022, and then doubled down by drafting elite starters in 2023.

The Rams are projected to enter the 2024 NFL Draft with 11 draft picks, and four picks among the Top 100 selections in this year's draft. That is a far cry better than 2022, a year in which the Rams held no picks among the Top 100 selections in the draft.

The LA Rams seemed to double down in the 2023 NFL Draft, emphasizing a passion for the game as well as strong fundamentals, is their rookie selections. If the Rams use the same strategy in the 2024 NFL Draft, the team could land another 4-6 starters.

The NFL draft is not the only source of talented players, a fact proven by the Rams year after year. But the Rams are also proving that a fine eye for talent, combined with a strong desire to play the game, can be the best source of talent for a team with an eye on the NFL Playoffs.