Rams failure to trade up to 39 would have been the greater evil

Los Angeles Rams Offseason Workout, Les Snead
Los Angeles Rams Offseason Workout, Les Snead / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages
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The quality of the player selected

Whenever assessing the value of a draft pick, do not lose sight of the fact that the draft pick is merely currency, and the value of currency reflects what you can buy with that currency. What that means is that a pick at the same spot in an NFL Draft has differing values based on who is on the draft board with that selection. Huh?

Let's equate draft picks to the ambiguous digital currency known as Bitcoin. To some, Bitcoins hold tremendous value. As of 7:45 am PT on May 4, 2024, the relative value of 1.0 bitcoin is translated into $63,667.97. But you cannot just walk into a bank and convert bitcoins into US currency. You must find a site that either: accepts Bitcoin for purchasing or translates Bitcoin into currency. It's much easier to invest in bitcoin than it is to divest from it. To others, Bitcoins hold no value.

Draft picks are the same way. Picks have no intrinsic value by themselves. The value that they possess lies in what those picks can acquire for the team. In the case of the 39th overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, the value of that pick was the opportunity to select DT Braden Fiske and add him to the LA Rams roster.

But if you compare the value of picks offered to acquire Fiske, they are much less comparative value than that offered to acquire Carolina Panthers DE Brian Burns. Few argued that the team was overpaying with that offer at the time. The Rams traded a Round 4 and Round 6 pick to the New England Patriots to rent RB Sony Michel for one season. There were no alarms sounded at the 'overpay' for a veteran running back who was almost certain to be released from the Patriots roster.

Clearly the Rams believe that the value of Braden Fiske is the equivalent of a Round 1 player. Are they correct? While his individual value to the team can be up for debate, don't lose sight of the fact that Fiske enhances the value of selecting Jared Verse in Round 1 as well.

So, breaking this down, the trade up for DT Braden Fiske allowed the Rams to:

  • Select the top Round 2 target on their draft board
  • Complete the set of acquiring two key contributors of Seminoles defense
  • Upgrade the value of Jared Verse selection in Round 1
  • Ensure that the defense lands a rookie who can start in 2024

You may or may not agree with all of those presumptions. But the Rams front office does. And they are the originators of the trade up to 39.