Some OTA notes from LA Rams pre-draft press conference
By Bret Stuter
Are you getting concerned about the LA Rams' 2023 NFL season? If you are, congratulations. You have the ability to foresee the many perils and landmines that a Rams roster bursting with rookies creates for a team that has, until now, relied quite heavily upon the dependibilty of veteran leadership and performance.
The LA Rams brain trust of GM Les Snead and HC Sean McVay tried to get ahead of the curve and put some of those concerns to rest. There is a ton of perspective, information, and and views to address the rest of the next 48 hours in this press conference. The combination of Sean McVay and Les Snead is always welcome, and the truth is that while they do not directly address their draft strategy, they talk around the draft well enough to get a clearer picture over what's in store:
Even now, the LA Rams are feeling their way. This 'so many rookies' summer for the LA Rams creates its own new set of challenges
Is Aaron Donald on board?
The LA Rams clearly communicated a great deal with their three 'weight bearing walls' on the roster: QB Matthew Stafford, WR Cooper Kupp, and DL Aaron Donald. Did the players have any input in how the Rams drafted? Well, you can see the template of Aaron Donald in the players who will be tasked with getting after the quarterback by selecting shorter guys with speed and power.
To the point, McVay reassures that Aaron Donald is on board. Evidence is that he confirms that Donald merely needs to show up and compete which will elevate the play of everyone around him. That sounds like a message reassuring all veteran players that they are not expected to be excessively available to coach up or mentor younger players.
Just look at veteran Tyler Higbee's comment in the above video. When asked about questions from younger players, he laughed and emphasized 'A lot,' at the 5:10 mark. That is not the least bit surprising, in that there are more rookies than veterans, and those veterans must face a number of questions from those younger players on a regular basis.
Did the Rams fill the entire 2023 NFL draft, and not just picks at start and finish?
We have held back on assessing a grade from the LA Rams draft, if only from the point that there are 40+ players to truly assess, and that the Rams are still not at full strength. But in terms of closing the gap in picks from early Day 2 to late on Day 3, we have to give the Rams an A+. The Rams were able to navigate the draft like a dancing couple navigates the dance floor during a waltz.
While the Rams may or may not have added the favorite player we wanted, the Rams draft did emerge with 14 talented players and even grabbed some potential starters on this team on Day 3. This week, we all have our ears to the wall in the hopes of hearing some good news about the Rams rookie squadron of players
Looking back now to the Rams' pre-draft interview gives each of us a chance to measure directly how effectively the Rams were at the goals they established before the draft ever arrived. So too, we can look back when the team establishes the initial 53-man Rams roster and assess how well the team managed to prepare for the 2023 NFL season.
If this team is well prepared, the Rams will be a bit of a shock to the rest of the NFL. If this team is over its head, then the Rams' 2024 NFL Draft will be an event worth watching. In either outcome, the LA Rams will be very entertaining this season.