Which direction will the LA Rams go with the 19th overall pick?

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Option II: Trade back

There is a perception among some fans that an NFL general manager goes into an NFL Draft with the desire to trade back. I don't see that as the fundamental reason for doing so. In fact, the two scenarios that trigger the consideration to trade back have nothing to do with a general manager openly seeking retreat.

In the first option, the loftiness of the pick is so high that other teams will openly bid for that pick in a virtual auction type scenario. When the Carolina Panthers persuaded the Chicago Bears to trade back in the 2023 NFL Draft (see previous slide), their trade package of two firsts, two seconds, and a star wide receiver to move back eight spots in the draft was simply too tempting to resist.

Almost every pick through the first four rounds of an NFL Draft comes with options to trade back with another team. But teams do not often make the trade because they want to make a selection from the players on the board. So what other motivation might a team have to trade back?

Lack of value on the board with that pick

Because 32 teams are all actively competing for the sme players, there are occasions during an NFL Draft when the team may have a pick to use, but do not have any targeted prospects remaining on the board for that pick. If and when that happens, teams often opt to trade back, add additional picks in this or future drafts, and regroup around the next pick.

There are good reasons to do so. Not only does trading back add additional picks either in this draft or future drafts, but it allows the front office to rescheme strategy to adapt to current circumstances. And by trading back, teams lower the cost of adding rookies to the roster, as later selections cost less.

Of course, the Rams could opt to trade back at any point in either of the first two days of the draft if they are focused on adding a pick in Round 4 to fill in the gap between Rounds 3 and late in Round 5. Ultimately, the decision to trade back is the opposite of reasons to trade up. Trading up is intended to be in position to select a specific player. Trading back is intended to move down because no player of interest is currently on the draft board.