Which NFL team started the run on DTs and forced Rams to trade up in Round 2?

Which NFL team began the run on DTs in the 2024 NFL Draft? A familiar face, it turns out . . .
NFL Combine, Braden Fiske
NFL Combine, Braden Fiske / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

When it comes to the 2024 NFL Draft, the LA Rams front office certainly had their work cut out for themselves. After all, the team had no way to disguise or camouflage the need for a defensive tackle after the retirement of All-Pro DT Aaron Donald. Compounding the matter is the fact that the DT position group was not excessively deep this year. When the run on defensive tackles began, as it certainly would, the team knew that it had to act fast.

There was insufficient depth at the position to sit back and wait for a star to fall to the Rams at the 52nd overall pick. After Round 1 of the draft focused on quarterbacks, offensive tackles, wide receivers, edge rushers, and defensive backs, the Rams had to know that defensive tackle would fly off the board in the early stages of Round 2.

And they did.

In a post-draft interview with Ricky Hollywood, Rams GM Les Snead admitted that the LA Rams had already decided to trade up for Florida State DT Braden Fiske by the time Round 2 had arrived. (see the 3:05 mark in the video below)

Now the only decision point that remained was simply: When did the Rams need to pull the trigger to trade up?

To determine that, let's revisit the order of how the draft impacted the defensive tackle position.




NFL Team

Byron Murphy II

Round 1

Pick 16

Seattle Seahawks

Ruke Orhorhoro

Round 2

Pick 3

Atlanta Falcons

Jer'Zhan Newton

Round 2

Pick 4

Washington Commanders

T'Vondre Sweat

Round 2

Pick 6

Tennessee Titans

Braden Fiske

Round 2

Pick 7

LA Rams

Maason Smith

Round 2

Pick 16

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kris Jenkins

Round 2

Pick 17

Cincinnati Bengals

As you can see, the Seattle Seahawks claimed the first and certainly one of the most respected defensive linemen in this draft by choosing former Texas Longhorns defensive tackle Byron Murphy II in Round 1. But the action didn't pick up until the Atlanta Falcons, led by new head coach Raheem Morris selected Clemson defensive tackle Ruke Orhorhoro with the 35th overall pick of the 2024 NFL Draft in Round 2.

Was Orhorhoro on the Rams short list of defensive linemen targets?

From that point on, it was off to the races in terms of the Rams need to trade up to ensure Fiske would end up on the Rams roster.

It looking back at their NFL Draft profiles, Braden Fiske was projected for Round 2. And Michigan DT Kris Jenkins was projected for Round 2, but admittedly not for all teams. LSU Maason Smith was projected to fall to Round 3, and was believed to be a point in the draft where the 'tier' level at defensive tackle began to drop quickly.

In the end, the Rams loved what the combination of Braden Fiske and Jared Verse brings to thier defense. Fortune favors the bold, and the LA Rams certainly were bold enough to trade up to select Fiske before he too was gone.

Which NFL team started the run on DTs and forced Rams to trade up in Round 2? In the end, the culprit was none other than the Atlanta Falcons, a team that would know the Rams needs for a defensive tackle as well as anyone. HC Raheem Morris wanted to ensure that the Falcons had their pick of the litter at DT.

Now, we must wait to see which team chose wisely.

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