For nearly a week, NFL analysts have wondered whether the Rams would have traded for the No. 1 pick if they weren’t moving to Los Angeles. After all, trading for the top pick is a sexy move for a sexy market – and it wasn’t cheap. The Rams gave up first-round picks this year and next, third-round picks this year and next, and a pair of second-round picks this year to draft Jared Goff or Carson Wentz first overall.
That’s a lot of picks.
Rams general manager Les Snead, however, said the Los Angeles market had no bearing on the franchise’s decision to move up from No. 15 to No. 1 and that they would have done the same thing if they were still in St. Louis.
“No matter where we would have been, this is the move we would have made,” Snead told Damon Amendolara and Jason La Canfora, who were filling in as hosts for CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I think we do have a philosophy that whatever headline or splash you make (between) the Super Bowl and running up to September – if they’re splashes, they’re shallow and they can dissipate pretty easily. You earn your columns and headlines and tweets during the season. The important part of our calendar is September through January.”
Snead said “all rational human beings” can assume which position the Rams are targeting with the No. 1 pick. He did not disclose which prospect they will select, but he does believe the franchise has done its due diligence.
“These guys have definitely been analyzed,” he said, referring to Goff and Wentz. “A lot of smart people probably have some of the roses and thorns, pros and cons to both. Every player has a reason he’s going to be successful and maybe something he’s got to work on and overcome. With QBs, you always got to look at, ‘Hey, do you think this guy is going to be the guy long-term and not necessarily for the opening day?’ You’re not making this move and totally concerned about the lineup that you’re going to pencil in for Game One, 2016. It’s more about, ‘Hey, who’s the right guy for 2016 and beyond? A lot of years beyond.’
“(So) there’s a large percentage of the work already done,” Snead continued. “Over the next 10 days, yes, we will cross some Ts, dot some Is and figure out the final period to the sentence. I think a lot of the energy over the next 10 days will be spent on Rounds 4 and 6 – that’s where we have four picks – and trying to make the most out of that, along with college free agency. A big percentage of the work and analysis going into making this move is already done.”
The Rams last had the No. 1 pick in 2010, when they drafted Sam Bradford. Since then, St. Louis has started seven different quarterbacks and gone 36-59-1.
“I think you definitely need a quarterback to win consistently in this league,” Snead said. “You’ve got to be stable at that position, and for many reasons, we haven’t been stable at that position after Sam won Rookie of the Year. He had a couple of knee injuries, and that just caused instability at that position. What we’ve done over those four years is build a young core. We’ve had the youngest team in football four years in a row, and because of that young core, we did feel like we could give up some picks, go get a position, stabilize it and go from there. It’s all because of what we’ve done over the last four years.”