ESPN’s Bill Barnwell has a piece up today analyzing which teams have gained and lost the most and least capital in the 2017 NFL Draft. Using this chart, Barnwell can assign a baseline of how much capital each team started with and how much they have left.
Coming off of a 4-12 season with two compensatory picks, the Rams would normally be sitting on the fifth-highest draft bounty headed into April. Having traded up for the #1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Rams are sending the #5 and #100 overall picks this year to the Tennessee Titans giving them the second-lowest draft haul.
That drop represents more lost draft capital than any team in the NFL:
Original adjusted capital: 58.1 points
Actual capital: 31.5 points (minus-45.8 percent)
The Patriots picked up a star wide receiver after winning the Super Bowl, so I suspect they're not too upset about those missing draft assets. The Rams traded up with the Titans for a quarterback who had one of the worst rookie half-seasons in recent memory, so they might not be feeling quite as sanguine. New head coach Sean McVay will be short the fifth overall selection and the 100th pick in this year's draft as part of the trade with the Titans.
The Rams did get a fourth-rounder for Rodney McLeod and moved up into the sixth round by sending their seventh-rounder and William Hayes to Miami, but the Titans own a huge chunk of Los Angeles' original draft capital. The Rams will be feeling its absence even if Goff works out, but if he doesn't...
It comes down to the fifth overall pick by and large. That selection alone is worth 24.3 points on Chase Stuart’s chart.
As has been the case, the Rams invested so heavily in Jared Goff that he’s got to outplay the opportunity costs to justify the decision in the long term. And perhaps moreover, the Rams have to find quality on Day 2 of the 2017 NFL Draft and hope the first round offers enough busts in the top 10 that Rams fans aren’t clamoring “what if” moving forward.
Coming out of a year in which they went 4-12 and posted the NFL’s worst offense, having the next-to-least draft capital and having shed more of it than any other NFL team seems like an imperfect strategy.