We’ve hit the month of April which means the NFL Draft is inching closer for the Los Angeles Rams and the rest of the league. Mock Drafts are everywhere and everybody fancies themselves as top talent evaluators and Madden Franchise owners. One man who treats the draft, and most recently his actual roster, sort of like a video game is Rams GM Les Snead.
As MMQB’s Peter King puts it, “Snead has never met a trade he didn’t like”. Since 2018 Snead has found himself trading players more than ever but he originally earned his gunslinging ways with draft picks. If you’ve ever wondered just how much, or even how, Snead trades picks during (or weeks before) the actual draft, I’ve got you covered in preparation for the 2018 NFL Draft, Snead’s 7th as GM.
First let me acknowledge that the amount of times Snead and the Rams have executed some sort of trade since 2012 is a little overwhelming to keep track of. So I’m focused on the instances that involve a draft pick for draft pick. Specifically, the instances where Snead and the Rams (no one has the smoking gun on who did what prior to 2017) maneuvered up or down in the draft from their draft slot.
For the sake of clarity, I’m not going to count picks acquired for other year’s drafts (ex. the RG3 trade’s bounty) or include the entire trade details. Since 2012 the Rams have moved up or down a total of 13 times. Listed with the Rams’ original pick first to where they actually picked, here we go:
- 2nd to 6th overall
- 6th to 14th
- 45th to 50th
Otherwise known as the RG3 trade, the Rams moved down from 2nd overall before the 2012 draft even began to collect a bounty of picks. Once the clock started ticking, the Rams then moved down once more from 6th overall after a trade with Dallas that gave them DT Michael Brockers at pick 14. In the 2nd round, the Rams swapped picks with Chicago and moved down a 3rd time to pick 50, resulting in RB Isaiah Pead.
- 16th to 8th overall
- 22nd to 30th
- 184th to 160th
2013 saw three more draft day trades led off by a trade with Buffalo to move up for WR Tavon Austin. Later in the 1st round the Rams moved down with Atlanta to then select LB Alec Ogletree. Finally, the Rams made another jump up to get back into the 5th round for RB Zac Stacy.
- 44th to 41st overall
Only one trade this year. The Rams moved up three spots to get ahead of Tennessee for S Lamarcus Joyner when they traded with Buffalo once again.
- 41st to 57th overall
Two years in a row and Snead makes just one trade. He’s losing his touch. The Rams biggest trade down to date, they traded places with Carolina and then selected T Rob Havenstein with the 57th pick.
- 15th to 1st overall
- 113th to 117th
This one was the shocker. Weeks ahead of the draft, Fisher and Snead made a huge jump up to Tennessee’s 1st overall pick in order to select QB Jared Goff. Looks a lot better now with someone out of the picture. Strapped for picks, the Rams later made a small trade back in the 4th with Chicago and then selected WR Pharoh Cooper.
- 37th to 44th overall
- 112th to 117th
- 141st to 125th
The Rams yet again found a trade partner in Buffalo and traded back in the 2nd round to eventually take TE Gerald Everett. And in an almost identical scenario to 2016, Snead traded with Chicago to move down to 117 in the 4th round and take WR Josh Reynolds. Finally, the Rams stayed busy in the 4th by moving up to select LB Samson Ebukam after a trade with the New York Jets.
So there you have it.
Snead and the Rams have been more apt to trade down (8) than trade up (5). The 1st and 2nd round seems to be Snead’s hot zones, as evidenced by four 1st and four 2nd round trades, but the Rams are without a 2nd round pick in 2018. And while there has been 13 total trades, it’s only resulted in 12 picked players in those same years. Of those 12 players, only four play defense (Brockers, Ogletree, Joyner, and Ebukam), all of which have had or are expected to have major impact roles.
If you’re a believer in historical trends, then the odds would favor a trade down at some point for an offensive player but this is a much different team and set of circumstances. The Rams roster is in the best shape its ever been since the GSOT days so the team might not be so inclined to trade down to acquire more draft capital to try and form an actual NFL Offense (shout out to Jeff Fisher’s dog).
There’s been some sort of move in every draft since 2012 and there’s no reason to think that will change this year. Finally supported by a strong roster, that he unquestionably built, Snead won’t find himself pressured and on the ropes this year like in year’s past. And that should make for one of the most exciting NFL Drafts for Rams fans since the draft was all we had to look forward to.