An anonymous group of NFL executives gave the Los Angeles Rams high props for the work they’ve done this offseason. Armed with limited draft capital, the executive was impressed with trades for Brandin Cooks, Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib, and signing Ndamukong Suh. The Rams are also in position to earn third-round compensatory picks for letting Trumaine Johnson and Sammy Watkins go.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams worked the system impressively. Acquiring Brandin Cooks, Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib by trade and Ndamukong Suh off the discard pile shielded those acquisitions from the formula for compensatory draft choices. When Sammy Watkins and Trumaine Johnson left the team for massive paydays, the Rams moved into position to receive two 2019 third-round comp picks. Well done.
That work and the Rams’ ability to maneuver their way into 11 selections in the 2018 draft produced high marks from executives, despite obvious risks.
”They asked Sean McVay about adding some risky players, and he said, ‘My defensive coordinator [Wade Phillips] has more swag than all of them,’” an exec said. “That is very empowering.”
Trading away credible veterans Alec Ogletree and Robert Quinn while embracing players such as Peters, Talib and Suh did not go over well with everyone. It was notable, too, that other core players, notably Aaron Donald, had not yet received extensions.
”I think of [Eagles GM] Howie Roseman and the dream team and I think Howie learned from that,” another exec said. “There is a difference between acquiring talent and building a team. I think they did more acquiring talent than anyone else. But I could very well see all the pieces work and them having a lot of success. Suh is fine -- even people with the Dolphins will tell you he is just kind of his own guy, not a bad guy. I’m not sure I want Peters around Talib, however.”
Another exec called Peters misunderstood -- good at heart, but emotional to a fault.
”They have Wade Phillips, so they should be able to rein that in the next two years and get the best from him,” this exec said. “Now, it could blow up, but if the purpose of these grades is to look at who acquired talent, the Rams have to be up there.”
One big question: Where will the outside pass-rush come from?
On paper, the Rams have definitely improved and maximized their offseason. Now the fun begins, will it translate on the field?