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WATCH: Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay, GM Les Snead discuss 2019 NFL Draft Day 3

Here’s what the Rams’ head duo had to say after closing out the 2019 NFL Draft.

Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay & GM Les Snead

(Opening Remarks)

Snead: “I know it was asked last night if there was any intent for today, I know (Head Coach) Sean (McVay) and I spent this morning going through the day’s game plan. The first priority was to try to figure out how we could get to a spot in the draft and draft (DT Greg) Gaines to fill the nose tackle type spot in our base defense. Then from there, it was okay where can we find players that could have a specific role helping their position coach as well as (Special Teams Coordinator John Fassel) ‘Bones’? That’s where (S) Nick (Scott) and (LB) Dakota (Allen) come in. Along the way when we did the tackle (T David Edwards) that was really the last tackle we really, really desired and felt we could put him in the hands of (Run Game Coordinator Aaron Kromer) Coach ‘Krom’ and start the development process. That was the intent of the day and it worked out.”

(On the potential of DT Greg Gaines earning a starting role immediately)

McVay: “He’s going to get a chance to compete, but he is a guy that we identified that we feel like really will do a great job as a nose guard in our base package. You look at a physical, stout player – he was an outstanding, productive player for Washington. But then when you get a chance to really watch the Senior Bowl, where he’s going against some of the best interior linemen in this draft, guys that we really thought highly of – I think you got a sense for what a competitive player he is. A guy that loves football, kind of in the mold of what you’ve heard us talk about. What Greg was able to do at Washington and then when you see the production he had at the Senior Bowl, that really is what we felt really strongly about. I think some of the things we talked about – how we get better specific to our scheme, but then also defensively in terms of playing the run a little bit better. I think that will be a key factor of being really stout inside and we feel like Greg will provide that.”

(On where offensive linemen Bobby Evans and David Edwards fit along the offensive line)

Snead: “I always say, when you bring a guy to Coach Kromer, there’s no one position with him. He may start at this position on the first series and then three series later, he went from right tackle to left guard. I think that’s a really great quality with Coach Kromer is he definitely throws them in the fire, allows them to get a feel for what it’s like getting in stances from different sides of the ball, whether you’re outside or inside and how you think in that. He gets a feel for who can truly, truly be a versatile lineman. The goal is to get those guys and be as versatile as possible.”

(On how they each evaluate the draft as a whole regarding the players they selected)

Snead: “Everyone you pick, you have a plan for, you’re jacked to get them. It was intentional why we did it and there definitely was a plan for how we were going to use them. Like all drafts, the enemy – 31 other teams – get a say, too. There were players at times on the board that you weren’t able to get and you work through those scenarios and then adjust. But, that’s how you utilize the board and come up with a plan of, ‘Alright, here’s priority positions, here’s positions we can certainly draft, here’s positions that probably would be maybe a wasted a shot at the basket in this draft based on our roster.’ From that standpoint, a successful three days.”

McVay: “I think when you look at the eight players that we were able to acquire, you have a vision for all of those guys and you see a fit, I think that’s a credit to where we’re at going into our third year. We have a much better feel for our personnel, the guys that we’ve then brought in through free agency, some of the things we want to do specific to the scheme, which is always going to be adjusted to our players. I think the thing that you feel so good about coming out of this weekend is that there’s a vision for all eight of these guys and how they fit within the framework of our roster. Immediately, all of these guys are going to have to come in and compete, but you can at least feel like if this works out the way that we project, these are guys that we anticipate being Rams for a long time. That was what was really refreshing about it. I think you feel really good about where you’re at right now. Now it’s our job as coaches to help these guys and develop them and get them to become the players that we anticipate based on why we liked them and why we drafted them. That’s all you can really ask for. There’s a lot of work to be done, but what with what we can control and I think with (General Manager) Les (Snead) and his group and their ability to work with our coaching staff, it was a really smooth process. It’s something that’s really going on right now as well as we try to get through getting some of these college free agents signed as well.”

(On LB Dakota Allen battling back from adversity, if it was discussed with him and if he could be thrown in the mix at inside linebacker position)

Snead: “We definitely talked to him and interviewed him at the combine. We obviously did a lot of research on him. The number one thing we try to find out is when somebody does go through adversity, what happens after that adverse moment, and are there any lessons that are applied. So, it’s a really neat story. I know it was well publicized based on the Last Chance U and all that. But, I do know what was really neat going through the process was – the mistake he made at Texas Tech – there were people at Texas Tech who definitely fought for him to get a second chance based on who he was. Great phone call today. I think it was one of our favorites because you can tell he was definitely appreciative to get this opportunity. Fun football player to watch. It was one of those situations where (Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers/Front Coordinator) Coach (Joe) Barry and Coach ‘Bones’ were on board and we all know how those linebackers are that maybe aren’t starting, they’re covering a lot of kicks for us, hopefully.”

(On if they have watched Last Chance U)

McVay: “Yes, I have actually. That was how when his name came up I said, ‘Hey, isn’t that the guy from Last Chance U?’ I think the one thing that you like about him, too, though is any time you look at somebody, life isn’t perfect. You always have to make a decision because some of the things that you guys hear us talk about with the character is an extremely important factor of what we want. But to think that perfection is realistic, it’s not. What you learn a lot about people is when they do go through that adversity is how do they respond. I think that’s a great indicator of how people are going handle things that inevitably come up in life and especially that’s relevant to football. I think that gave him a perspective. When you hear how emotional and how important it was to get that call, specific to a lot of the things that he had overcome, not only to just get back to Texas Tech, but then to become a drafted player in the NFL. I think there is an appreciation that he has and you like the way he responded from a mistake. He didn’t run away from that and that’s what you want to hear. We’re looking forward to seeing how he comes in and competes.”

(On if there is anything about this draft that was different going through the process compared to last)

Snead: “I think it gets into the preparation of when you play into February, which is a good thing. You get started in that process of collaborating with the staff in the building and giving everyone realistic players to evaluate at realistic positions that we are going to draft. A good example is with Coach ‘Bones’. Technology today, you can give Coach ‘Bones’ basically the draft board and you can basically make a cut up of every special teams play he’s ever played in college. He might have been doing it as a freshman or sophomore, but that’s one of the reasons…I know Nick from Penn State was one of his favorite ever special teams player that he’s ever graded. He’s probably been our number one priority since ‘Bones’ brought the POA to me. But we waited until pick two (hundred)-whatever to do it. So, things like that, that’s the strategy that might be a little bit different when you’re specific.”

(On if there were any needs that they weren’t able to address through the draft)

McVay: “I think going into it, we got everything taken care of. I don’t think that’s ever totally finalized. Some of that is going to be completed with college free agency process. The biggest thing is, is what you felt so good about is where we were at as a team. Now, you don’t really know. Obviously, injuries are a factor and you want to be able to continue to build that depth, but I think being able to be a little bit more strategic and specific. And I would say the third year, too, one of things that stood out is the communication that existed between our coaches and between our scouting staff and how much they were on the same page now, being able to speak the same language. I really feel that way about myself and Les. You talk about where we gather up. We’re really looking at the same things. I think we’ve always had, from the time that I even interviewed for the job, one of the things that we immediately connected on – I think a lot of the same things that we appreciate about football players and some of the things that we look for and identify immediately. We kind of had that similar approach, mindset, and mentality, and it’s only continued to grow as we figure out what’s the best way to identify players that fit in our building for what we’re looking for as Rams. Then also, how they specifically fit in our scheme and specific to different personnel groupings. That’s the biggest thing is when you look at a Greg Gaines, you can really take a specific approach where as a nose in our base defensive package, here’s the skillset he provides and here’s why they thought of him so highly with our scouting staff. Then when you bring him, we feel like we see the same things and that really stood out throughout this process to our coaches and, really, with myself and Les.”

Snead: “Off of that, too…we did a lot of work on ‘OL’ and ‘DL’ this year, and for us to be able to sit each morning and watch the Senior Bowl when guys go against guys that are getting drafted early and middle. That Senior Bowl is very productive in that way, so it was good. Good offensive line with class that was at that Senior Bowl, and to see some of these guys play against them.”

(On three of their five trades being with the New England Patriots and what went into that process)

McVay: “I think it’s really just the rapport that you have with the teams. There is a lot of different dialogue that goes on, but it happened to work out in our favor. I think that there is a very decisive decision-making process and how they go about things. It worked out that they were great to be able to work with for those three trades specifically. Les (Snead), (Vice President, Football & Business Administration) Tony (Pastoors), (Chief Operating Officer) Kevin (Demoff), I mean there’s a lot of other guys that are on the phones throughout the course of the draft. And it’s really predicated on, ‘Okay, do we feel like, based on what the intent of this pick is – do we go back, do you not, who else might be interested?’ And it worked out in our favor with those three.”

(On if there will be a rookie minicamp and if not, when the rookies would be scheduled to arrive)

McVay: “I’ve got to go look. I think in the next couple of weeks we can start to get guys in. We’ll be a little bit more specific. It won’t be the typical open rookie minicamp. We’ll have something more focused on draft picks and maybe giving guys a chance to come in and compete in a tryout-type setting. But, it will be definitely more limited to what we had a couple years ago with (WR Cooper) Kupp and (S) John Johnson (III), Josh Reynolds, and Gerald Everett, that draft class. So, it will be little bit different. But as far as those exact dates, like Les (Snead), my brain is mush right now, so I couldn’t tell you exactly what that is.”

(On this year’s draft class having different circumstances that might have been looked at as a negative and affected their draft status)

Snead: “I know Sean mentioned during the draft, I probably have written on the board, the answers to your questions are basically right in front of you when you sit down and watch the kids play football on film when you do it in December and April. You take the testing and you always go back to the tape and watch them play football. Obviously, Greg is on the shorter side, right down the middle measurables. You look at him sometimes and see if there is something saying no way, but right down the middle. Then you are able to go, ‘Let’s go watch Greg play against (Vikings first-round draft choice) Garrett Bradbury and (Falcons first-round draft choice Chris) Lindstrom, who were picked early and see how he does against those guys.’ Same with Edwards, he did play this year through an injury, you give him credit for that, he was toughing it out, so you go back and watch him play. I know we were talking this morning about how he did well against (Patriots third-round draft choice) Chase Winovich back in the 2017 season. You kind of dig deep and go back to when he was healthy and see what he might be when he is healthy, those types of things are what you try to do.”

(On if they have gotten used to seeing those things that could be red flags to other teams and investigating further)

Snead: “That’s the goal, time will tell. We can always go back to (S) John Johnson (III) and (WR) Cooper Kupp – they didn’t test well, but we thought that they were really good at football and it worked out. So, it’s not going to always be like that, but you try to collect as much data and insight as possible to make the surest bet you can.”

(On possibly selecting a player in the first-round of the 2020 NFL Draft)

McVay: “Well, the later we pick in the first round, the better and the happier I will be after the season. So, we’ll see. You know, that is something that is a long way away from worrying about.”

Snead: “Sean will probably find somebody that he would like to trade for between now and then.”