With the 20th pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars selected defensive end K’Lavon Chaisson from Louisiana State University. Chaisson is viewed as a high quality draft prospect, well worthy of his first round status as judged by those who weigh the various factors that make someone a good prospect. The Jaguars are likely joyful about acquiring the 6’3, 254 lb pass rusher whose NFL.com comparison is Aldon Smith.
The pick had originally belonged to the Los Angeles Rams, but they traded it for Jalen Ramsey. On Thursday night, the Rams didn’t select anyone, but we were all reminded that they do have Jalen Ramsey — who is not an NFL hopeful with great potential, but a top-three player at a key position.
Among those who were drafted after Chaisson who may have interested the Rams this year were linebacker Kenneth Murray at 23, center Cesar Ruiz at 24, linebackers Jordyn Brooks and Patrick Queen at 27 and 28, tackle Isaiah Wilson at 29, cornerbacks Noah Igbinoghene and Jeff Gladney at 30 and 31, and finally running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire to end the first round.
This is not to say anything against the three receivers and quarterback Jordan Love who also went in that range, but perhaps they’d not fall in LA’s targets right now.
Instead of picking 20th to open their draft, the Rams are set to first pick at 52 and then soon after at 57. Which players come off the board in the 19 picks between 33 and 51 is uncertain, but obviously we know that LA would’ve had even more options than the ones I’ve already named.
But they do have Jalen Ramsey, a 25-year-old cornerback who I think has already had an immediate impact on the defense over his first nine games with the team. Had the Rams kept the pick and were still picking 20th (maybe without Ramsey they pick a little bit higher), they could certainly have added Gladney, Igbinoghene, or Fulton, among others, but the need at cornerback would have existed.
A need at cornerback does exist but the hardest of those CB positions to fill — the shutdown corner that maybe only one out of four teams really has — is occupied.
Many won’t judge the actual quality of the trade until general manager Les Snead manages to sign Ramsey to a contract extension that also doesn’t strain the budget or turn out as poorly as the contracts for Todd Gurley, Brandin Cooks, and Jared Goff. I don’t think you can ever feel too confident when you’re giving $50+ million guaranteed to a person whose health is vitally important and then you literally pay him to smash into other humans, but Ramsey feels like one of the safest bets in the league in that regard.
There haven’t been many 25-year-olds of the caliber of Ramsey who’ve just disappeared.
So that’s one part of the incomplete grade of the Rams’ usage of their 2020 first round pick on Ramsey. The other part will be thinking of the acquisition of Ramsey again when the 2021 first round comes and goes without participation for Snead and Sean McVay. In the best case scenario, the Rams have sacrificed pick 32. In the worst, Ramsey has departed after two non-playoff seasons.
But LA still has the power of a franchise tag, which they’ve been willing to use on a cornerback three times under Snead. So long as one of Ramsey and Cooper Kupp has already been extended, the retention of the other should be probable and getting left empty-handed should be unlikely.
All these immediate draft grades are very stupid, to tell a general manager if they did a good or bad job when you’ve not yet seen the results. They’re very bad, dumb, and you’ll see me probably write a few articles based around the topic. But at least in the case of a trade for a veteran, we do have more judgment to go on. We saw what the Rams defense looks like with Ramsey and we have a much better idea of the type of player that LA is getting when they made the decision to skip the first round in 2020 and 2021 in exchange for his services.
The Jaguars got K’Lavon Chaisson, a player who may one day live up to the hype of being a top-20 pick, and TBD. The Rams got a player who has already met the expectations of being a top-five pick.
The Rams draft grade for the 2020 first round is the same as most passes towards Ramsey:
With a bit more information now, how do you grade the Rams trade for Jalen Ramsey?
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