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Drafting for need will get Rams into trouble

LA must find building blocks for the future instead of patching immediate holes in roster

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Rams Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off of a season that was derailed by injuries along the offensive line, it would make sense that the Los Angeles Rams would prioritize the trenches with their highest draft picks this spring; however, general manager Les Snead cannot afford to be lulled into drafting for need.

The Rams’ roster in its current state is devoid of playmakers, save for only a handful of names. Cooper Kupp demonstrated this past year that he can take a routine drag route the rest of the way for a touchdown, despite little offensive production surrounding him. Jalen Ramsey is still an elite-level talent and is an emotional leader on the defense. Aaron Donald should continue to wreck the game plan by opposing offenses but he needs other pass rushers to help get after the quarterback.

While spending the 36th overall pick, which is as close to the first round as the Rams have come since 2017, on a center or guard will help Los Angeles in 2023, it is probably not what’s best for the long-term. Snead has historically drafted linemen in the later rounds and groomed them for starting roles in the future. Sean McVay typically does not throw rookies into the starting lineup without injuries throwing things out of balance.

The Rams must come away with a building block at the top of the second round. Teams have found star receivers at the beginning of day two on a fairly consistent basis in recent years: Tee Higgins (Bengals), DK Metcalf (Seahawks), AJ Brown (Titans), Deebo Samuel (49ers).

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

It’s all about letting the board fall to you and maximizing the value of your selection. If the right corner or edge rusher is there, Snead should also pull the trigger. The Rams must prioritize valued positions over areas of need, and they must value star potential over immediate contributions.

Read: Drafting OL with first pick would be wise, but boring for Rams

Who will be left after Aaron Donald, Bobby Wagner, Matthew Stafford, and Cooper Kupp enter the twilight of their careers or go off into retirement? Jalen Ramsey is one of the hottest names on the trade market currently.

Los Angeles isn’t too far removed from their “stars and scrubs” approach leaving them only with a stable of scrubs, and they need to identify and groom the next generation that will lead a championship roster. Picking a center or a guard because you need them in 2023 does not live up to that billing, though reinforcements along the offensive line are welcome.

Les Snead will get the Rams into trouble if he drafts for immediate need instead of long-term star potential, but given LA’s window of contention that may be exactly what he does.

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Los Angeles Rams Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports