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This is Rams’ most important draft of the Sean McVay era

2023 could be the start of LA’s next championship window, but it all hinges on who they select in April

Los Angeles Rams Mandatory Minicamp Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

The 2023 NFL Draft is shaping up to be the single-most important for the Los Angeles Rams since Sean McVay joined the team in 2017.

The Rams don’t have the number one overall selection like they did back in 2016 when they took Jared Goff. It’s unlikely that any one selection they make in April will put Les Snead’s job in jeopardy as it does when you pick first. Missing on the player you take first overall can set a franchise back for the better part of a decade, and very rarely do the coach and general manager survive long enough to pivot to an alternative.

If Los Angeles truly believes that 2023 is the start of the team’s next contention window, coming away with a new, younger nucleus is imperative. The Rams don’t need to nail all 11 of their current draft picks—that in and of itself is completely unrealistic. It’s better to look at each selection as a dart throw, and they should shoot for the moon and hope they find a star.

Virtually every position on the roster should be considered a need, so it’s time to draft for traits and identify players with a high ceiling athletically. The Rams are no longer looking to patch together a roster of key veterans with middling starters. There’s no time to give players a redshirt year and let them develop behind the scenes, and the depth chart in its current state doesn’t allow that luxury.

Cobie Durant was drafted in the fourth round last year. He didn’t have a spectacular rookie year relative to others around the NFL, but after trading away Jalen Ramsey he is now one of the most important players remaining on the Rams defense. There are also significant questions in the secondary beyond him, as it remains to be seen whether LA can count on Robert Rochell or Derion Kendrick.

The Los Angeles Rams play the Denver Broncos in an NFL football game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood during a Christmas Day clash on Sunday, Dec. 25, 2022. Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

If the Rams come close to making the playoffs this season, it will be because of players making sizeable leaps in performance from where they were a year ago. LA needs a second option behind Cooper Kupp to emerge, and Tutu Atwell and Ben Skowronek could carve out large roles in 2023. Will Logan Bruss become a reliable starter on the offensive line after a troubling preseason debut last year?

This is a new era of Los Angeles football. The Rams roster is no longer filled with household names, but between the younger players emerging on the roster and the new faces on their way through the draft, perhaps they can manufacture some home grown stars for the first time in a long while.

The 2023 draft will play a very large role in determining whether there will be a new contention window for the Rams or if the team will be picking towards the top of order next April. Either way this is a pivotal point in the future of the franchise, and time will tell if the arrow rotates up or down.