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Rams eyeing ‘second-tier’ of QB prospects in the 2023 draft

Les Snead seems ready to draft a quarterback when he sees the opportunity

Stanford v California Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

When it comes to the precedent for the L.A. Rams drafting a quarterback under Sean McVay, the answer is that there isn’t one. In the three years prior to McVay replacing Jeff Fisher in 2017, general manager Les Snead was very active in picking quarterbacks: Garrett Gilbert in 2014, Sean Mannion in 2015, and then trading up for Jared Goff in 2016.

But Goff is the most recent quarterback drafted by the Rams, as the team has relied on undrafted free agents such as Bryce Perkins and John Wolford as depth, while trading Goff and two first round picks for Matthew Stafford in 2021.

We know that Snead probably has somewhat of a “type.” Goff and Gilbert are 6’4, Mannion is 6’6, and though he’s a slightly different case, Stafford is 6’3, 220 lbs.

For a number of reasons, we know that Los Angeles isn’t going to draft Bryce Young this week.

But as far as picking a quarterback on day two, Snead has made it sound as though the Rams are reading to make a move on one in “the second tier” after the first four or five names are called. That would include Young, C.J. Stroud, Anthony Richardson, Will Levis, and now Hendon Hooker probable as first round picks, but Snead isn’t ruling out the next crop after them.

“We’ve definitely been intentional about the second tier, right, and those players that would probably be beyond the [top] four, even the fifth one now [from] Tennessee [Hendon Hooker] that’s talked about a lot going early, going before us, things like that,” Rams General Manager Les Snead said. “But no different than every year.”

There is no guarantee that Hooker will get selected in the first round, although momentum is building in recent days that he will be, while Levis, Richardson, and Stroud have been exceptionally difficult to judge and riding draft stock rollercoasters. However, there would be at least a few day two and three prospects who fit that earlier Snead mold:

Stanford’s Tanner McKee is 6’6, 231 lbs, and he was once a premier recruit not far behind Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields. Houston’s Clayton Tune and Purdue’s Aidan O’Connell both measure at 6’3 and have some day two grades. On the backend, Tyson Bagent out of Shepard has size and arm strength at 6’3, 213, but has only played against Division-II competition.

UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson and TCU’s Max Duggan are not far behind in size, but BYU’s Jaren Hall, Fresno State’s Jake Haener, and Georgia’s Stetson Bennett measure 6’ or shorter. They could be outliers, as even Wolford and Perkins check in at least at 6’1.

However, we’ve never seen Snead and McVay come together on a quarterback pick on the draft. We don’t know what to expect. Snead did say that this year was no different than any other, so maybe the L.A. Rams won’t pick a quarterback at all.