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Random Ramsdom: LA wanted to get into first round of most recent draft?

Los Angeles Rams News and Links for 6/5/23

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NFL: Los Angeles Rams Press Conference Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Rumor: Rams Considered Trading Into 1st Round of NFL Draft (fannation/ramsdigest)

“The Los Angeles Rams brought home quite the haul in the 2023 NFL Draft. With 14 total picks, the Rams were the busiest team in the league over draft weekend, and added many more players as undrafted free agents.

However, the Rams’ draft could have gone very differently. L.A. has never shied away from making big moves, and if a new rumor is true, they may have been planning another one at the draft. According to The Athletic, the Rams considered trading up into the first round of the draft, with their sights set on offensive players specifically.

“Similar to 2021, skill-position players tempted some on staff during the draft — the Rams discussed trading up into the first round for five different players, all on offense,” The Athletic writes. “A series of first-round maneuvers from other teams excluded the Rams, who ultimately stayed at No. 36. [Offensive lineman Steve] Avila was the Rams’ top prospect when they reset their board after the first round in preparation for Day 2.”

It’s impossible to know for certain which players the Rams were targeting, but it is possible to make some educated guesses by putting some pieces together.

The New York Giants released a behind-the-scenes look at their draft trade with the Rams during the third round, which strongly implied the two teams also had trade talks during the first round. Four straight receivers went just before the Giants picked at No. 24 (originally No. 25), which could be the aforementioned “maneuvers from other teams.” Putting this information together, it’s possible the Rams were looking for another receiver to pair alongside Cooper Kupp.”

Rams’ Aaron Donald - Model for Cowboys’ Micah Parsons - Ranks As NFL Top Interior Defender (fannation/ramsdigest)

“Despite posting his lowest PFF grade since his rookie year, Donald remains a dominant force on the defensive interiorIn his nine-year career, he has produced 90.0-plus PFF grades in every season,” PFF writes. ”Last year, he recorded 40 pressures on 396 pass-rushing snaps, so the production was still there even in an injury-marred season.”

Maybe there is something to be taken, too, from what Dallas Cowboys star Micah Parsons said about Donald - about how it’s more than just statistical influence. Said Parsons: ”I’m kind of off the ‘sack wave.’ I’m onto the ‘impact wave. You see Aaron Donald. He can have 12 sacks, but the impact he makes is so dominant. You can tell. I really just want to be dominant.

“You see guys who have 16 to 17 sacks, but they’re not considered ‘a guy.’ I want to be ‘a guy,’ not ‘one of the guys.”

And in short? Yes, Aaron Donald is still “a guy.’’

Kansas City Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones presents the most compelling case to challenge Donald for the top spot in PFF’s rankings. Jones secured the No. 2 position this year, supported by his impressive performance.

He achieved an overall grade of 92.3 last season, surpassing all other interior defenders. Notably, Jones equaled his career-best performance with 15.5 sacks and 29 quarterback hits, further solidifying his candidacy for the coveted top spot in the rankings.

Undoubtedly, Jones and Donald are exceptionally disruptive defensive tackles, leaving little room for debate regarding their status as the top two players. However, if Donald were to experience any decline in performance during the 2023 season, Jones could rise to claim the title of the best defensive tackle in the NFL.”

Rams’ cash spending since 2021: 2 years at the bottom, 1 at the top (ramswire)

“In terms of cash spending, the Rams rank last in the NFL this year. They’re only spending $181.2 million in 2023, $14.9 million less than any other team in the league. This is actually the second time in the last three years that the Rams have ranked last in cash spending, doing so in 2021, according to the NFLPA’s public salary cap report.

Jack Duffin of 24/7 Sports, the Rams’ positioning in cash spending the last three years have been 32nd, 1st and 32nd. They spent a league-low $137.5 million in 2021, followed by a league-high $282.8 million in 2022.

Cash spending isn’t the same as cap space, which is why there’s such a massive difference between the two for the Rams this year. They only have $1.49 million in cap space right now despite having a league-low 87 players on their roster with just $181.2 million spent.”

Rams QB Matthew Stafford Reveal: Still Top 10 on Chris Simms ‘Controversial’ Countdown (fannation/ramsdigest)

“He’s still one of the 10 best quarterbacks in football,” Simms said. “His arm is still all-time. … No one was under pressure more than Matthew Stafford. Other than (Patrick) Mahomes, he probably has more release (points) than anybody in football. His arm talent and his toughness are a gift and a curse. Sean McVay had to protect Stafford from himself.

“He makes some of the damndest throws you’ll ever see in your life,” Simms continued. “He moves really well in the pocket – (Dan) Marino-ish – but he’s probably the worst runner in football ….”

After leading the Rams to a Super Bowl title in his first season with the team, multiple stints in concussion protocol limited Stafford to just nine games in 2022. In those nine games, the former No. 1 overall pick tossed 10 touchdowns to eight interceptions, hardly inspiring production.

But in terms of arm talent, Stafford is one of the more gifted quarterbacks of the last 20 years. If he’s healthy, he should bounce back to some degree in his third year in McVay’s offense.

The question with Stafford, though, is was 2022 the beginning of the end or just one injury-riddled season? He’s 35 years old, and consistently played through injuries during his 12 seasons with the Detroit Lions. Are those injuries finally catching up with him? And even if Stafford is healthy, are their enough offensive weapons around him outside of Cooper Kupp for the Rams to have success in 2023?”