The Los Angeles Rams, formerly the St. Louis Rams, don’t have a knack for draft-day drama. They’ve traded away picks in advance, but they seldom complete deals to move up while on the clock when the draft itself rolls around.
True to that form, the calls for them to pull off said moves don’t typically gain a ton of steam. Not since the 2012 draft, when many were begging for them to trade up and land Trent Richardson, has there been momentum for them to deal their way up their draft-day ladder.
Could the 2020 NFL draft be different?
Many think it should be. The Rams already traded away their first-round pick as part of the Jalen Ramsey blockbuster. They clearly have no regrets about that home-run swing, but they also have more needs on the roster than strictly beefing up their secondary.
Chief among their most pressing holes is acquiring another pass-catcher, either at the wide receiver or tight end slot. Last year’s trio of Cooper Kupp, Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods underwhelmed relative to expectations. They’re all rock-solid options, but they’re not the type of wideouts who can thrive without a top-shelf quarterback or another No. 1 wideout option. Really, all three of them are best suited as second wheels.
Knowing that a primary receiving playmaker is their top target makes this a complicated discussion. They’ll need to acquire a pick that’s pretty high up in their draft order for that to be their immediate solution.
Remember: After trading for Ramsey and giving QB Jason Goff one of the richest extensions in NFL history, the Rams are firmly operating on a win-now timeline. They don’t have the freedom to select someone who will take years to groom.
Fortunately, this year’s draft has a couple of immediate impact players. Jerry Jeudy from Alabama, CeeDee Lamb from Oklahoma, Tee Higgins from Clemson and Henry Ruggs III, also from Alabama, all loom as potentially instant contributors at the pro level.
The problem? Getting in a position to take them.
All four names project to go in the top 15 of the 2020 NFL draft. The Rams don’t have the expendable asset equity to climb that high when they don’t have a first-rounder of their own to dangle.
They can always hope to strike gold in the second round, but for what they need, it’s probably best for them to be most aggressive on the free-agent market. Trading up in the draft isn’t going to cut it this year.