Rams Draft 2021: Pre-draft meeting tracker and analysis

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Rams Draft 2021: Pre-draft meeting tracker and analysis

The LA Rams are not holding back on meeting with prospects before the 2021 NFL Draft. In fact, right now it seems to be quite the contrary. It feels as though the LA Rams are particularly social this year, and have upped their number of pre-draft meetings in an effort to compensate on shortcomings of standardized data typically provided by the NFL Scouting Combine or a full season and schedule of NCAA College Football.

The fact is that the LA Rams official 2021 NFL Draft picks include one pick in rounds two, four, six, and seven, and two draft picks in round three. But I am curious as to how the current group of prospects who the Rams are meeting with is aligned with the Rams’ existing picks. Furthermore, how do the positions of these meetings align with the perceived needs for the team’s roster from the 2021 NFL Draft?

The truth is that any projection of prospects and which round those prospects may hear their name called is pretty tough to predict. Teams are not working off the same draft scripts as in years past. In this year, there are a number of critical factors that may heavily or be completely discarded by a teams scouting department. Such factors as the 2020 NCAA college football season. Some players opted out. Other players competed in a full season. How will 32 NFL teams resolve such different amounts of evidence?

How will teams resolve medical flags? Will teams weigh film/video as heavily this year, even though many players will rely upon 2019 game videos? How will teams weigh the semi-accurate data emerging from regional Pro Days across the country? Will teams weigh the Senior Bowl performance more heavily this year due to lack of other comparables? And through it all, the NFL teams are each scrambling to meet virtually with prospects to fill in the gaps of mindset and personality, key factors that determine a rookie’s ability to handle the stress and pressure of starting an NFL career.

Rams pre-draft meeting tracker update

The LA Rams continue to pile up pre-draft meetings as they sort through who will be the best fit and best boost to the roster throughout the 2021 NFL Draft. But even the choices of who the Rams are meeting with give us a very usable trail of bread crumbs to work with. Who the Rams meet with give some evidence as to which positions, and which traits the Rams are drawn to in this draft.

Which positions are atop the team’s list of To-Do’s based on the number of meetings? That’s a good question. But as we explore the answer to that question, keep in mind that the 2021 NFL Draft is so unpredictable that the Rams may simply be planning for any contingency. This may not be simply where do the Rams want to improve. Rather, this may be the construction of a safety net. That is, if the Rams are suddenly on the clock with no obvious choice, who can they select to add value to the team?

During the three days of the 2021 NFL Draft, telephones will no doubt be ringing off the hook But just because other teams wish to trade does not mean that they will offer adequate compensation to the Rams to do so. If another team proposes a trade during the draft for the Rams to slide back 20 spots, but only offer a valueless 2023 seventh-round draft pick as an incentive to do so, the Rams will likely decline pretty quickly.

But the Rams may move in the draft, or simply find themselves at a spot in the draft without any obvious prospect to select. When that happens, these pre-draft meetings will be pricelessly valuable. the Rams know where they expect to pick. But if the Rams suddenly find themselves picking in round five of the draft, what then? Well, one goal of the pre-draft meetings is to establish a priority list of prospects for each round and pick during the draft. So let’s investigate further.

What positions are the Rams looking at?

Let’s try to draw some general conclusions about the overall pre-draft meetings. From a 30,000 foot level, two common themes are evident. In skill positions, the LA Rams have placed a huge priority on speed. Raw and undeniable speed. For non-skill positions, the Rams are prioritizing versatility. From defensive backs to offensive linemen, the Rams have conducted meetings with players who check the boxes at multiple positions

So far, the distribution of 17 recorded pre-draft meetings looks like this:

Four (4) interviews were held with cornerbacks – The list includes UCF CB Tay Gowan, Oregon’s CB Thomas Graham, San Diego State’s CB Darren Hall, and Florida State’s CB Asante Samuel Jr.

Six (6) interviews were held with wide receivers – The list includes UCF’s 6-foot-5 WR/TE Jacob Harris, North Carolina WR Dazz Newsome, and previously included Western Michigan’s D’Wayne Eskridge, Auburn’s Anthony Schwartz, Iowa WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette, and now Auburn WR Eli Stove.

Two (2) interviews were held with defensive linemen – The list includes WVU DL Darius Stills and Iowa’s DL Chauncey Golston

Two (2) interviews were held with running backs – The list includes Louisville RB Javian Hawkins and UCLA RB Demetric Felton.

One (1) interview was held with an offensive center (two meetings were reported with the same prospect)- Winsconsin-Whitewater’s Quinn Meinerz

One (1) interview was held with an inside linebacker– Oklahoma State linebacker Amen Ogbongbemiga

One (1) interview was held with an outside linebacker – Washington’s OLB Joe Tryon

Whew, that’s a lot of pre-draft meetings. And the draft is still weeks away. But that really only indicates what position the Rams are looking at, Sure there is more to learn from their pre-draft meetings. What about which draft rounds seem to have the most interest from the Rams?

Which draft round has the most focus?

The LA Rams have been working the pre=draft meetings hard. Despite just six picks, the LA Rams must be fully prepared for a chaotic draft. Even then, this draft is still likely to surprise a few teams as it occurs.

So based on the NFL.com prospect rankings, where are the LA Rams focusing their meeting frequency? Well, that’s a curious matter. When you line up the number of picks, and the number for meetings, the Rams are most definitely skewing their meetings to align with the later rounds.

Round Two (one pick) (2 meetings)- Washington OLB Joe Tryon, Wisconsin-Whitewater OC Quinn Meinerz

Round Three (two picks) (1 meeting)- Florida State CB Asante Samuel Jr.

Round Four (one pick) (3 meetings)- UCLA WR/RB Demetric Felton, Western Michigan WR D’Wayne Eskridge, Auburn WR Anthony Schwartz

Round Five (no picks) (2 meetings)- Louisville RB Javian Hawkins, San Diego State CB Darren Hall

Round Six (one pick) (2 meetings)- Oklahoma St LB Amen Ogbongbemiga, Iowa WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette

Round Seven (one pick) (4 meetings)- West Virginia DT Darius Stills, Iowa DT Chauncey Golston, North Carolina WR Dazz Newsome, Oregon CB Thomas Graham Jr.

UDFA/Priority signing (17 UDFA slots) (3 meetings)- Auburn WR/KR/PR Eli Stove, UCF’s WR Jacob Harris, UCF CB Tay Gowan,

From this overlay of where the picks fall versus where these players project to hear their names called, there are two logical solutions.

The first reason to explain the disparity is to conclude that the Rams draft board looks absolutely nothing like the NFL.com draft board. Perhaps they are working off a modified version of John Vogel’s 2021 LA Rams Draft board? But the other reason, while equally feasible, is much more intriguing. What if this pattern of meeting with Day Three projected prospects, over 82 percent of the meetings so far, is deliberate? The Rams picks are split 50/50. So why would the majority of meetings target prospects in rounds four or later?

Well, the answer to that is that the Rams expect to trade back. In fact, based on this evidence, it appears as though the Rams could abandon both third-round picks in an effort to salvo the draft with more than ten picks. That could be incredibly wise, as most draft analysts cite the overall depth of the 2021 NFL Draft as uncanny at cornerback, wide receiver, linebacker, offensive lineman, and edge rusher. Of course, the LA Rams
 

CGI_Ram

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You can literally tell nothing from pre-draft visits, except that the team is likely to draft some of the players. Which ones, is not discernable.

Seems like you could plug all this data into a database and as players are selected see which teams might also like players you might target approaching your selection?

Its surprising how much the Rams pick players from which they visit. I have no idea where the Rams compare to other teams like that.
 
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OldSchool

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Yeah Samuel in round 3?
Eskridge in round 3?
Smith-Marsette in round 6?

good luck with that.
 
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Elmgrovegnome

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Seems like you could plug all this data into a database and as players are selected see which teams might also like players you might target approaching your selection?

Its surprising how much the Rams pick players from which they visit. I have no idea where the Rams compare to other teams like that.


I checked last years list and they took three players that they had pre draft visits with; Burgess, Jefferson, Hopkins. That's 3/39. Consider that these lists can record a Sr Bowl discussion like this year a player that had every NFL team at his pro day like Asante Samuel or Amen Ogbongbemiga. The latter is likely an UDFA. Then recall Snead said most of those visits are just to get some answers on players that they felt was necessary to complete the profile. Plus no team wants to tip their hand on draft day so many could be smoke. All it does is narrow down your guesses imo, but its still a wide range of possibilities.

In 2020 the visited 39 players according to https://www.turfshowtimes.com/2020/4/14/21221002/rams-pre-draft-visit-tracker-2020

QB 1
RB 4 (not Akers)
WR 3 Jefferson
TE 3 Hopkins
C 3 (Cushenberry)
G 1
OT 4
DL 4
DE 1
Edge 3 (not Lewis)
LB 5
CB 3
S. 2 Burgess

A logical deduction would be that they really are looking at RB, OT, DL and LB, so the first few picks are likely in that group. But which ones? The reality is they did take a RB (not on the list), a WR, TE, S (only two safety visits).

It seems to me that you can't really make heads or tails of it. Which is likely intentional. Then you have the draft and the unpredictability of which players go where. There are so many possibilities.

Edit: They picked three of their visited players in 2019 - Henderson, Long, and Rapp.
2018 - Demby, Kiser, Lawler, Obo, and later acquired Kenny Young.
 

CoachAllred

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I checked last years list and they took three players that they had pre draft visits with; Burgess, Jefferson, Hopkins. That's 3/39. Consider that these lists can record a Sr Bowl discussion like this year a player that had every NFL team at his pro day like Asante Samuel or Amen Ogbongbemiga. The latter is likely an UDFA. Then recall Snead said most of those visits are just to get some answers on players that they felt was necessary to complete the profile. Plus no team wants to tip their hand on draft day so many could be smoke. All it does is narrow down your guesses imo, but its still a wide range of possibilities.

In 2020 the visited 39 players according to https://www.turfshowtimes.com/2020/4/14/21221002/rams-pre-draft-visit-tracker-2020

QB 1
RB 4 (not Akers)
WR 3 Jefferson
TE 3 Hopkins
C 3 (Cushenberry)
G 1
OT 4
DL 4
DE 1
Edge 3 (not Lewis)
LB 5
CB 3
S. 2 Burgess

A logical deduction would be that they really are looking at RB, OT, DL and LB, so the first few picks are likely in that group. But which ones? The reality is they did take a RB (not on the list), a WR, TE, S (only two safety visits).

It seems to me that you can't really make heads or tails of it. Which is likely intentional. Then you have the draft and the unpredictability of which players go where. There are so many possibilities.

Edit: They picked three of their visited players in 2019 - Henderson, Long, and Rapp.
2018 - Demby, Kiser, Lawler, Obo, and later acquired Kenny Young.
Yea, as Snead has explained before, the visits are solely to answer questions they may have on a certain prospect.
Sometimes those questions can be answered without a meeting.
In other words, the player they most covet could be someone that they have all the necessary information.
It would make sense that there are more questions to be had about lower round picks, as their are more unknowns about
less covered individuals.

Either way, that's just a longer, probably more boring explanation of your correct, first statement
Pre Draft interviews do not indicate Jack Squat. lol
 
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Giles

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Idk - I much prefer my CBs to have size rather than midgets. Especially with my 1st pick. Some good sized CBs farther back in draft that can learn for a season.
I personally would too but idk if the rams feel that way. They haven't drafted a corner over 6ft since T. Johnson. If samuel was over 6ft he would be a 1st round pick.
 

Merlin

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Idk - I much prefer my CBs to have size rather than midgets. Especially with my 1st pick. Some good sized CBs farther back in draft that can learn for a season.
Negative generalizations of things like height can lead to missed opportunity in the draft. You don't want to stack an entire secondary with midgets. But his size is fine plus he doesn't play small by any means.

I pray teams overanalyze this. Because we have no business getting that dude at 57.
 

8to12

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Idk - I much prefer my CBs to have size rather than midgets. Especially with my 1st pick. Some good sized CBs farther back in draft that can learn for a season.
I agree with boundary CB's. But, Samuel would be the Slot CB. Slot CB's are closer to the action in the Run game and Samuel is a willing tackler and is a good wrap tackler. IMO, I think it may be the Rams highest priority. I would bet they come out of the draft with either Samuel, Elijah Molden or Aaron Robinson.
 

TheTackle

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I agree with boundary CB's. But, Samuel would be the Slot CB. Slot CB's are closer to the action in the Run game and Samuel is a willing tackler and is a good wrap tackler. IMO, I think it may be the Rams highest priority. I would bet they come out of the draft with either Samuel, Elijah Molden or Aaron Robinson.

You might be right. As much as I like Pete Werner and Creed Humphrey I agree that CB is the more valuable position but who ever they pick has to make an impact this season because we are going for the big prize
 
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CGI_Ram

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We (fans) don’t know what the Rams are thinking at TE and C.

Those two positions, IMO, drive our whole understanding of need.

Our first selection will tell us a lot.
 

leoram

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Here's my theory. The Rams only get two difference makers each draft so why use the scattershot approach? Trade up to the latter half of the first with our second and two thirds and get Rashawn Slater and then trade the rest of the draft to get Quinn Meinerz. I want a dominant OLine PERIOD!

I realize it won't happen but since we are only speculating based on preference...
 

tklongball

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Here's my theory. The Rams only get two difference makers each draft so why use the scattershot approach? Trade up to the latter half of the first with our second and two thirds and get Rashawn Slater and then trade the rest of the draft to get Quinn Meinerz. I want a dominant OLine PERIOD!

I realize it won't happen but since we are only speculating based on preference...

I hear what you are saying, but wow, imagine if both end up being busts.
 
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Rams43

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My current thoughts...

This is a deep draft through at least round 4 at positions of interest to Rams. This is obviously a very good thing for a team lacking a 1st.

Therefore, I see Snead trying his best to do at least 2 modest trade downs, say around 5 or so picks, when he sees multiple players below that match his draft board.

If I’m right then Snead will wind up with 8 or more picks and at least 5 in the top 4 rounds which is the sweet spot in this particular draft.

I do NOT see an early Snead trade up no matter how tempting it might be. The value is in trade downs for this particular team for this particular draft. Sorry.

I doubt that Rams get a single immediate starter from this draft because of the talent already on board. If they get REAL lucky a starter might be at either WOLB or nickel CB. But that would only happen because a lot of teams made mistakes ahead of Ram picks OR because the Rams got Kupp, JJ, or Fuller lucky.

Picking the position of Rams 1st pick is a fool’s errand. Too many good players at too many desired Ram positions. I intend to try to relax and enjoy watching this draft unfold.

I think that the Rams are positioned nicely to have another good draft.
 

Mackeyser

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Yeah, as much as I’d prefer to lock up a 1st round talent with that 57th pick, I think it’s much more likely that he trades that pick for multiple 3rd and 4th round picks as someone else will have a player they think has already fallen too far. That and we have a VERY good idea about value in those middle rounds...especially the 3rd...