The Rams understand the risk.
But their front office also sees a sea change coming to the NFL, so they were willing to risk going six years between first-round picks to put their hands on Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey last week (for two firsts and a fourth).
“The NBA is coming to the NFL,” Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff told Peter King of NBC’s Football Morning in America. “This [the Ramsey trade] is a similar case to those NBA deals.
“Prior team-building formulas, where you basically had guys for their careers, is pretty much over. Think of the guys who’ve moved in the past year. Khalil Mack. Marcus Peters. Jalen Ramsey. Jarvis Landry. Laremy Tunsil, . . .[Odell] Beckham too—forgot him.
“But I think there’s one other important factor here. Today, it’s easier to find ways to measure performance. There’s a rise of analytics, there’s better technology, better and more accurate data. What we’ve found is you can find undervalued players easier than before. So I think football people are getting better at synthesizing data to find players.”
So far this year, there have been 54 trades involving 69 players, including 13 Pro Bowlers. There are eight days left before the trade deadline, and that number is likely to push even higher with a few teams realizing they need an extra part (and a few others embarking on fire sales).
As it pertains to the locker room, the players on hand love the all-in aspect.
“When your team is built for the now,” safety Eric Weddle said, “and you have a chance in the future to have two of the best players in this league to build around, Jalen and Aaron Donald, you can get role players to build around them. In all honesty, a draft pick around 25 or 30 you’re probably going to trade anyway. When you have a chance to get one of the best players in the league for two ones, I mean, why not do it?”
Of course, the reasons for that have to do with money and time, but for a team built for right now, that’s a question the Rams are willing to answer later.