THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Rams still haven’t made a first-round draft pick in the Sean McVay era.
The NFC champions traded the 31st overall pick to Atlanta on Thursday night, picking up the 45th and 79th overall selections while also sending the 203rd overall pick to the Falcons.
The Rams have four picks among the top 100 selections after making the deal. General manager Les Snead had expressed an interest in increasing his draft capital after trading away several key picks in recent years to bolster their veteran depth, and he found a willing partner in the Falcons.
“Early in the process, we knew the pool of players that we might be dealing with” for the 31st pick, Snead said. “You always have a few favorites that if they did fall — you didn’t project them to — that maybe you hold pat and pick. But if those chosen few didn’t, we felt it would be better to add another third-round pick and have four picks in the top 100 instead of three.”
Atlanta used the 31st overall pick on Washington offensive tackle Kaleb McGary.
“A lot of the things that we anticipated played out,” McVay said. “It’s something we feel really good about. When you look at the entirety of having those four picks in the top 100, we feel really good about coming away with four good football players. … It worked out the way that we wanted to.”
Los Angeles added the Falcons’ two picks to its 94th and 99th overall choices, giving the Rams one second-round pick and three third-round picks on what should be a busy Friday. The Rams traded away their own 2019 second-round pick last year to get cornerback Marcus Peters from Kansas City.
The Rams have not made a first-round selection since 2016, when they traded up with Tennessee to select Jared Goff with the No. 1 overall pick. Snead has a history of big hits with his highest draft picks, which have included Aaron Donald and Todd Gurley.
But McVay has transformed Snead’s roster into back-to-back NFC West champions during his two-year tenure without help from a first-round rookie. The coach clearly wasn’t bothered by the decision to move back for an extra pick on Friday, even with distinguished talent still available Thursday night at No. 31 in the Rams’ areas of need on the offensive line and the secondary.
“It feels par for the course,” McVay said. “There’s going to be a lot of really good football players that are drafted (Friday). We are going to feel good.”
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