LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles Rams general manager Les Snead will conduct the draft weekend from his home after testing positive for COVID-19 on Thursday morning.
That last-minute change didn’t affect the Rams on the first day, since they had no first-round pick for the fifth consecutive year.
Snead is also confident his quarantine in his garage won’t affect the Rams’ plans for the weekend — and besides, his biggest offseason roster-building work is already done.
Snead and coach Sean McVay were exposed to a Rams employee who tested positive early this week, the GM confirmed. McVay is still testing negative, but Snead felt soreness Wednesday night and woke up with enough discomfort to make him certain he was about to have a positive test.
“When you’re exposed, you might go through the psychosomatic deal,” Snead said. “But last night, with some of the aches, I was like, ‘OK, this is real.’ The good news is it’s nothing major yet, so we’ll cross that and treat it like the flu. Advil helped tonight, probably a nap this afternoon.”
While the Rams’ personnel executives and their new players enjoy the team’s palatial Malibu draft headquarters over the next few days, Snead should have no problem making his picks from his newly disinfected home when the Rams finally get to work with the 57th overall choice during the second round Friday. They’ve also got two picks in the third round at No. 88 and No. 103 overall.
The Rams have clear needs in the secondary, where they lost star safety John Johnson and starting cornerback Troy Hill to Cleveland in free agency. Los Angeles also needs new linebackers for its 3-4 scheme, along with a new starting center after Austin Blythe signed with Kansas City.
Snead has had consistent success finding starters in the middle rounds, and he’ll likely have to deliver another couple of hits for the Rams to contend for a spot in their home Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium in less than 10 months.
The Rams’ first-round pick Thursday belonged to Jacksonville, as did last season’s first-round pick, as part of the trade in which Los Angeles acquired cornerback Jalen Ramsey midway through the 2019 season.
Ramsey, still only 26 years old, earned his second career first-team All-Pro selection last season as arguably the NFL’s top shutdown cornerback and a leader of the league’s No. 1-ranked defense.
The Jaguars used this year’s pick on Clemson running back Travis Etienne after using last season’s pick on LSU defensive end K’Lavon Chaisson, who had 19 tackles and one sack as a rookie.
Snead admits the Rams pay attention to what happens with their picks, even when they’re extremely happy about what they got in return.
“We’ll have fun every now and then,” Snead said. “We have done that the last couple of years, for sure. … The insight on that is Jalen is who he is. His projection is over. He’s now in his prime, and he’s a Pro Bowl, prototype corner. The difference between him and those kids is that they have potential, and now it’s going to be on them and their environment to see if that projection leads to contributing to an NFL team.”
Needless to say, the Rams are perfectly happy with that trade. They’re also quite optimistic about the deal swung earlier this offseason to send their next two first-round picks to Detroit along with quarterback Jared Goff in exchange for Matthew Stafford.
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