Rams GM Helps Show How L.A. Finds ‘Diamonds In the Rough’

Matthew Stafford Les Snead

Getty Matthew Stafford and Les Snead following the Rams' Super Bowl 56 win.

Los Angeles Rams general manager Les Snead was all business following “F them Picks.”

Sitting inside the pristine Hollywood Hills compound that became their NFL Draft headquarters for the 2022 version, Snead helped orchestrate the moves to lure in eight new members of the “Rams House.” But not without once again facing the circumstance of not having a first or even second round selection (the Rams had one second round pick a year ago, which they used at No. 57 on Tutu Atwell).

How do the Rams counter not having a day one pick? And how did they strategically pull off getting their picks after the first 100 selections when most of the more talented prospects are already off the board? Are the Rams and Snead in a situation where they have to pivot toward less experienced players?

Snead helped pull back the curtain on how the Rams draft in a Wednesday, May 4 video released by the franchise.


Snead Reveals When the Rams Start Scouting Process

Snead said the draft starts with the team’s area scouts — with each one assigned a different region.

But the 2022 draft scouting process started during a period when the Rams could still make a midseason trade.

“We started looking at players as a group in October,” Snead said in the video. “And at that point, this [draft] board began to move up and down. This is the fun stage: Which 25 to 30 players do we really want to come away with? It all starts, right there, with area scouts.”

This means the Rams multitasked: They were scouring for talent in the college ranks before they acquired Von Miller via trade and added Odell Beckham Jr. via waivers.

After the scouts identified their list of potential future Rams, along comes Sean McVay and his coaching staff.

“Once we set an initial draft board, we sit with our coaching staff and ask ‘do you agree or not?’ And once we do that, we do our best to try to acquire them,” Snead said.


Rams Draft History Under Snead

Snead has been GM of the Rams since 2012. From his first draft to 2016, the native of Eufaula, Alabama held a first rounder each season and used the picks on names like Michael Brockers, Tavon Austin, Todd Gurley, Aaron Donald and Jared Goff — the latter now representing the last first rounder L.A. settled on.

But with the late round placements since 2017, Snead credits how the Rams’ staff from scouts to coaches have been able to “gain an edge” on the other 31 teams that are drafting.

“We’ve had a lot of success with if you want to call them mid to late rounders,” Snead said. “It’s kind of allowed us to come in and be more innovative, a little bit more creative to gain an edge.”

Names like Cooper Kupp (third rounder in ’17), Greg Gaines (fourth rounder in 2019), Joe Noteboom (third rounder in 2018) and recently, Ernest Jones (No. 103 in 2021) surfaced as mid to late round findings. Each of those players either slipped under the radar at the respective schools or became late bloomers. Snead gave praise to the personnel responsible for solidifying those picks.

“I give our coaching staff credit: Having the fortitude to rely on lesser experienced players,” Snead said.

Snead also mentioned a certain No. 199 overall pick they got.

“And having that fortitude allows us to pencil Jordan Fuller (2020) in the starting lineup and, hey, maybe he’ll intercept the goat on Monday Night Football,” Snead said in referring to Tom Brady and Fuller’s two interception night.


Scouting Leaders Speak on Rams’ Approach

Ted Monago sits in on the meetings with Snead as the Rams’ assistant director of college scouting.

“The meetings are really constructive,” Monago said. “I think they’re point driven in terms of what we’re looking for and a player to help the Rams be successful. And the type of people that we have that we talk about are built for the Rams.”

Rams’ director of scouting strategy James Gladstone said his team of scouts have adjusted to Snead’s draft philosophy.

“We have a scouting department who is certainly accustomed and comfortable with the circumstances and embraces both an unflinching and agile mindset,” Gladstone said. “And we’re picking through rounds three, four, five, six and seven. What you’re able to do is spread yourself a little bit deeper into the draft that allows us the luxury of focusing on really sound football players at those spots.”

Snead is aware that he and the Rams’ draft approach has rubbed some draft experts and NFL analysts the wrong way. But their April/May tactics is done with the feeling that other teams are on the Rams’ tail.

“It might be perceived as boldness. It might be perceived as doing something different. It might even be unconventional and untraditional. But it does mean you better know that the other 31 are hunting too,” Snead said.


Inside The Draft: Les Snead & Rams Scouts Find Diamonds In The Rough | Ep. 2Go inside Los Angeles Rams Draft meetings with general manager Les Snead & scouts as they prepare to find the next diamonds in the rough and recall the diamonds they have found in past years. Subscribe to the LA Rams Channel: bit.ly/3d9IrHe For More Exclusive Content follow the Rams: Twitter: twitter.com/ramsnfl Instagram: instagram.com/rams/ Facebook: facebook.com/Rams/…2022-05-04T22:00:10Z
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