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The Rams Never Have First-Round Picks, So What?

By Stephen Douglas
Sean McVay
Sean McVay / Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
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The Los Angeles Rams traded Jared Goff and some picks for Matthew Stafford. They now have no first-round picks until 2024. That sounds crazy, but what if it doesn't matter?

The Rams are in a good, competitive division that has sent three different teams to the Super Bowl in the last decade. If they don't care about dead money and the salary cap, well, that's a good thing. The Rams haven't had a first-round pick since 2016 when they selected Goff. It seems universally accepted that Matthew Stafford is a superior quarterback to Jared Goff. Now they have Stafford on a reasonable contract for the next two seasons, while he's still in his early thirties. Combined with Goff's dead salary, that's basically what the Steelers are going to pay Ben Roethlisberger.

Doesn't sound so bad now, does it? Consider that if the Rams continue to be a playoff team, those first-round picks are somewhere in the 20's. If they win a playoff game (which Stafford never did in Detroit) then they move closer to second-round territory. Now, you may have heard this before, but Tom Brady was a sixth-round pick. Goff and Stafford were both #1 picks.

High draft picks don't matter if you don't get them right or properly build around them. You can trade up and get mid to late first-round picks. You can do anything you set your mind to and the Rams have set their mind to making the playoffs, which they have done in three of the last four seasons. They are 43-21 under Sean McVay.

The Rams picks that they traded away for veterans to help them compete turned into Zay Jones, Kaleb McGary, Isiah Wynn, and K'Lavon Chaisson. It's not like similar players to all those guys weren't available in the second round or later.

All an NFL franchise should aspire to do every season is compete. The Rams have done that. With Stafford, they stand to do it for the next couple of years. Ask any fan if they'd rather have a first-round pick or a team to root for in January. While the Rams may seem like they paid too much for Stafford, they got him. The Rams are doing what they need to do to remain competitive. When you compare that to what's happening somewhere like Houston, how can you not applaud it?

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