The trade has become a far more popular tool for team building over the past five years. Most teams are still reliant on the draft to build their team. Some use trades to add a key piece or address a major weakness. The Rams do things differently though. Since 2017, when Sean McVay took over as Head Coach, LA have made 21 trades involving players.
Prior to McVay joining, GM Les Snead had already seen the opportunities of a big trade. He was in charge way back in 2012 when the Rams traded the second overall pick, which became Robert Griffin III for a stable of four picks – three in the first round.
This season’s team include five starters who were traded to the Rams: Matthew Stafford, Sony Michel, Austin Corbett, Von Miller & Jalen Ramsey. On top of that, Odell Beckham Jr, Eric Weddle and Leonard Floyd have been added through other means.
The Rams value proven performance in the NFL. The Rams haven’t had a 1st round pick since 2016, when they selected Jared Goff first overall. They currently don’t have a first round pick this year. And they won’t pick in the first round in 2023 either. The Rams’ have not trusted high end talent in the draft for almost a decade. Admittedly, since paying off the trade for Jared Goff, the Rams haven’t picked earlier than 20, so the blue chip players are off the board. The Rams clearly prefer to see their first pick as an asset rather than a draftable player.
This is the second time that the Rams have built a team of ‘Galacticos’. Back in 2018, they were hoovering up talent like Aqib Talib, Marcus Peters, Ndamukong Suh, Robert Quinn, Dante Fowler and Brandin Cooks. Clearly the team were trying to build a mean machine on defence, with a lot of pressure on the QB and ballhawks in the secondary. It nearly worked for them, as the lost in the Super Bowl to the Patriots.
Of the starters on the 2018 roster, only five remain on the Rams’ current roster, two of them on the offensive line: Andrew Whitworth, Rob Havenstein, rookie Cooper Kupp, Tyler Higbee and Aaron Donald. The running back group, QB, linebackers and secondary have all been entirely rebuilt. That is an incredible amount of churn!
The Rams built an All Star team including the likes of Gurley, Cooks, Donald, Peters and Talib. Now, three years later, they are two games away from a second Super Bowl under Sean McVay. This time, the galacticos are Matt Stafford, Cooper Kupp, Sony Michel, Aaron Donald, Von Miller and Jalen Ramsey.
While both iterations of this team are high on star power, they do lack depth at times. This will be the biggest test to see what happens if key players are nullified or injured. Can they beat the Bucs and then the 49ers – who swept them this season to make the Super Bowl in their home stadium – as the Bucs did last year?
Based on the performance of the Rams over the last five years, you can’t write it off.
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