Rams General Manager Les Snead NFL Draft Day 1 Press Conference


Rams General Manager NFL Draft Day 1 Draft Media Availability – April 29, 2021


Opening statement:

“So, I’ve been asked for about a year now, what was the impact of COVID and what kind of impact would it have on the draft? So, from a personal standpoint, I probably saved the most impact for last and that it’s fitting that after being exposed earlier in the week, day three this morning – we often call (Vice President, Sports Medicine and Performance) Reggie (Scott), our director of athletic performance, the Grinch this time of the year because he might give you some bad medical reports on one of the guys we’d love to draft – but I started feeling some effects last night. So, I called Reg on the way over this morning to test and say, ‘Hey, I’m expecting a positive,’ so of course, he let me know about 30 minutes later, gave me that Grinch news. So, I did test positive this morning, so I’m going to miss out on drafting at the Rocket Mortgage Draft House, but we’ll move it to the Rocket Mortgage garage here and probably like the 2020 draft, I’ll do it from remote and be a part of it from here. But can’t make that up, right? To test positive like on the first day of the draft, I mean, not like two days before the first day, but…”

(On if he has any symptoms)

“Well, it is interesting, and I think my symptoms – I know there’s been people in this country, all around the world, have had it a lot worse than me – I can tell you last night, when you are exposed, you might go through the psychosomatic type deal and you start feeling things, but last night, some of the aches, I was like, ‘Okay, this is real,’ but the good thing is nothing major yet. So, we’ll cross our fingers there and treat it a little bit, maybe like the flu. But Advil will help tonight and probably a nap this afternoon helped. A little Advil after, but definitely know there’s a virus trying to, I guess you’d call it, attack the body a little bit, but as you can see I’m in a relatively good spot right now.”


(On if he has had the vaccination yet)

“I did have the first vaccination and was going to get the second one, I think it was scheduled for Monday or Tuesday of this week. So, I’ve been told that it will now be delayed, so I was close to the finish line there.”


(On if he sees more opportunities on the draft board after day one)

“It’s interesting when you’re picking in the 50s like we are, there’s still a lot of people on the board, both sides of the ball right now, but we’re still how many picks away? I mean, that board, as I like to say, it’ll get wiped out pretty quick, but it’ll be interesting once we get in and around our pick, what runs occur at what positions and what side of the ball may have the stronger players. So, we’re going to try to prepare for multiple positions. That’s what you have to do when you’re picking 57, unless you’re going to attack and be aggressive and go get someone.”

(On his previous remarks about timing and his positive test)

“My wife said because I’m an only child, she said only children are spoiled and they somehow figure out a way to still become relevant, even when you don’t have a first-round pick.”


(On if the close contact was a Rams staff member)

“I wouldn’t want to name a name, but yes it was a Ram staff member.”

(On if the result has impacted anybody else in the scouting team)

“It is coincidentally, maybe even ironically, we’ve probably been one of the more conservative teams and we didn’t bring in a lot of the guys that are out of town and we thought about this was going to be the chance to get everybody back together but made the decision that it might not be the best timing. So, we’ve been remote, so it hasn’t affected anyone in personnel.”

(On elaboration of who was the close contact if it was a support staff or coaching staff) 

“Let’s keep it at, I want to just say Rams. I don’t want to get into that unless I asked them if I could do that. So, I haven’t done that.”

(On Green Bay’s QB Aaron Rodgers situation and if he can confirm the Rams considered Rodgers)

“No. I think that was kind of a little bit rumor-ish, back kind of when that carousal was going on. So, we were never serious contenders in that play, then we kind of, early in the process there, when (QB Matthew) Matt (Stafford) became available, we kind of jumped into those sweepstakes and attacked that.”


(On if calls were made to Green Bay about Rodgers) 

“No, I’m not going to confirm that. But I don’t think he was ever available. I guess he is today. I kind of hadn’t followed the drama of the day.”


(On whether Head Coach Sean McVay tested negative today)

Vice President, Communications Artis Twyman: “(Head Coach) Sean McVay tested negative.”


(On any frustrations considering needing to isolate during the NFL Draft)

“There was never a frustration. And then what’s interesting, you find now two things occur, right? Maybe the person who we were exposed to feels really guilty. I was a pre-med major, so I know viruses. Viruses want to live and they’re going to do whatever it takes to live and to live if you’re a virus, right, it’s to get from one host to the next. So, it’s not one person’s fault, for sure. So, you will make sure they don’t feel guilty. I think once you do have it, you really begin feeling guilty about, now you got to pull the kids out of school, things like that. I think I kind of made a little bit of an office here in the garage. I think I’m going to pull a mattress out here in the garage and sleep out here. So, right now (Snead’s wife) Kara (Henderson) will not let me in the house. Food and water from the garage and got a nice weight room over here. So, it’s everything a guy could really need. Not really frustrated at this point in time. I mean the fortunate thing I do think, being let’s call it relatively deep into the first shot of vaccination probably, the data says good chance of weathering this right without major symptoms like a lot of people faced in this country.”


(On if he felt the first round played out as he anticipated and any impact heading into Day 2)

“I was trying to think what we do. It’s pretty interesting when you’re picking 57, you kind of try to wipe out or eliminate a portion of the board that you really don’t have to study any further for efficiency purposes. So, I definitely expected the skill to go. And what’s interesting too, right, you had three skill players go really early, counting (Atlanta TE Kyle) Pitts at Florida and (Eagles WR) Devonta (Smith) goes, and then there’s usually there’s going to be a run there. Then, it was interesting, you get the back-to-back, that’s what’s neat about the draft, you get the back-to-back running back run and then you get (Jaguars RB) Travis (Etienne) getting the, I guess you’d call it, reuniting tonight with (Jaguars QB) Trevor (Lawrence). So, those are the interesting things. But you see those runs and tomorrow there’s going to be a run, don’t know which position. Once you see a couple go off the board and teams that do, or let’s say that was one of their primary needs, they’re going to probably do what it takes to make sure they don’t lose out.”


(On how his current in-home draft setup is different than last year)

“I’ll give our IT team credit today to come in and set this up. But last year, things happened really quickly and kind of did this makeshift draft room office. Then what’s interesting, when our kids ended up doing school remote, whatever we want to call it for most of this year, they ended up thinking that that was the cooler place to do school. So, they kicked me out and I ended up kind of moving the home office to this garage. It’s kind of an indoor-outdoor living area. So, a good space because I can open the doors and feel like I’m outdoor. So, I’ve been working out of here pretty much since the kids kicked me out of that office. But this was my favorite place. Sometimes you don’t want to do laughing matters in this, because I know people have gone through it and had serious times, but before (Director of Information Technology) Jeff Graves and his IT team come today, they brought in, let’s call it, they were wearing hazmat suits cleaning the garage so that Jeff and (Director of Video) Dan Dmytrisin in our video (department) come in and make sure things go smoothly. I was in the backyard. But, was embarrassed to come out because all the neighbors were now stopping by and seeing these, three-to-four people in hazmat suits coming in and out of the garage. They were here just to really, if you want to call it, probably clean the area before Jeff and his group jumped in. But like last year, they get an A+ for making sure the main thing they wanted to do here is I work off Wi-Fi, they wanted to make sure I had, let’s call it Super Wi-Fi or backup Wi-Fi. And my teenagers really get used to it because now, the house is really super-fast.”


(On if there is any fun mentioning about potential picks in first round slots traded away)

“We will have fun every now and then. And go, ‘Okay, if we were picking, who would we pick?’ So, we do. We have done that the last couple of years for sure. I think the year we had the 31st pick, obviously you couldn’t do that because we were trading back. But last year I believe we did it and this year as well.”


(On if the sentiment behind that feeling is satisfaction with CB Jalen Ramsey)

“The answer to that is yes, because we made the trade. But I mean, I think the insight on that is, (CB) Jalen (Ramsey) is who he is, and his projection is over. He’s now in his prime and is a Pro Bowl, All-Pro type corner. So, the difference between him and some kids tonight is a lot of them have that potential and now it’s going to be on them as the person and the environment they’re in to see if that projection leads to definitely contributing to an NFL team.”


(On his process to get ready for Day 2 of the draft)

“We’ve talked through multiple scenarios, so the boards set, and it’ll be a guiding north star for us tomorrow. When we get to 57, let’s just say we have a favorite, a second favorite, third favorite and fourth. Myself, the GM, will always know what if we don’t get our fifth favorite and you get – a lot of times, you say, ‘Okay, if we get to this point, maybe we trade back,’ but you’re always trying to plan what if you don’t have a dance partner and you can’t trade, right? You have to pick, so you definitely want to – I don’t want to call it worst case scenarios, but definitely talk through the scenarios where you get deep into that so that you’re not necessarily doing it on the clock, but as it gets closer to 57 there’ll be a good feel for how the board has fallen and if it’s fallen the way we’d prefer or not.”


(On if he feels good about exploring trade options and when he expects to start getting calls)

“The answer’s yes. We’ve been working a lot on the players and if you want to call it the ‘Friday players’ the second and third rounders. So, we’ll do some prep tomorrow to see which teams might be willing to come up, but a lot of times when you’re at 57, you’ll get random calls, maybe calls that you didn’t plan for because maybe someone falls and a team back behind you, now they’re calling you because they want that player. So sometimes it’s surprising. I think maybe 80, really maybe even pick 103, that’s usually, historically, you probably get a lot of calls there as teams maybe want to jump up into that bottom of the third instead of waiting until Saturday to make that pick. So that’s usually a busy area as well when you’re picking in the late third. Sometimes it’s wild, we’ll be on the phone and it’s just – you don’t have enough phones to answer and then sometimes it’s quiet. So, it probably depends on who falls, but the second and third round there is usually still some pretty salty players on the board that people want to move up and get.”