Rams Head Coach Sean McVay and General Manager Les Snead Draft Day 3 Press Conference

Rams Head Coach Sean McVay and General Manager Les Snead – Media Availability – May 1, 2021

 

(On what went into each of the draft picks)

Snead: “(DL) Bobby (Brown) is a large human being, very athletic, very strong. So, definitely felt like he was worthy of picking there at the start of the fourth round based on that skillset. (CB Robert) Rochelle is another kid from a small school, but a very athletic, long corner, a lot of upside there. (TE) Jacob Harris – interestingly, all three of those guys had some unbelievable-type pro days. Jacob Harris really played wide receiver at Central Florida and was probably our number one ranked special teamer, in terms of coverage, but he’s a fast guy that we project could go to tight end and just an interesting weapon based on the special teams and things like that. Big (DL) Ernest Brown (IV), a typical Northwestern player. He’s tall, long, heavy, just an instinctive football player. (RB) Jake Funk, another guy that we had highly rated as a coverage player, for special teams he can return and so that’s a good thing. And then big (WR) Ben (Skowronek) has just been a really fun player to watch. He’s a genre we don’t have at receiver. He’s tall, big, long arms, wide wingspan, can go up and get rebalanced. Fun player to watch blocking. So, you could project him being basically one of our better blockers on our team and a special teams projected. And then into the last player, Mr. (OLB) Chris Garrett. A small school kid who basically destroyed that league, but a fun player to watch. Has some initial juice that really gave him an edge in that league and the sacks in the amount of games speak for themselves. So that is probably a quick rundown of the seven.”

 

(On if he thinks he rounded out the teams needs)

McVay: “Yeah, I do. I think that the biggest thing when you hear (General Manager) Les (Snead) go through those seven picks today, in addition to the two from yesterday – all of these guys provide tremendous value. They all love football, and their skill sets are different, but I think they really fill out the rooms that they’re going into. You look at each of them and there’s a vision that we have for them and how they fit, how they provide value for a football team and that might be offensively or defensively. There’s a couple of guys that we felt like their value to our special teams unit was a really big asset. That they can immediately boost the production of that group. Not really just in the kicking game, in general, not exclusive to our coverage units or our return units, but really being those core players. So that was an important element for us to be able to really focus on and feel really good. And then we’re going to add some really good players in college free agency as well.”

 

(On what kind of challenges they had this draft)

McVay: “When I say no holes to fill, I think it’s a compliment to the guys we have in house on the roster that’s been built here. But all of these guys provide value and depth. Unfortunately, injuries are a part of our game and we hope to stay as healthy as possible, but these guys will do an excellent job in each of their rooms that they’re going to step into. What’s unique about it is with COVID over the last year, some guys not playing this past year, I think the biggest change that you could really feel was the medicals. Just getting some of that information a little bit later than you’re accustomed to, but I thought Les, his group, (Vice President, Sports Medicine and Performance) Reggie (Scott) and our doctors did a phenomenal job and I feel really good about another smooth process. We’re kind of in the middle of finishing up the college free agency as we speak right now, but I think it’s been a really good weekend. And I know we got better as a football team without a doubt.”

 

(On what they look for when they call players)

Snead: “It’s pretty neat because – you all get to talk, you do the zooms and I know our website or what have you spits it out and through the draft getting texts just from friends of mine or what have you about, ‘Hey man, this guy I loved his interview,’ things like. So, you all get a feel that I haven’t, but I got a text and I’m like, ‘Okay, that’s seems like pretty good kid.’ But I do know this – it’s interesting, right? When you vet them and you know that they’re passionate about ball, and then you’re able to make the call and welcome them to the Rams and feel that enthusiasm, it just jacks me up. In terms of – I can’t imagine, you’re probably many nights dreaming about getting drafted and all of a sudden today or yesterday your dream comes true.”

 

McVay: “Yeah. I felt the same way. I think this group, especially when you look at the nine guys, there was a real, genuine excitement. I think there’s a consistent passion for the game of football. These guys love what they’re doing, and that ends up being contagious. There’s a genuine enthusiasm that all those guys had that can’t help but get you excited as well. Those are the types of people that we want to bring into our building and we’re really excited to add those nine players.”

 

(On WR Ben Skowronek playing fullback if that’s in the plans)

McVay: “Ben has probably been in a three-point stance more than (Rams TE Jacob) Harris has. So, I saw him in the goal line packages. He has a toughness; he has a good feel to his game where he’s got some versatility. So, you never know. Teams might have to treat him like a tight end, receiver with how we’ll utilize him, but he’s not afraid to do the dirty work. He has a really good resume, good body of work, and they’ve done a great job at Notre Dame. There’s a lot of similarities with what (Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks) Coach (Tommy) Reese and (Notre Dame Head) Coach (Brian) Kelly have done schematically. There will be a lot of comfortable things that will feel familiar to him with what we’ll ask of him, but I’m excited to add Ben and really Harris to the mix as some skill players on the perimeter for us, or as you know, kind of some different guys that can create different numbers in the blocking surfaces as well.”

 

(On the reasoning to not draft offensive linemen) 

McVay: “Yeah, I think, what I would say is, what I think was an incredible blessing for our team a couple of years ago, that was really tough to go through is, you got a lot of young players some experience and you don’t want to be naive to the fact that, ‘Hey, you don’t want to just look at the upcoming season’, but you want to have a long-term perspective as well. But the way that the things shook out, we were able to really get players off the board that we all really had a good feel and a light for. And then, there’s a lot of depth with the 11 players that we had in that offensive line room going into today, all of them have played meaningful games. There are guys that we project as real NFL guys. Typically, you want to have 15, if you’re going to go on your 90-man roster, but I think it is a reflection of the confidence of the group that we do have in place and just kind of how things shook out. There were some different guys that were potentially going to be people that we were maybe going to select, but I think it worked out exactly how we had hoped. I think it’s a reflection of the confidence that we do have in the group that’s played a lot of football and I know (Offensive Line Coach) Kevin Carberry is going to do a great job leading that unit.”

Snead: “I second Sean on that. I think we’ve been saying it a good bit and Sean mentioned it. I mean, we’ve got 11 guys who’ve played games that we won. That’s probably as deep a group that’s played as I’ve ever been a part of. So, give those guys credit and they’ve done a heck of a job. As Sean said, that unfortunate at times that we’ve had a lot of guys get a chance to play and they’ve grown together and they’re jelling together and like Sean said, in the draft, there’s times you’re looking at OL, maybe if you’re 15 spots away, but someone takes one. So, that’s just how the draft goes. But we did know this going into this draft, right? If we did take an OL, it would really be, I would say maybe a redshirt year. It’d be hard for an offensive lineman to be one of our eight (gameday OL) no matter how good you were coming into this group.”

McVay: “(OL) Chandler Brewer was our draft pick this year opting back in. A guy that we have a lot of excitement about that can play inside and outside. Chandler Brewer was the guy we added to the mix that wasn’t with us last year. There you go.”

Snead: “This isn’t official yet, but I know we got a handshake agreement with a kid from Iowa, Alaric Jackson, who’s a very talented kid and because of the Big Ten, didn’t have as good a year, a little bit probably similar to, (OL) David Edwards types, where he didn’t have as good a year as the year before and he fell out of the draft. He was a kid that was down at the Senior Bowl, but he’s definitely got to make a team and contribute talent, so we’ll see if we can officialize that and go to work.”

 

(On the draft results and if they feel like they can be more explosive offensively with those added elements along with what they already have on the roster and what would be the recruiting pitch for the college free agents)

McVay: “I think first of all, we definitely expect to be more explosive and I think, like anything else, you’ve got to give guys an opportunity to create big plays in a variety of ways and there’s a big responsibility that I know I feel and our coaches feel to put our players in the positions to be able to make those plays. There was definitely an intentional approach and process to being able to add a quarterback of (QB) Matthew Stafford’s caliber, and then surround him with the right pieces. Guys that we’ve already had in place and then guys that we’ve added, whether that be (WR) DeSean (Jackson) or the players that we drafted, and then the guys that we have in-house, but we have a lot of expectations and things that we expect to accomplish, but you got to do it. And so as far as for the recruiting pitch, if you got some suggestions for some of these skilled guys, I’d love to hear it because most of these guys are probably thinking the same thing you are. I think we feel really good about the depth, but there are some spots when you look at offensive linemen, guys that we feel really good about in place, but then being able to add in Alaric Jackson, like Les mentioned, those are the things that we’re looking to try to create the most competitive roster to really solidify our football team in all three phases. But it’s something that we definitely expect to be more explosive, and everybody’s got a hand in that.”

 

(On if Snead is feeling better with COVID)

Snead: “You know what, I’ll be honest, right? This is the worst I’ve felt talking with y’all. Right before I got on, I remembered I missed one of my Advil dosages. I guess because we kept trading back to have a lot of picks.”

McVay: “You are disciplined as hell with those Advil. I’d be popping those things like candy, man.”

Snead: “I set my alarm on the four-hour schedule. Hopefully it kicks in, but it’s interesting. I talked with an agent, I’m not going to give his name just because I’m not sure he wants to, but he sounded really bad and he was not with one of his players for CFA and he said he was dealing with COVID. So, what I do know is I certainly am not feeling as bad as he was, but I mean, he sounded bad. So, fortunate there.”


(On if they went into the draft with a plan to add depth on the defensive line)

Snead: “I think the way we did it and like Sean had alluded to, we didn’t have to have really any position, at least that’s subjectively how we felt. Y’all might feel differently about the offensive line, but we felt that way. So, what we tried to do is, is I call it handicap how the draft might fall, especially with (No.) 57 and those third-round picks in kind of early fourth. What we did do is, come up with front seven I called it, and that could be an OLB, it could be an IDL, just depending on how the draft was going to fall, but we felt like we could definitely, as you can always take talented front-seven guys. And then I probably didn’t mention with Earnest Brown, he’s someone that can add versatility of maybe playing inside and also outside a little bit like (Panthers DL) Morgan Fox at times. So, that versatility kind of allowed for that but we would have taken it at most positions a quality player if they fell and that’s kind of what we tried to do.”

 

(On if the draft and offseason will help the Rams become a league-leading passing attack)

McVay: “To me, it’s about winning and losing and whatever we feel like is the best way to do that, putting all three phases together, winning as a team is the most important thing to me. What we’ve seen over the last four years is there’s been different kind of philosophies that we’ve put together based on how our team unfolds. There’s no doubt about it, a guy that’s heavily involved in the offense like myself, and our coaches, you feel a huge responsibility to be a big part of why we’re winning those games. To say that we don’t have expectations and that we need to be better offensively, we do. For us to do and accomplish the things that we all have in mind, is definitely something that’s a huge point of emphasis, but not at the expense of minimizing the importance of defense in the kicking game as well. So, to say that we have any excuses for not being productive? No. We’ve got great players, feel really confident in our coaches. There’s no reason that we don’t have very realistic expectations about being a lot better. But saying it doesn’t do anything, we’ve got to be where our feet are planted, do it one day at a time. But the answer is yes, I expect us to be much better and I expect this to be one of the better ones in the league.”

 

(On OL Brian Allen’s health status in light of not drafting a center)

McVay: “He feels good. You know, we’ve got a lot of guys that have been trained to play the center position as well. (OL) Brian Allen has started and played really productive football for us when he’s been healthy. (OL) Coleman Shelton is a guy that’s done a lot of good things. Then, we’ve got starting-caliber guards that definitely have the capability to do it. (OL) Austin Corbett is a guy that started at the left guard, the right guard. I have no doubt that if he tried his hand at center, that he could really excel there as well. So, there’s a lot of guys, when you look at the 11 offensive linemen, 10 of those 11 have played meaningful snaps in real games. (OL) Tremayne Anchrum (Jr.), a guy that we invested in last year, who I think has a lot of upside, didn’t play last year, but is somebody that we feel good about for the future. I think it’s a really competitive group and so really looking forward to watching Coach Carberry get his hands on these guys and hopefully be able to work with them sooner than later.”

 

(On whether the trades to move back were aimed at adding depth)

Snead: “I know a lot of times with where we were sitting in the draft, there was moments where, ‘Okay, this is probably a good spot to trade back in and recoup some picks.’ So that’s always an option right? Unless there’s somebody that really won’t at that pick. There was a couple of times we thought about actually moving up, and even attempted to, and wasn’t able to do it. So, it kind of works both ways. But what we did know is we had identified some guys with our personnel staff and Joe DeCamillis, our new special teams coach, the guys that could come in and hey, like a Jacob Harris, like Mr. Funk and some of those guys and ‘Big Ben’ and things like that that could help on teams too. So, because you did get a Jersey on game day and if you’re not starting, it’d be really, really good if you can help us cover kicks and punts and things like that. We knew that there would be some of those guys in the draft and paid having as many picks as possible that allow us to pick some of those guys off along the way.”

 

(On if there was a pattern of selecting athleticism over skill in this year’s draft)

Snead: “I mean, the key is hey, what role can they play? So, let’s take Jacob Harris, major athletic profile. I mean, he’s a freak of nature. But what we do know is, and there’s no projection, is watching him cover kicks, block. I mean, I think even the pundits had him as the No. 1 special teams player in the draft, right? So, that’s not a projection, that’s right there on paper. Now, it’s Sean and (Tight Ends Coach/Pass Game Coordinator) Coach (Wes) Phillips. As we groom him to be a tight end, and there’s some other things that’s not necessarily a projection with him. Going vertical and tracking the ball over his head and outrunning people, that’s kind of what he did. And interestingly, I think with the (University of Central Arkansas) corner Robert, probably because he’s from Central Arkansas, you consider him raw. But very, very athletic human being that what he can do, that’s not a projection, is once he breaks on a ball, he can break and he gets to the receiver, the ball, really quick. That’s, that’s not a projection, that’s what mom, dad, God gave him to close and him able to flip those hips and do that. You’re always looking, ‘Hey, what’s your projection?’ So, with Robert, it’s okay, if he’s our fourth corner this year, (Defensive Coordinator Raheem) Coach Morris was jacked to get ahold of him. (Secondary Coach/Pass Game Coordinator) Coach ‘E’ (Ejiro Evero), those guys, to develop him. But Coach DeCamillis was also thumbs up on him as well because if you’re a fourth corner, what’s not a projection is him going down and maybe being a gunner and things like that. I think as Sean and I always talk with these players, what is the role? What’s their chance of getting a jersey on game day and why?”

 

McVay: “I think Les and his group, then really when you look at (Manager of Data and Analytics) Jake (Temme), (Manager of Software Development), Ryan (Garlisch), (Manager of Football Analytics) Sarah (Bailey), they do an excellent job of really providing some tangible evidence specific to the athletic measurables. Then you’re saying, ‘Do see enough traits and characteristics on tape even if they might be a little bit green that we feel like we can help them develop and reach their highest potential?’ There was a handful of guys today in particular that really fit into that that mold, if you will, and very excited to be able to work with these guys. But I think it was really a true representation of the great collaboration that exists between our coaches and Les and his group and how we can figure it out to create the most competitive roster and add guys that bring value to our team in a bunch of different ways.

 

Snead: “Our nerds, as we call them, they were jacked about those first three (picks). They have their own ratings on analyzing those pro days and were freaks of nature. So, they were jacked about that. Then, you come back with a go to Ernest Brown, who’s the opposite, right, his pro day wasn’t so good. But in good old Northwestern fashion, they just play really good defense there. They know how to play football, some of that central nervous stuff. Maybe they throw you for a loop there. I don’t know if we’re about to close and I know Sean mentioned it with Jake, Ryan, Sarah, ‘the nerds’, heck our area scouts starting this time last year for this class, our senior level group, our coaching staff, athletic performance staff, (Vice President, Communications) Artis (Twyman), his staff for getting these awesome Zoom calls set up for the players, everybody to say they’re pretty cool. And our IT staff for taking the show on the road and adjusting. I mean, got to give those guys and women a lot of credit because a lot of hard work goes into basically as Sean always says, ‘You mean to tell me we do all that work and we end up with about seven to nine players?’. Basically, everybody that got drafted, we did a lot of work on. Can’t draft them all and we ended up with our nine. But a lot of people that aren’t on this call deserve a lot of, let’s call it credit, for helping us get to where we are now.”