Rams Rumors

Rams Using Analytics To Make Late-Round Selections

  • With more available data than ever before, a “handful of teams,” including the Rams, are using analytics to help them locate hidden gems and special teams contributors/reserve types on Day 3 of the draft, as Ben Volin of the Boston Globe writes. Volin writes, “[i]n addition to comparing 40 times and broad jumps, teams find different ways to track a player’s health, his productivity at various positions and alignments, his performance in the fourth quarter, and so on.” So while old-school scouting and face-to-face meetings are still the most important tools with respect to early-round picks, potential late-round selections are increasingly being scouted with advanced metrics.

McVay Pleased With Aaron Donald Talks

  • Sean McVay is encouraged by the early dialogue the Rams are having with Aaron Donald. The team did not expect Donald, a holdout until September last year, to report to the first phase of its offseason program as he seeks a landscape-altering contract. “We feel good about the dialogue that has existed,” McVay said this week. “This is a voluntary offseason program with where we’re at. You know he’s a guy who’s going to work hard on his off-time, and that’s kind of where we’re at.” The Rams sound like they’re on the verge of authorizing a record contract for the reigning defensive player of the year.

Minor NFL Transactions: 4/17/18

Today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Green Bay Packers

Los Angeles Rams

New York Jets

Seattle Seahawks

Rams' Todd Gurley Not Focused On Contract

After an aggressive offseason, many are wondering how the Rams will afford to hold on to their best players, including running back Todd Gurley, in the long run. Apparently, Gurley doesn’t share that same concern.

Obviously, we know Aaron Donald is the guy to get paid,” Gurley told Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio. “That’s the last thing we want to worry about is trying to get ours done when we need our best player to get paid. That’s not even really the focus right now,” Gurley said. “Once you win that Super Bowl, they don’t have a choice but to pay you whether it’s the Rams or any other team. Once we try to put that together and do that, everything will take care of itself. Just focus on what’s next.”

Brockers Tore MCL In Playoffs

  • In a press conference on Monday, Rams defensive lineman Michael Brockers told reporters he tore his MCL in the team’s playoff loss to the Falcons in January, ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez tweets. During that game, the sixth-year defender sat out the second half. The good news for Los Angeles is that Brockers took part in team activities on Monday, but they’re not in pads until training camp.

Minor NFL Transactions: 4/16/2018

Here are today’s minor moves:

Denver Broncos

  • Re-signed: LB Zaire Anderson
  • Re-signed: DE Shelby Harris
  • Re-signed: LB Joseph Jones
  • Re-signed: WR Jordan Taylor
  • Re-signed: OT Elijah Wilkinson

Houston Texans

  • Signed original round RFA tender: OL Greg Mancz

Los Angeles Rams

  • Signed original round RFA tender: LB Matt Longacre

Washington Redskins

  • Re-signed: OT Tony Bergstrom

Rams S Lamarcus Joyner Signs Tender

Rams safety Lamarcus Joyner has signed his $11.287MM franchise tag, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). After inking the deal, Joyner participated in the Rams’ offseason workout program, which kicked off on Monday. 

In March, the Rams wrestled with the decision to franchise tag either Joyner or wide receiver Sammy Watkins. Ultimately, they tagged Joyner and allowed Watkins to test the open market. Watkins signed a surprisingly lucrative three-year, $48MM deal with the Chiefs with a whopping $30MM guaranteed at signing, numbers that were too rich for the Rams’ blood.

Joyner doesn’t have the same name value as Watkins, but he is a tremendous player in his own right. After spending most of his career at cornerback, Joyner moved to free safety in 2017 and enjoyed a breakout season. In 2017, Joyner started 12 games and graded out as the third-best safety in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus.

This year, Joyner will return as the Rams’ starting free safety, but the rest of the secondary will look decidedly different. Trade acquisitions Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib will be starting at cornerback while veteran Sam Shields will help support them from the bench. In the middle, rising sophomore John Johnson will start at strong safety.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams To Target LBs In Draft

  • One team that decidedly does not need to draft a defensive lineman is the Rams, although Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times said the team could still be on the lookout for DL depth in the later rounds of the draft. Klein notes in a separate piece that the Rams — who will not be on the clock until the third round — do need to address their LB corps. The team has three fourth-round selections and four sixth-round picks, and Klein says Los Angeles will be on the lookout for LBs, especially edge rushers.

Rams Notes: Talib, Donald

  • In an interview with TheRams.com, recently-acquired cornerback Aqib Talib explained why he wanted to be traded to the Rams. “Well, I’m in the later half of my career and I just wanted to be comfortable,” Talib said. “Wherever I went, I wanted to be comfortable and there was no time in the NFL where I was more comfortable playing football than with Wade Phillips. He’€™s like a guru at putting guys in position to succeed. So if I was going to go somewhere I wanted to be comfortable and I’€™m definitely comfortable here in L.A.”
  • The Rams are already working on a new deal with Aaron Donald, and general manager Les Snead acknowledged that the defensive tackle will ultimately make more than new teammate Ndamukong Suh. “The nice thing about Ndamukong,” Snead said during an appearance on The MMQB Podcast with Peter King (via Chris Wesseling of NFL.com), “at age 31 and somebody who’s been the highest-paid defensive player in football, winning was very important in this phase of his career…He’s well aware that when you can partner, be beside someone who is on the verge of being the highest-paid defensive player in football, then that’s a really good thing. I guess you’d say two is better than one.”