Los Angeles Times

Draft day is end and beginning for Rams’ scouts

Year-round workload includes college camps, All-Star games and lots of doughnuts.

- By Gary Klein

The results from a year of scouting and research will start to pay dividends when the NFL draft begins Thursday in Nashville with firstround selections.

The Rams hold the No. 31 pick, and six picks in Rounds 3 to 7 Friday and Saturday.

Depending on the players available when their turn comes up, the Rams might make a first-round selection for the first time since 2016, or they might make a trade to move back in the draft and acquire more picks.

Whatever they do, they will be armed with data about every player available, the culminatio­n of work built on the foundation of informatio­n gleaned from area scouts.

The yearlong scouting calendar, which already has turned to the 2020 class, has a number of mini-seasons.

This is how the Rams got here.

Summer

Summer for most people begins in June, but for Rams scouts April and May qualify. Last year at this time — before the 2018 draft — they already were looking ahead to the 2019 class. That meant making sure rosters and players’ jersey numbers were up to date for tape study.

Area scouts congregate in Thousand Oaks for predraft meetings, but they already are studying tape.

“If you take your time and watch and don’t be in a hurry

Jared Goff, the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft, has helped lead the Rams to consecutiv­e NFC West titles and a Super Bowl, so it was no surprise when the team announced Tuesday it had exercised a fifth-year contract option for the quarterbac­k.

He is scheduled to carry a salary-cap number of $8.9 million this season, and will earn about $22 million in 2020 if he and the Rams do not agree to an extension before then.

The Rams have extended players after three seasons, including running back Todd Gurley last year, but extensions for NFL quarterbac­ks are typically done after their fourth season.

The quarterbac­k market has been escalating dramatical­ly the last few years with players such as Derek Carr, Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan, Kirk Cousins, Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson signing huge contracts.

“It seems like it’s kind of like buying a house in Los Angeles,” said Kevin Demoff, the Rams’ chief operating officer.

“You tell yourself that it’s way too expensive and you don’t ever buy it, and then you look in the same neighborho­od a year later and the number you thought you would never pay seems like a good deal and you wish you had done it.”

Rodgers, Wilson and Ryan are among those who eventually will have salary-cap numbers of more than $30 million.

Etc.

The Rams announced the dates for their preseason games: at Oakland, Aug. 10, 5 p.m. PDT; in Honolulu vs. Dallas, Aug. 17, 4 p.m.; vs. Denver, Aug. 24, 6 p.m.; and at Houston, Aug. 29, 5 p.m.

 ?? Carolyn Kaster Associated Press ?? JARED GOFF is scheduled to carry an $8.9million salary-cap number this season.
Carolyn Kaster Associated Press JARED GOFF is scheduled to carry an $8.9million salary-cap number this season.

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