Three years after their loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII, the Rams are headed back for another opportunity. Their roster has undergone some sizable changes since that game, and credit must go to their front office for making the necessary adjustments to overcome stagnancy and rejuvenate the roster enough to get them back to this point. Below we will break down the biggest moves Los Angeles has made since that point and how they have impacted the team and helped lead them to this point.
- Drafting Nick Scott (7th round, 2019) – Has played a huge role in their playoff run including an interception of Tom Brady in the Divisional Round
- Signing Matt Gay (2020) – 2nd in the NFL in FG% this season
5. Trading for Von Miller at the Deadline (and dealing Kenny Young to free up the cap space for it)
Trading Kenny Young at the deadline was an unusual move, as giving up a key defensive contributor to cut cap space is uncommon for a contender. The Rams’ defense easily could’ve suffered as a result, but the addition of Von Miller has been a key one.
With increased contributions from Troy Reeder and Ernest Jones combined with Travin Howard coming on strong in the playoffs that have helped to solidify the linebacker position, Los Angeles has overcome this potentially risky move to improve defensively. We have already discussed Von’s incredible impact on the defense since arriving in two different articles, so for more there, check them out.
4. Austin Corbett Trade (2019)
It is very rare to be able to get a former second round pick in a trade just one year after they were drafted, and for only a 5th round pick, but that is what Los Angeles did in acquiring Corbett. Corbett has been an integral part of the Rams since arriving, playing roughly 3,000 snaps, the most on the offense in that time. He has become a full-time RG over the last two seasons after playing C and LG in 2019 and has been a solid starter for them at the position after being acquired on the cheap. This is the sort of shrewd decision-making and low-cost acquisition that a contending team needs to make to improve while operating up against the cap and with limited draft capital.
3. Odell Beckham Jr. Signing
Odell’s 19 receptions for 236 yards on just 22 targets in the playoffs is the extremely efficient output that Los Angeles has needed from him, and exactly why they acquired him. Cooper Kupp is the WR1 and the primary target but Odell’s ability to beat single coverage when he faces it has made the Rams’ offense more balanced and given Matthew Stafford more options. The mystery of why it couldn’t work out for Odell in Cleveland isn’t going away any time soon as long as he keeps producing like this, but Cleveland’s loss has been Los Angeles’ gain and OBJ should be expected to have a key role in the Super Bowl.
2. Matthew Stafford Trade
Stafford helped the Rams to an NFC Championship win against the 49ers one year to the day after this trade, and this could easily end up at the top of this list by the end of the season. After all, this was a move made with one ultimate purpose: Win the Super Bowl immediately.
They are now one game away from accomplishing that purpose. Stafford hasn’t been perfect: he’s made mistakes, including an interception into the end zone in the NFC Championship Game and another pass that should’ve been intercepted but was dropped. Throughout the season, the consensus on Stafford has varied from good to bad, but the discourse immediately after the trade is what seems most prevalent right now: Stafford’s addition raised the Rams’ ceiling.
Stafford is an incredibly gifted and talented QB, and at his best he can lift up a team. He has been at his best for large stretches of this playoff run, though not every moment, and the Rams will need that from him in two weeks to win the game. You can argue that Stafford has already validated the Rams’ decision to move on from Goff and move to him but winning the Super Bowl would truly solidify that and make this their top trade.
1. Jalen Ramsey Trade (2019)
Acquiring Ramsey was an aggressive and risky move by the Rams considering they were giving up two first rounders and a fourth rounder for a CB. It certainly seems to have paid off.
Moving on from Marcus Peters (and getting Kenny Young, who has already been discussed) seemed to be a corresponding move. This was certainly an upgrade, though at a cost. Those draft picks have since been used and are: K’Lavon Chaisson, Travis Etienne, and Jordan Smith. While these three are still young and can go on to be impactful players, Ramsey has continued to be among the very best at his position and a true lockdown corner, so Los Angeles should absolutely have no regrets in acquiring him.
This Super Bowl matchup against the Bengals will see Ramsey play a key role, whether that is shadowing Ja’Marr Chase and following him around the field, covering Chase and Tee Higgins intermittently, or anything else they choose to do with him. As one of the best cornerbacks in the league, expect Ramsey to be up to the task and prove how valuable an acquisition he continues to be.