(East Los Angeles, CA) [From The Editor’s Desk]: We start this very important story with the 2023 much-watched NFL Draft and the results of the Rams selections up to this point, on Day 2. With the Draft’s 36th pick in the 2nd Round…. the Los Angeles Rams select….Señor Esteban (aka) “Steve” Avila, 6-3, 332 lbs., Offensive Lineman (Guard) from Texas Christian University (TCU).
As every NFL fan knows, this is the annual time of the year where hopes spring eternal for all Team Owners and their Coaching Staffs to open their “War Rooms” and conduct their draft to its fullest extent possible. It has always revolved around the claiming of a very hopeful young football player who is eligible for the draft, and has made himself available to take the next gigantic step in his playing career as professional, once his name has been called out on national TV for the millions of fans/viewers it always attracts.
The Draft is now underway and on Day #2, 4/28, during the Rams 2nd and 3rd picks. In Round 3, the Rams chose at #77, Byron Young, Defensive End, Tennessee) and #89, Defensive Tackle, Kobie Turner (Wake Forest). Read this transcript for exciting news regarding the discussions, reactions, thoughts, and new courses of action that will be plotted by Rams General Manager, Les Snead and Head Coach, Sean McVay until the draft concludes with Rounds 4 through 7 on Saturday, 4/29.
We have it all for you right here verbatim from Day #2, in the General Manager’s and Head Coach’s second news-making transcripts, issued by the Rams Communications Team.
Los Angeles Rams Transcripts – General Manager Les Snead, & Head Coach Sean McVay – Friday, 4/28/23
(On if the intention today was to focus on the lines of scrimmage or if that’s just how it played out)
[Snead]: “That’s probably how the board played out, but there was definitely an intent that oh yeah, by the way, we could definitely take offensive line, interior D-line, outside linebacker-type help, but we let the board kind of dictate when we took, when we traded back, things like that.”
(On how the draft picks today embody being smart, tough, and competitive)
[Snead]: You know what’s really cool? We’ve always tried to embody it, but it is interesting. We sat down and had a conversation with (DL) Aaron Donald earlier and we were talking about, ‘Hey, this is kind of the blueprint. We might have to play with some younger players, less experienced players on defense per se,’ and you know what was awesome? He looked you in the eye and said, ‘Here’s the deal…I’m good, just make sure they care.’ That’s always resonated with me, but I think we’ve always tried to do that. At the end of the day, if you want a simple algorithm of people you can bet on, probably in life, and on the football field, or people who actually are passionate about doing what they do and then working to try to go be good or great, carve out a roll. The neat thing about (G Steve) ‘Big Steve’ (Avila) at TCU was coaching change. That’s always tough when you’re a senior. Regime change comes in…they actually bring their center from SMU with him over to TCU, move him to guard. You know what he did? ‘I’ll do it. I’ll still be your leader.’ And you saw how he evolved through the season playing guard for the first time and then taking it all the way to the Senior Bowl and thriving there. That’s adversity. He could have transferred. There’s portals and all this stuff. He stayed, worked out for him. The neat thing about Mr. (OLB Byron) Young is, heck, I think y’all probably heard the story. I mean, the guy was working at Dollar General to make a go, but he loved football and he found a way to walk on at a military school in Georgia and here we are drafting. So you just got to give those guys, even though mom and dad and God gave him some juice in that body, but just that type of stuff. And I think (IDL) Kobie (Turner) is one of those guys too that said, ‘You know what, I did a lot at Richmond. I’m going to try to make it at a next level,’ and went there and he’s just one of those guys that when you watch him play, there’s no play off. I think that’d be my description. Those are guys you like to watch play. You turn on the tape, these guys are having fun. I’m actually having fun watching them.”
(On why adding picks in between what they already had was so important to them)
[Snead]: “Oh man, where’s (Rams Analyst) Jake Temme at? Did y’all talk to Jake tonight? Jake has called that third round to fifth round, we nicknamed it the ‘black hole.’ You know what I mean? And it was like, ‘Man, how do we fill a void in the black hole?’ There were a couple times, even later in draft we could have traded back but we decided to stay put and we at least found this one spot between third and fifth round. That was important. We talked about it and had an opportunity to trade back at each pick and what was interesting is that we probably stayed put at probably two picks? I’m not sure, seems like we traded a lot there in the third.”
(On if they are in the market to get a quarterback on day three of the draft)
[McVay]: “We’re actually thinking we’re going to be the first team ever to carry one quarterback the whole year and that’s it (laughs). No specialists on the roster right now, it’s interesting.”
[Snead]: “We’re not going to punt. I don’t know who’s kicking off, it’s going to be cool. It’ll be fun to watch.”
(On if the plan for a quarterback going into the Draft was ‘let’s see what happens on Day 3’)
[Snead]: “There’s a lot of rumors about (Head Coach) Sean (McVay) and a QB this morning. I won’t go there.
[McVay]: “I would say this, when you have nine picks tomorrow, there’s still a lot of things that we can do and real credit to (General Manager) Les (Snead) and his group to be able to work in collaboration with the coaches. These are three players that we feel like address things that we wanted to be able to address, but more importantly, these are great football players that all have been through stuff that I think when you talk about, like you asked about, being smart, tough, competitive, that’s exactly what we’re looking for. And people like that have been through something, come out on the right side of it, you’re going to have the chance for those people to reach their highest potential. And they love football, it’s important to them but they have the appropriate perspective. And I think that’s exactly what we’re looking for. You could hear the emotion in all three of those guys voices when he spoke with them and there was a collective buy-in. I think when you look at it, there’s a lot of great football players that were drafted over the last two days. There’s going to be a lot of great football players that are drafted tomorrow and a lot of great football players that are signed as (compensatory free agents) CFAs. But I can’t say enough about just the collaboration in terms of our group’s ability to be able to work in unison, find and identify those guys, and then we can’t wait to get to work with them and start to be able to develop them. I think we’re going to be sitting here tomorrow with nine guys that we’re really jacked up about as well because of the amount of work that’s gone into it from Les and his group. I’m just so impressed with the depth of knowledge that they have, in addition to the coaches are looking at it, watching the film, and then getting to know them a little bit. But the amount of work that’s been done, you can really feel it and that gives you confidence that you are able to identify the right guys and those are positions that we’re not naïve that need to be addressed. How we do that, whether that’s through draft picks or signing them post-draft is something that I think will naturally unfold. And a lot of those decisions are made as well along the process.”
(On how they discussed what to do with the 36th overall draft pick)
[McVay]: “You talk about it and there’s a lot of things that go on behind the scenes, but without getting into specifics, there were certain guys that we had discussed that would definitely merit that. Now how it unfolds and whether you can do that or not. I mean we looked into that stuff. That’s one of those things that I’ve always appreciated about (Les) and just in general, like if we feel like there’s players that are identified that provide significant upgrades and without being reckless, if it fit. There were calls. There was a lot of dialogue made really throughout the majority of the night and really excited about the way that it’s unfolded with these three guys and that’s all we can worry about. But there was definitely some interesting conversations and some possibilities, but it didn’t come to fruition.”
[Snead]: “Yeah, what was interesting no team really moved out of the first to the second. And I know there was probably a few other teams that were trying to get there, but for whatever reason this year. Usually it happens once or twice there in the late part of the first round. It didn’t happen there for whatever reason this year.”
(On if there’s a certain position on offense they plan to start OL Steve Avila or if they plan on waiting to see where he fits in on the offensive line)
[McVay]: “Well I think you always want to be able to cross train guys. He’s got really great position flex. I think what Les said is you’re talking about a guy that played center at a high level and then transitioned to guard. And you watch the caliber of players that they were going against in the College Football Playoffs where you’re seeing two interior players that he’s consistently going against that were drafted on night one and then the Senior Bowl to me where you really see a lot of those things and you’re going against really high-caliber players, that was fun to be able to watch. And you do another deep dive and you really dive into those guys that Les and his group had identified this morning and you have the time to kind of be able to make sure that you get your ducks in a row. And he’s a guy that I think can play guard or center. We’ve got some competitive spots and we want to be able to create competition on this roster and we’ve got guys that have played a lot of football. But I do think that competition brings out the best in players. Everything is going to be earned. Nothing is going to be given. And I think that’s going to be a consistent narrative and theme that you’ll see that’ll give us the best chance to be the best team we can be. Steve will play guard and center, but we’ll see how that unfolds. But (we) want to be able to have enough guys that can snap the football, but I think he can play any of those interior spots.”
(On the excitement after picking OL Steve Avila in the third round)
[Snead]: “I think it was a little bit of what you alluded to earlier, is hey, if there’s a chance to address the offensive line, especially the interior or really any of the spots, let’s go for it, and we spent a lot of time evaluating these players, researching them. So I think at the end of the day what it came down to was a lot of collective work between scouts and coaches. You get into the versatility, a guy that can definitely play three spots, left (guard), center, right guard, those type (of) things. (At the) end of the day, like Sean (McVay) said, ‘Turn on the College Football Playoff and he plays against two first rounders back-to-back and then goes to the Senior Bowl and plays against guys that definitely got drafted over the last couple of days, and you get to really see him evolve and improve and go, ‘Wow’. And then the Senior Bowl’s a little bit neat because offenses are different. It’s a little more pro-style offense and you can kind of really get a vision of how he can fit in. But long answer, he gets in the way and he stays in the way.”
(On OLB Kobie Turner and how he compared composing music to pass rushing and if targeting creative players helps the defense)
[Snead]: “Well, that’s a deep one. I can say this, we drafted Kobie really because of what he did right on the grass on Saturday afternoons at Wake Forest. It was cool. Sean probably didn’t know this, but I know it was cool when our Area Scout Mike Pierce was talking about that special gift off the field that he has. Now what’s interesting is him articulating to you all, wait a minute some of that plays into his success, so that’s pretty neat. But we didn’t draft him because he could sing.”
[McVay]: “I think to even make the parallel shows you that this guy’s thinking about it and what are the different ways. And I do think a part of that balance is probably helpful for him to be able to say, ‘Alright, how can me being a composer in music help me be a better football player?’ I think some of the coolest things that happen on a sports field are when they go off-schedule. There’s a creativity that I think the greats bring to life. There’s a structure that you try to have from a coach’s perspective, but some of the most fun are when things, hey, these guys just make it right, or when a play breaks down. You think about (Chiefs QB) Patrick Mahomes when he’s breaking contain, or when (QB) Matthew Stafford is buying time in the pocket or breaking contain, or you think about (DT) Aaron Donald when things go off-schedule, they’re not planning on him splitting a double team. So those second reaction movements and that ability to be able to say, ‘Alright, if this guy is thinking I’m going to come with my primary move, what are the counters off of it and how can I use that to my advantage where you’re playing the game within the game?’ I don’t know anything about music, but I like what he’s saying I would think.”
(On if he expects OG Logan Bruss to be ready and healthy for Training Camp)
[McVay]: “He’s good. He’s ready to go. He’s done a great job with (Vice President of Sports Medicine and Performance) Reggie (Scott) and his group attacking his rehab. You always want to monitor guys, but we start phase two next week and physically he looks good. I think he did a great job. You just see a guy coming in as a rookie and what you can do… just physically how his body looks and he’s got a good look in his eye and so don’t anticipate any limitations for him moving forward.” ###