He is Back: Los Angles Rams are pleased to announce is arrival following…


The first-round pick from Florida State was told to talk to the Rams’ second-round pick.

“I’m like, ‘Oh, who is it?’” Verse said with a grin. “Fiske? No way!”

“How’s it going, J?” replied a teary-eyed Braden Fiske, Verse’s teammate last season on the Seminoles’ defensive front.

The Rams traded a second-round pick in 2025 to move up Friday for the chance to reunite two dynamic defensive players who forged a deep friendship and strong chemistry during one season together in Tallahassee.

“That was the last thing I was expecting,” Fiske said. “I swear we were just talking about that. What if me and Jared went to the same team? And sure enough, it happened. I just can’t believe it happened.”

General manager Les Snead is hoping Verse and Fiske form the future bedrock of a defense moving on from Aaron Donald’s retirement with a young, new core.

“It was a very emotional moment,” Snead said of the phone call between once-and-future teammates. “That was very cool. One of the cooler draft moments of my however many years.”

After seven consecutive years as a first-round spectator, the Rams used this draft to build their future with top-end prospects. Los Angeles made two top-40 picks for the first time since 2014, and it made four top-100 picks for only the second time since 2015.

Although drafting teammates was a fortuitous development, the Rams’ main motivation clearly was filling the most glaring gaps in coach Sean McVay’s roster with those first two choices.

Los Angeles finished 23rd in the NFL in sacks last season, betraying an obvious need for an elite edge rusher to pair with Byron Young. Donald’s departure left Los Angeles with a serious dearth of interior defensive linemen to play alongside promising nose tackle Kobie Turner.

The Rams checked both of those boxes immediately in the draft, leaving them room to take the most appealing players with the rest of their picks.

Los Angeles used five of its first six picks on defensive players, bolstering a unit that probably overachieved relative to its talent level by finishing 19th in the league. After Verse and Fiske, the Rams landed Miami safety Kamren Kinchens, a former first-team All-American, in the third round. They added edge rusher Brennan Jackson from Washington State in the fifth round and grabbed Clemson defensive lineman Tyler Davis in the sixth Saturday.

Whether through coincidence or design, the Rams emphasized experience in the draft.

Five of Los Angeles’ first six picks were born in the year 2000 and played several seasons of college football. Verse and Fiske both started their college careers at smaller schools before transferring to Florida State.

“They’re mature men, and that’s the kind of guys that we wanted to bring in,” McVay said.

The Rams used their third-round pick on Michigan’s Blake Corum in yet another instance of Snead and McVay being unafraid to pick a skill-position player at a curiously high point in the draft. Los Angeles has chosen four running backs within the first five rounds of the past six drafts.

Corum was a college superstar for the national champion Wolverines, and he’ll have a strong chance to join breakout star Kyren Williams as a backup or in a tandem. Corum trained for the draft combine in Miami at the same facility where Williams, the NFL’s No. 2 rusher last season, was working out for the winter.

“He’s a great running back,” Corum said of Williams. “I know he’s going to help me get better. I’m going to push him to be the best version of himself. It’s going to be a great tandem, a great duo.”

After their two kickers combined to miss 11 field goals and five extra points last season, the Rams used a sixth-round pick on Stanford kicker Joshua Karty, arguably the top kicking prospect in the draft.

The Rams confirmed an NFL Network report that quarterback Matthew Stafford is seeking more guaranteed money in his contract, which runs through 2026.

“We’re going to try to figure it out,” McVay said of the Rams’ dialogue with Stafford and his agent.

The 36-year-old Stafford took less total money than he likely could have made on the open market when he agreed to his most recent four-year contract extension, but the 15-year veteran now wants some cash guaranteed beyond this season.

McVay said Stafford has been working with the Rams in organized team activities, but couldn’t definitively say whether Stafford will participate in the rest of the offseason program. Both the Rams and Stafford have shown no public interest in moving on from each other after Stafford’s impressive bounce-back season in 2023.

“There’s nothing that’s more important than making sure that he feels appreciated and he knows how much we love him and want him to lead the way,” McVay said. “That commitment that I think he wants to have can be reciprocated, and we want to work towards figuring that out.”

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