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Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay wasn't laughing at the New England Patriots' first-round draft pick. He was ... uh ... laughing with them? McVay attempted to clarify a clip in which he audibly chuckled upon hearing the Patriots took guard Cole Strange in the first round Thursday.
McVay and Rams general manager Les Snead were in the middle of a press conference when the Patriots' pick was made. Both men were captured on video reacting to the pick. McVay seemed surprised by the pick, saying, "We wasted our time watching him thinking he'd be at 104, maybe." He then laughed out loud.
The clip made it sound like McVay wasn't a big fan of the Strange pick. It also appeared as though McVay was taking a shot at Patriots coach Bill Belichick for reaching with the selection.
McVay said Friday that wasn't the case. In fact, McVay said he meant the exact opposite with his comment, per Pro Football Talk.
“I wish that it wouldn’t have gotten misunderstood,” McVay said. “It was more of a reflection of, I was actually giving Les some, you know, a hard time because when we started watching him, I think we both were in agreement, there’s no way he’d be there because we like the player so much. If there’s anybody that has more respect for Coach Belichick, what he’s done than I do, I’d like to see him, because I have tremendous respect for this profession, for the players that play at this level, and I would never want it to get misunderstood for Cole Strange or the Patriots organization that anything but respect for the player. That was my reaction and any misunderstanding was my fault for the way that I probably communicated that.”
McVay claimed he was laughing at the fact that he and Snead liked Strange, but knew it would be tough to get him when their first pick came up. The Rams' earliest pick was No. 104 overall, at the end of Round 3. The Rams did take an offensive lineman with that selection, picking Logan Bruss out of Wisconsin.
Was Sean McVay really laughing at the Patriots' draft pick?
We'll never truly know what McVay intended with his comment and laugh. His reasoning does hold up, though. It's plausible the Rams liked Strange and felt he could last until the 104th pick. Upon seeing Strange go that early, McVay perhaps felt he was beat to the punch by Belichick. Alternatively, Belichick's selection may have confirmed to McVay and Snead that their evaluation of Strange was correct. Maybe McVay laughed as a way of saying, "Well, we were right about the player, but there's nothing we can do about it now."
Or maybe McVay thought it was a major overdraft and Belichick made a huge mistake. You can read the clip many different ways and still never discover McVay's true intentions.