NFL Draft event gives Inglewood a taste of Rams and Chargers

Members representing the Ventura County Fire Department call one of the Los Angeles Rams picks in the 2018 NFL Draft on Saturday, April 28, 2018. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman for News4usonline

INGLEWOOD, CA-Rams. Chargers. The fight for L.A. is getting closer to reality. Well, heck, it’s already here. Football fever is beginning to grip Inglewood. What used to be a place where a day at the races meant enjoying thoroughbred horse racing will soon become a day at the stadium for some football.

That day has come sooner than later. The Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers collaborated to host announcing their NFL Draft picks in rounds 4 through 7 at the teams future home-the Los Angeles Stadium & Entertainment District at Hollywood Park.

It was quite the haul in the later rounds of the draft for the Rams, a team already rich in talent. The Rams drafted offensive lineman Brian Allen, defensive end John Franklin, linebacker Micah Kiser, outside linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, running back John Kelly, offensive lineman Jamil Denby, defensive lineman Sebastian Joseph, linebacker Trevon Young, linebacker Travin Howard, and defensive lineman Justin Lawler.

Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts with a couple of Los Angeles Rams fans on Saturday, April 28, 2018. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman for News4usonline

Like the Chargers, the Rams staked out and drafted more players on the defensive side of the ball. The Chargers first four picks in this year’s NFL Draft are all defensive guys.

“When you look at it, any time that you’re able to acquire people that can make plays with the ball in their hands, that’s always something that’s exciting,” Rams head coach Sean McVay said.

The Rams should be excited. They have enough talent to make a deep run in the postseason. By adding draft picks, the Rams are securing their depth chart before training camp happens. The Chargers are doing the same thing. Their fans are loving it and soaking it all in. The build-up to having two NFL franchises occupying space in the city, as well as the possibility of landing the Los Angeles Clippers, has some in the community feeling good.

“It was a good moment,” 10-year-old Ahmeer White said about being part of the Rams and Chargers draft event.

Los Angeles Chargers first round draft pick Derwin James signs a shirt from an admiring fan. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman for News4usonline

The joint venture between the two ballclubs signals another step for the city of Inglewood in realizing the fruition of hosting two NFL teams. Both the Rams and Chargers used a variety of individuals to call their draft picks on Saturday, April 28.

The Rams got members from the Ventura County Fire Department, Inglewood Police Department, Inglewood Unified School District, and the Laced Facts Academy, among others, to announce their draft picks. The Rams kicked the morning off with Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts announcing the team’s fourth-round (111th pick overall).

“This event, this naming of a draft pick represents where Inglewood has risen to in the stature of municipalities in this country,” Butts said.

Butts credits the Rams in helping to facilitate this partnership with the Chargers to bring the event to Inglewood.

Left to Right: Inglewood Police Department Senior Community Affairs Liaison Cinder Eller Kimbell, Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts and Los Angeles Chargers first round draft pick Derwin James (far right) attend the NFL Draft event at the Los Angeles Stadium & Entertainment District at Hollywood Park on Saturday, April 28, 2018. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman for News4usonline

“I give all the credits to the Rams,” said Butts. “They showed great respect for the city for the things we have done to make this a reality. That’s just respect, and that is what the city of Inglewood is receiving-respect. “

When it came to making that announcement of that fourth-round draft pick on live television, Butts, who was joined at the event by Inglewood City Councilmembers Ralph Franklin, George Dotson, Alex Padilla, and Eloy Morales Jr., called it one of the greatest highlights of his life in public service.

“It was an experience like few others that I’ve had in my municipal career,” Butts said. “I’ve been in public service for 46 years, and I have to say this one of the pinnacles.”

Cinder Eller Kimbell knows what it is like to reach the pinnacle when it comes to enjoying the fruits of the National Football League. After all, her father, Carl Eller, played 16 seasons on his way to the NFL Fame as one of the prized members of the Purple People Eaters as a defensive end for the Minnesota Vikings.

Eller Kimbell, who works for the Inglewood Police Department as a senior community affairs liaison, was tabbed to make the announcement for the Rams’ sixth-round draft pick (194th overall).

“I’m honored the Rams saw fit to even ask me to be a presenter,” said Eller Kimbell. “I am from Inglewood. I was raised here. I went to all the schools here, from elementary to junior high to high school. Now I work for the Inglewood Police Department. I’ve been there for almost 24 years come January 9. It’s an honor I am Inglewood. I love this city. I want to see it grow, and it’s growing thanks to the mayor and city council. A lot of has changed. I’ve been here when it started a different way. It went down. Now we’re up, and I’m appreciated. I’m excited about this.”

Dennis J. Freeman
About Dennis J. Freeman 1271 Articles
Dennis is a news and sports photojournalist. Dennis has covered and written on issues such as civil rights, education, politics, and social justice. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Daily Breeze, Daily Press, Los Angeles Wave, Los Angeles Sentinel, and other media outlets. Dennis is currently the editor and publisher of News4usonline. He covers the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball, and NCAA. Dennis is an alum and graduate of Howard University.