Earlier this week I gave you my thoughts on the Arizona Cardinals’ draft. Next up are the St. Louis Rams.
There was a whole lot of trading down on their part in the early going, and it ultimately resulted in a lot -- and I mean a lot -- of high draft picks. Five picks in the first three rounds and ten in total. Sure, they could have had Robert Griffin, but they chose the depth route instead. Quantity beat out quality this year for the Rams, and that will pay off greatly in the next two as well as they have another two firsts courtesy of Washington.
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Now that this season is done, let’s look at how they did in this one.
1st Round, 14th Overall, DT Michael Brockers: Many considered him to be a reach with the 14th overall pick, but once the Jags swept in and took Justin Blackmon and Floyd was off the board, the Rams had to improvise. It was a high risk pick, but did it ever pay off. He made his career in college ball by shutting down the run with his impressive combination of speed and size and only registered two sacks in his entire college career. In his first year as a Ram he helped with the run defense and doubled his college sack with four on the year. This fella has a great future on what is shaping up to be one of the league’s youngest, and most feared defensive lines. Solid Pick.
Final Grade: B+
2nd Round, 33rd Overall, WR Brian Quick: After losing out on Michael Floyd and Justin Blackmon, the Rams still felt the need to address their lack luster receiving corps. Unfortunately, Brian Quick really wasn’t the answer. At the very least not this season. He struggled to get any playing time and put up a very modest 156 yards on 11 catches, he also had 2 touchdowns. He apparently had difficulty with the size of the playbook this year, and could rebound with a better knowledge of it next season. Hopefully.
Final Grade: D
2nd Round, 39th Overall, CB Janoris Jenkins: Talk about a high risk high reward pick. Everyone knew he was every bit as talented as the first corner taken in the draft (Morris Claiborne) but serious “character issues” made his draft stock plunge. He had a great first year with the Rams as both a punt returner, and a starting corner. He posted 73 tackles and 4 interceptions. He also blocked a kick, and had four touchdowns over the course of the year. If they can keep this kid out of trouble, he will continue to become the steal of the second round.
Final Grade: A
2nd Round, 50th Overall, RB Isaiah Pead: Most likely picked to supplant Steven Jackson as the starter, he could barely get time as a depth guy and slipped to third on the depth chart. He was considered a bad pick at the time, and did nothing to prove anyone wrong on that front. He had 54 yards on 10 attempts. Can only hope he picks things up next season, because with Jackson likely on his way out they’ll need the production out of him.
Final Grade: C-
3rd Round, 65th Overall, CB Trumaine Johnson: A great pick at 65th overall, he quietly had a great year behind Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins. He was moved around quite a bit this season. He would occasionally sub in for a few plays when Finnegan was struggling with injuries, and also play in some nickel packages. He played well when called upon, and proved he has the potential to eventually be a starter in this league.
Final Grade: B
4th Round, 96th Overall, WR Chris Givens: Talk about a steal. Expected to be used occasionally in receiver heavy sets, as a deep threat, but never to become their second best option. At least not in his first year. With Amendola struggling with injury for large chunks of the season, and Brian Quick a virtual no show Givens’ took the opportunity to become a starter and ran with it. Literally, the kids got wheels. He even set a record with 5 straight games with a reception of 50 yards or more. Not too shabby.
Final Grade: A
5th Round, 150th Overall, OG Rokevious Watkins: Hard to evaluate the massive linemen. Was placed on injured reserve before week 3. He was always considered a project player, who would take a long time to develop so losing him to IR in only his first season doesn’t help.
Final Grade: D
6th Round, 171st Overall, K Greg Zuerlein: The affable kicker was a bit of a surprise as a 6th rounder, but worked out quite well for the Rams. In only his first year in the league he even acquired two nicknames. Young Geezy, and Legatron. Anyways... He had a great first half, but was inconsistent down the stretch. Hopefully finds similar success over the course of an entire season next year.
Final Grade: B
7th Round, 209th Overall, LB Aaron Brown: Signed, released, signed to practice squad, eventually released again. They had to address their needs at linebacker but this seventh rounder really didn’t help.
Final Grade: F
7th Round, 252nd Overall, RB Daryl Richardson: Many didn’t even think he would make the cut, and at best thought of him as a depth guy; maybe useful on special teams. Then he went on to beat out Isaiah Pead for the backup running back gig, and force him onto special teams. He even started a few games this year, and looked great in all of them. Now it seems more realistic that he takes over for Steven Jackson, instead of Pead. Didn’t see that coming. Talk about value with your 7th round pick.
Final Grade: A
Lots to report on with regards to last year’s draft, and that’s a good thing. Believe me. What they did with their second overall pick in turning it into two extra seconds will definitely pay off, and Bradford played well enough to make passing up on Griffin justifiable. Bright future for this club to be sure, and all these young pieces certainly help. Especially in this extremely competitive NFC West.
You can follow J.D. Burke: @JDBurkeOV