Although their recent first-round picks have been decent and at least productive (Steven Jackson, Alex Barron, Tye Hill, Adam Carriker), the busts far outweigh the booms.
Dominique Byrd, Tony Hargrove, Claude Wroten, and Jon Alston are all third-round picks who didn’t at all contribute to the franchise.
Jimmy Kennedy, Robert Thomas, Ryan Pickett, and Damoine Lewis were head of the list of first-rounders who didn’t pan out. Only Adam Carriker and Clifton Ryan had a real impact on the team from last year’s class.
But this year, the Rams had a chance to make amends. The question is, would they? I’ll break down every pick that occurred over the weekend regarding the Rams, and grade them based on my immediate impressions.
First Round: DE Chris Long, Virginia (Pick Two in Round, Two Overall)
Breakdown: I really like this pick. Long brings versatility and energy to the edge-rush to a team that had neither last season.
He can also play numerous positions in the 3-4, which the Rams toyed with off and on last year. He has great size at 6'4" and 284 pounds. His speed clocks at a 4.74 40-yard dash and the pedigree can only help.
Worst case scenario, he’s Grant Wistrom. Best case scenario, he’s better than his dad. GRADE: A
Second Round: WR Donnie Avery, Houston (2, 33)
Breakdown: Jay Zygmunt, are you freaking serious? What the heck? The Rams chose Avery as the first OVERALL wide-receiver this year.
He came in as the 13th WR on Rivals.com draft board, and Mel Kiper had him rated as the “10th to 12th WR in this class.” This was beyond a reach for St. Louis.
If you wanted a small, fast player, why not DeSean Jackson, or Eddie Royal? And is Avery really better than Limas Sweed or James Hardy? I totally understand the WR pick right here, but why Avery, and why now?
Hopefully, I’ll be 100 percent wrong, and he’ll be the new Steve Smith.
But I doubt it. GRADE: D
Third Round: OG John Greco, Toledo (2, 65)
Breakdown: Greco has good size (6'5", 315 pounds) and versatility for playing right guard or tackle. Unlike Avery, this was a good grab for the Rams because this is where he was projected to go.
They achieved good value for a third round pick. Greco will add depth and talent to the Rams’ line for years to come. GRADE: B
Fourth Round: CB Justin King, Penn State (2, 101), WR Keenan Burton, Kentucky (29, 128)
Breakdown: This was a good round for St. Louis. They got great value for Justin King. King is an extremely talented corner with great speed and size at 6'0" and 186 pounds. Some projected King to go as early as the second round.
Although maturity and consistency have been issues, the Rams will benefit down the road from this pick. Burton is a value find in the fourth as well, actually ranking ahead of Avery on many draft boards. His size will compliment Avery’s speed. GRADE: A-
Fifth Round: OG Roy Schuening, Oregon State (22, 157)
Breakdown: Decent value here as well, but do the Rams really need more guards? Yes, the offensive line was terrible last season.
There was also an abundance of injuries. Regardless, Schuening is an experienced vet of the talented Pac-10 who has the chance to be a starter in this league in years to come. GRADE: B-
Sixth Round: NO PICKS IN SIXTH ROUND
Seventh Round: LB/S Chris Chamberlain, Tulsa (21, 228), OLB/S David Vobora, Idaho (45, 252)
Breakdown: With horrible depth at the linebacker position, Chamberlain could play there or push Todd Johnson and Jerome Carter for time at safety.
I don’t know much about this player. I know he’s the type of player that a club will bring into training camp with the hope that Chamberlain will show flashes of potential and earn his spot.
Although Vobora now owns the title as this year’s “Mr. Irrelevant,” some think he has a decent chance of making the team.
Mel Kiper had him going as high as the fifth round, and he posed fine numbers both in college and then in postseason workouts. GRADE: C+
So where does this year’s class stand in comparison to the Rams usual flops? Probably slightly above-average. Going against their normal trend of taking players they don’t need, management finally addressed the weaker positions on the roster (DE, LB, WR).
Continuing their trend of horrendous draft day decisions, however, they made a tremendous reach, taking Donnie Avery in the second round.
The earliest we might be able to accurately grade this class is in a few years. Still, Long, Avery, Burton, and King could see the field a lot as early as this season.
The Rams have always been known to give a young lineman a shot at playing time, which bodes well for Greco and Schuening.
A fairly typical Rams draft, but good move selecting need over potential, especially in the first round. OVERALL GRADE: B-
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