Re-Grading St. Louis Rams' Past 5 Drafts

Steven Gerwel@Steve_GerFeatured Columnist IVApril 20, 2014

Re-Grading St. Louis Rams' Past 5 Drafts

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    When it comes to previous drafts, St. Louis Rams fans are haunted with frightening memories of Tye Hill, Adam Carriker and a number of failed picks. 

    Fortunately, the team's luck has improved over the years, so articles such as this one are no longer something to fear. 

    Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead have been far from perfect on draft day, but the current regime has undoubtedly improved draft-day results. 

    And while former general manger Billy Devaney certainly has a poor reputation around St. Louis, he was also capable of a few solid draft picks. 

    As a result, the Rams are finally beginning to build a promising surplus of young talent capable of taking this team to the next level. 

    This article will grade the last five drafts. Each player will be given an individual grade, and the draft class will be given an overall grade based on the average. The scores for individual players will be determined by that player's production, draft position and whether or not he's still with the team. 

Class of 2009

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    Round 1, OT Jason Smith: F (50/100)

    Round 2, LB James Laurinaitis: A (92/100)

    Round 3, CB Bradley Fletcher: B (83/100)

    Round 4, DT Darrel Scott: D (68/100)

    Round 5, WR Brooks Foster: F (41/100)

    Round 6, QB Keith Null: C (70/100)

    Round 7, RB Chris Ogbonnaya: C (70/100) 

    Overall: D (68/100)

    The 2009 draft class is loaded with disappointments and underachievers, led by tackle Jason Smith, who is arguably the biggest draft bust in St. Louis Rams history. 

    Smith was drafted No. 2 overall and started just five games as a rookie. He started 15 games at right tackle in 2010 and appeared to be slowly improving, but injuries sidelined him for most of 2011. He was cut before the 2012 season. 

    James Laurinaitis saves this class from total failure. He is the captain of the defense and currently one of the more dependable players on the roster. 

    Bradley Fletcher was also a solid contributor when healthy, but he left for Philadelphia following the 2012 season. 

Class of 2010

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    Round 1, QB Sam Bradford: B (88/100)

    Round 2, OT Rodger Saffold: B (87/100)

    Round 3, CB Jerome Murphy: F (59/100)

    Round 4, WR Mardy Gilyard: F (59/100)

    Round 5, TE Michael Hoomanawanui: C (73/100)

    Round 5, DE Hall Davis: F (30/100)

    Round 6, TE Fendi Onobun: D (63/100)

    Round 6, DE Eugene Sims: A (90/100)

    Round 7, CB Marquis Johnson: C (70/100) 

    Round 7, DE George Selvie: B (89/100)

    Round 7, LB Josh Hull: A (91/100)

    Overall: C (73/100)

    This class features a lot of decent pickups, but no one spectacular. 

    Sam Bradford and Rodger Saffold are two key players on offense and are obviously the highlights from this class. Both players will play a major role on offense in the upcoming season. 

    Mike Hoomanawanui was solid as a receiver, but unfortunately, he was constantly injured and was undependable as a result.

    Eugene Sims is still a reliable member of the defensive end rotation. George Selvie is another late-round gem for the defensive line, but he was shockingly cut after one season.  

Class of 2011

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    Round 1, DE Robert Quinn: A (100/100)

    Round 2, TE Lance Kendricks: B (87/100)

    Round 3, WR Austin Pettis: B (85/100)

    Round 4, WR Greg Salas: D (69/100)

    Round 5, S Jermale Hines: F (55/100)

    Round 7, CB Mikail Baker: D (69/100)

    Round 7, LB Jabara Williams: B (86/100) 

    Round 7, S Jonathan Nelson: D (69/100)

    Overall: C (77/100)

    This is a top-heavy draft class. The first three players are still contributing, but the Rams failed to find a single contributor in the final four rounds. 

    Robert Quinn is a superstar and deserves a perfect score, while Lance Kendricks and Austin Pettis are both solid role players on offense. 

    Greg Salas showed some promise as a rookie, but he failed to impress in his second season and was cut. 

    Jabara Williams was a good find in the final round, much like Selvie from the previous year, but was was also cut too soon. 

Class of 2012

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    Round 1, DT Michael Brockers: A (96/100)

    Round 2, WR Brian Quick: D (68/100)

    Round 2, CB Janoris Jenkins: A (97/100)

    Round 2, RB Isaiah Pead: F (40/100) 

    Round 3, CB Trumaine Johnson: B (89/100)

    Round 4, WR Chris Givens: A (92/100) 

    Round 5, OL Rokevious Watkins: D (60/100) 

    Round 6, K Greg Zuerlein: A (100/100) 

    Round 7, LB Aaron Brown: D (69/100) 

    Round 7, RB Daryl Richardson: B (87/100) 

    Overall: B (80/100)

    This is Fisher and Snead's first draft class, and the improvements over the previous regime are clearly visible. 

    Michael Brockers is developing into one of the better 4-3 tackles in the league, and Janoris Jenkins is a key playmaker in the secondary. 

    Management really screwed up with Brian Quick and Isaiah Pead, but since Trumaine Johnson and Chris Givens are performing like legitimate second-round picks, it's a forgivable mishap. 

    Greg Zuerlein was a great find in Round 6 and is one of the best kickers in the league. And Daryl Richardson is decent depth at running back, at least for a seventh-round pick. 

    If not for the mistakes in Round 2, this draft would go down as a historic class. 

Class of 2013

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    Round 1, WR Tavon Austin: A (92/100)

    Round 1, LB Alec Ogletree: A (95/100)

    Round 3, S T.J. McDonald: A (92/100)

    Round 3, WR Stedman Bailey: B (84/100)

    Round 4: OL Barrett Jones: C (79/100)

    Round 5: CB Brandon McGee: C (79/100)

    Round 5: RB Zac Stacy: A (100/100)

    Overall: B (89/100)

    This draft class is the best of the last five years. Every player is still with the team, and many are contributing. 

    The two first rounders—Tavon Austin and Alec Ogletree—were instant starters. Both players are capable of making game-changing plays. 

    T.J. McDonald was a Day 1 starter as a rookie, and Stedman Bailey will see an increased role in 2014. 

    The real gem, however, is Zac Stacy. Stacy took over the starting job in Week 5 and produced like a Pro Bowl back on a consistent basis. 

    With only seven picks, the Rams managed to land four rookie starters, and two additional players who have a real shot at starting in 2014 (Barrett Jones, Bailey).

    Without a doubt, this is the best class the Rams have had in a long, long time.  

    Steven Gerwel is the longest-tenured Rams Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report and serves as the Rams' game-day correspondent. You can find more of Gerwel's work by visiting his writer profile or by following him on Twitter.