2011 NFL Draft: Ranking the Last 10 St. Louis Rams Drafts
Over the last 10 years the Rams have been like every other team in the league when it comes to the draft: they've drafted some real hits and they've drafted some real misses.
From the time they selected Damione Lewis in the first round of the 2001 NFL draft to the selection of Josh Hull in the seventh round of last year's draft, they've seen a large variety of impacts by all of their picks.
So how do these draft classes rank when stacked up against one another?
Let's break out a grading scale of "A" to "F" and find out.
10. 2006 NFL Draft
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Round 1 (16th Overall): Tye Hill, CB, Clemson
2 (46): Joe Klopfenstein, TE, Colorado
3 (68): Claude Wroten, DT, LSU
3 (77): Jon Alston, LB, Stanford
3 (93): Dominique Byrd, TE, USC
4 (113): Victor Adeyanju, DE, Indiana
5 (144): Marques Hagans, WR, Virginia
7 (221): Tim McGarigle, LB, Northwestern
7 (242): Mark Setterstrom, G, Minnesota
7 (243): Tony Palmer, G, Missouri
This could go down as the worst draft in the history of the NFL. Setterstrom is the only player drafted that is still with the team. Keep in mind this draft happened just four years ago. The fact that he is a seventh-round pick who is making it as an oft-injured guard as part of the biggest hole on the offensive line (right guard) is just saddening.
Hill was a bust who was traded for a seventh-round pick last year, Wroten couldn't stay out of trouble off the field, Klopfenstein never did much in the receiving or blocking game and Dominique Byrd amassed two whole catches in his career.
Adeyanju was probably the only person drafted who played up to his expectations: an average defensive end.
Yeah, it was painful looking at that list of draftees.
9. 2002 NFL Draft
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Round 1 (31st Overall): Robert Thomas, LB, UCLA
2 (64): Travis Fisher, CB, Central Florida
3 (84): Lamar Gordon, FB, North Dakota State
3 (95): Eric Crouch, WR, Nebraska
4 (130): Travis Scott, G, Arizona State
5 (167): Courtland Bullard, LB, Ohio State
6 (205): Steve Bellisari, QB, Ohio State
7 (243): Chris Massey, FB, Marshall
Lets play a fun game called "Name how many of these players are currently on an NFL roster." The answer? One. Seventh-round pick Chris Massey is currently the long snapper for the Rams.
I remember this draft well. We selected Robert Thomas, a guy who was born and raised in my hometown and attended the same high school as I would just a couple years later. Thomas however, never played up to his potential and barely made it through three seasons in St. Louis.
No one except Massey lasted more than four years with the Rams; some (such as former Heisman winner Crouch) never even played a game in horns.
All the Rams got out of this draft was a long snapper. While the position is vital, it doesn't make up for missing on every single other pick.
8. 2007 NFL Draft
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Round 1 (13th Overall): Adam Carriker, DT, Nebraska
2 (52): Brian Leonard, RB, Rutgers
3 (84): Jonathan Wade, CB, Tennessee
5 (139): Dustin Fry, C, Clemson
5 (154): Clifton Ryan, DT, Michigan State
6 (190): Ken Shackleford, OT, Georgia
7 (248): Keith Jackson Jr., DT, Arkansas
7 (249): Derek Stanley, WR, Wisconsin-Whitewater
For the second straight year the Rams blew another draft. Carriker struggled at his transition from DE to DT, and then missed the entire 2009 season with a significant shoulder injury. It turned out the best DT the Rams selected in this draft was fifth-round selection Clifton Ryan. Ryan is currently developing into a nice option at tackle for the Rams.
Leonard struggled as the backup running back. His famous "Leonard Leap" didn't work at the NFL level, and his speed wasn't good enough to be a scat back.
Wade developed into a nice nickel corner, but it appears that is all he'll ever be.
One pick after Carriker, Darrelle Revis was selected by the New York Jets. This was during a time when the Rams were in desperate need of a cornerback. Talk about a missed opportunity.
7. 2003 NFL Draft
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Round 1 (12th Overall): Jimmy Kennedy, DT, Penn State
2 (43): Pisa Tinoisamoa, LB, Hawaii
3 (74): Kevin Curtis, WR, Ohio State
4 (106): Shaun McDonald, WR, Arizona State
4 (107): DeJaun Groce, CB, Nebraska
5 (148): Dan Curley, TE, Eastern Washington
5 (170): Shane Walton, S, Notre Dame
5 (172): Kevin Garrett, CB, Southern Methodist
6 (184): Scott Tercero, G, Cal
7 (251): Scott Shanle, LB, Nebraska
7 (254): Richard Angulo, TE, Western New Mexico
The Rams really missed out in 2003. In a first round loaded with future Pro Bowlers, they selected Jimmy Kennedy in the hopes that he'd anchor the defensive line for years to come. Kennedy however, never really played up to his potential. After four years with the team he was traded for a sixth-round pick.
After the first round however, the Rams actually made a three solid selections. Tionisamoa turned out to be a superb linebacker and was frequently one of the team's leaders in tackles.
Kevin Curtis emerged as a very valuable slot receiver and was one of their biggest threats in the passing game, specifically in the playoffs.
Shaun McDonald didn't put up very impressive stats, but he was an adequate slot man who went on to find success with the Detroit Lions.
The Rams made good selections in Rounds 2-4, but everything else was a complete miss. The Jimmy Kennedy selection really dragged down this class.
6. 2001 NFL Draft
Round 1 (12th Overall): Damione Lewis, DT, Miami (FL)
1 (20): Adam Archuleta, SS, Arizona State
1 (29): Ryan Pickett, DT, Ohio State
2 (42): Tommy Polley, OLB, Florida State
3 (83): Brian Allen, OLB, Florida State
4 (116): Milton Wynn, WR, Washington State
4 (129): Brandon Manumaleuna, FB, Arizona
5 (145): Jerametrius Butler, CB, Kansas State
6 (197): Francis St. Paul, WR, Northern Arizona
Lewis was an average DT while with the Rams. Plagued by injuries, he struggled to stay on the field on a consistent basis and, after five seasons in horns, racked up a measly 10.5 sacks.
Archuleta became a fan favorite in his five years with the Rams, showing incredible ball-hawking skills and proving to be a solid tackler. After his contract ran up he bolted for the Redskins (why do all of our star safeties do that to us?!?) for the largest contract in league history for a safety.
Pickett was the healthy version of Damione Lewis. He didn't do anything spectacular, but he was an adequate force on the inside and even led all defensive linemen in tackles in the 2005 season. After his contract was up, he left and went to Green Bay where he recently won a Super Bowl ring.
Polley was an above-average linebacker all throughout his career, eventually being forced to retire all too soon with a shoulder injury.
Allen, Wynn and St. Paul never really caught on anywhere and all three are out of football.
Although Manumaleuna never really put up huge receiving stats as a tight end, he grew into a solid blocker during his time with the Rams. After five seasons with the Rams, he was traded to the Chargers for a fourth-round pick.
Butler gave the Rams a few years of average cornerback play and was ultimately released after a season-ending injury in 2007.
Looking back on it, this was actually a fairly solid draft for the Rams. No one selected was a star by any means, but most of them turned into significant role players.
5. 2005 NFL Draft
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Round 1 (19th Overall): Alex Barron, T, Florida State
2 (50): Ron Bartell, CB, Howard
3 (65): OJ Atogwe, S, Stanford
3 (81): Richie Incognito, C, Nebraska
4 (117): Jerome Carter, S, Florida State
4 (134): Claude Terrell, G, New Mexico
5 (144): Jerome Collins, TE, Notre Dam
6 (192): Dante Ridgeway, WR, Ball State
6 (210): Reggie Hodges, P, Ball State
7 (250): Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Harvard
7 (251): Madison Hedgecock, FB, North Carolina
The Rams flunked the first round again, selecting Alex Barron, a penalty-prone bust who was unwanted in St. Louis long before he was traded away last offseason.
In Rounds 2 and 3, the Rams struck gold. Ron Bartell has turned into a great cornerback for St. Louis, spending the last few seasons matched up against the opposing team's biggest receiving threat.
Third-round pick OJ Atogwe is currently considered to be on the best safeties in football and recently signed a giant contract with the Redskins after being the leader of the Rams defense for the last few seasons.
In a very unlikely turn, the Rams' two seventh-round picks, Fitzpatrick and Hedgecock, have blossomed into valuable NFL players. Fitzpatrick started a few games for the Rams in 2005 while Hedgecock was the starting fullback for three seasons in St. Louis.
This draft might have been an "A-minus" with a better first-round selection. Blame Barron and his endless amounts of drive-killing penalties.
4. 2008 NFL Draft
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Round 1 (Second Overall): Chris Long, DE, Virginia
2 (33): Donnie Avery, WR, Houston
3 (65): John Greco, T, Toledo
4 (101): Justin King, CB, Penn State
4 (128): Keenan Burton, WR, Kentucky
5 (157): Roy Schuening, OG, Oregon State
7 (228): Chris Chamberlain, LB, Tulsa
7 (252): David Vobora, LB, Idaho
This draft still has a lot of developing to do. Chris Long has emerged as a premier pass rusher and should be in a Pro Bowl very soon.
Donnie Avery has all the potential to be an above-average receiver in this league with a nice blend of speed and hands, but injuries have slowed his progress.
Greco and King have made spot starts and both have had their ups and downs. They appear to both be average players at best.
Chamberlain is a solid special teams player for the Rams and Vobora has started a few games at OLB.
The selection of what appears to be one of the best pass rushers in football has this draft looking great in the Rams' eyes. If Avery lives up to expectations, this could turn out to be one of the better drafts of the decade for the Rams.
3. 2004 NFL Draft
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Round 1 (24th Overall): Steven Jackson, RB, Oregon State
3 (91): Anthony Hargrove, DE, Georgia Tech
4 (130): Brandon Chillar, LB, UCLA
5 (158): Jason Shivers, S, Arizona State
6 (201): Jeff Smoker, QB, Michigan State
7 (237): Erik Jensen, TE, Iowa
7 (238): Larry Turner, G, Eastern Kentucky
In the 2004 NFL draft the Rams finally make their first draft selection of the decade that would go on to be a Pro Bowler in Steven Jackson. I don't need to explain how big of an impact Jackson has had. He, along with Bradford, is the face of the franchise and is now the most talented player in St. Louis.
Hargrove was an average lineman during his time in horns, eventually being traded after three seasons. Chillar took over at starting linebacker for a couple seasons and actually played fairly well.
The Rams late first-round steal, mixed with selecting very quality players in the third and fourth rounds left them with a very impressive draft.
2. 2010 NFL Draft
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Round 1 (First Overall): Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
2 (33): Roger Saffold, OT, Indiana
3 (65): Jerome Murphy, CB, South Florida
4 (99): Mardy Gilyard, WR, Cincinnati
5 (132): Michael Hoomanawanui, TE, Illinois
5 (149): Hall Davis, DE, Louisiana-Lafayette
6 (170): Fendi Onobun, TE, Houston
6 (189): Eugene Sims, DE, West Texas A&M
7 (211): Marquis Johnson, CB, Alabama
7 (226): George Selvie, DE, South Florida
7 (254): Josh Hull, LB, Penn State
Finally finding their franchise quarterback, the Rams took a shot on the injury-prone Bradford and struck gold. Bradford has all the makings of a future star in this league and it appears he is on the fast track to stardom.
Second-round pick Roger Saffold appears to be a lock at left tackle, looking incredible during his rookie season. It appears Saffold is the left tackle the Rams have been searching for ever since the departure of Orlando Pace.
Selvie and Hoomanawanui flashed signs of potential during their rookie season and could take big steps in their sophomore seasons.
Murphy and Gilyard struggled last season, both looking incredibly lost against NFL speed. Gilyard could thrive in McDaniels' spread offense, but it doesn't appear there is much room for him on the Rams roster, especially if they draft a receiver.
Murphy could do better with another year in Spags' system; only time will tell.
The selection of Bradford and Saffold were vital to this team's future. Both had a tremendous impact their first season and they should only continue to get better. Next season will form a much clearer picture on how the rest of this class shapes up. If a third star emerges, the Rams are looking at a possible "A-plus."
1. 2009 NFL Draft
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Round 1 (Second Overall): Jason Smith, OT, Baylor
2 (35): James Laurinaitis, LB, Ohio State
3 (66): Bradley Fletcher, CB, Iowa
4 (103): Darell Scott, DT, Clemson
5 (160): Brooks Foster, WR, North Carolina
6 (196): Keith Null, QB, West Texas A&M
7 (211): Chris Ogbonnaya, RB, Texas
These draftees may only be two years into their career, but this draft class looks like it is going to be a solid one. Jason Smith struggled his first season, but last year really looked solid at right tackle. He is a key piece of a young offensive line that is emerging as one of the better lines in the league.
Laurinaitis has all the tools to be one of the best linebackers in football and has already taken it upon himself to be the leader of the defense. With OJ Atogwe gone, Laurinaitis will take over leadership duties even more.
Bradley Fletcher appears to be the Rams' future shutdown corner. After missing a large part of his rookie season with an injury, he came back last season and showed all the signs of being a very capable corner in the NFL.
Darell Scott will never be a star at defensive tackle, but he has shown the tools to be a very adequate one. Next season he could have a big year playing alongside Fred Robbins.
Selecting three potential high-impact players in three rounds is almost impossible, but the Rams managed to do it. Looking back, this could turn out to be the greatest draft class the Rams ever have.
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How does this list stack up against yours?
What do you think the Rams' greatest draft class of the decade was?
Who do you think the Rams will draft this season?
Leave a comment and let's get a conversation on Rams football going!