NFL Draft 2011: Where All the St. Louis Rams' 2010 Draft Selections Stand

Ethan NovakAnalyst IIApril 18, 2011

NFL Draft 2011: Where All the St. Louis Rams' 2010 Draft Selections Stand

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    Heading into the 2011 season, the Rams have plenty of reasons to be excited.

    The team is finally playing at a competitive level and appears to be in prime position to win the West and make some noise around the league. 

    One of the big reasons for this turnaround has been the Rams' most recent string of success in the draft.  Selections such as Sam Bradford, Chris Long, Jason Smith and many others have blossomed into future stars of the league. 

    Heading into this much-awaited season, the Rams will turn to all of these draft picks to continue their incredible progress and aid them in their pursuit of a Super Bowl. 

    Where do their most recent draft picks, the 2010 class, stand in all of this?  Which ones will be expected to take on a big roll next year, and which appear to be destined to be nothing more than special teams players? 

    To the list!

     

    (Note: Players listed in order going from last drafted to first drafted.)

Josh Hull, LB, Penn State

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    Selection

    Round 7, 254th Overall

     

    2010 Season

    Just one pick away from being your 2010 Mr. Irrelevant, no one was expecting anything from Hull.

    Appearing in just one game, Hull collected one tackle and a forced fumble before being placed on injured reserve with a torn ACL on September 15th. 

     

    Projected 2011 Role

    Hull will most likely find himself at the back of the depth chart at linebacker in 2011.  Hull's small signs of potential, mixed with the Rams' lack of depth at OLB, could score him a small amount of playing time.

    Realistically, Hull will most likely spend a large majority of his playing time on special teams. 

     

    Projected 2011 Stats

    20 tackles

George Selvie, DE, USF

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    Selection

    Round 7, 226th Overall

     

    2010 Season

    Selvie had a very nice 2010 season as a backup defensive end.  Playing in all 16 games, Selvie racked up 16 tackles, 1.5 sacks and plenty of quarterback pressures. 

    His fast hands and quick feet were dangerous in the pass-rushing game and helped Selvie make up for his lack of NFL strength.

     

    Projected 2011 Role

    Selvie will assume the backup role on the ends and provide a formidable presence.  He won't have a breakout season or evolve into the replacement for James Hall that the Rams are searching for, but he could turn into a nice role player.

     

    Projected 2011 Stats

    15 tackles, 3.0 sacks


Marquis Johnson, CB, Alabama

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    Selection

    Round 7, 211th Overall 

     

    2010 Season

    A talented cornerback out of Alabama, the Rams selected Johnson hoping he could be a serviceable nickelback in the NFL

    Johnson immediately struggled to adjust to the speed of the NFL and appeared lost in the preseason at times. 

    The Rams sent him to the practice squad on September 4th, but put him back on the active roster for the Week 3 contest against the Redskins where he collected one tackle.  A week later, the Rams placed Johnson on injured reserve with a season-ending knee injury.

     

    Projected 2011 Role

    Don't expect to hear much from Johnson in 2011.  He might be able to take on a role as a special teams player and could see some playing time if there are injuries at the corner spot, but as of now he doesn't have much of a role on this team. 

     

    Projected 2011 Stats

    Five tackles

Eugene Sims, DE, West Texas A&M

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    Selection

    Round 6, 189th Overall

     

    2010 Season

    Sims was fifth in the defensive-end rotation throughout the year.  Rarely seeing the field, he managed six tackles, a safety and a defended pass.   

     

    Projected 2011 Role

    If the Rams draft a defensive end in the first round as many have predicted, Sims will most likely find all of his playing time on special teams.  It appears the Rams regard Selvie as the better prospect at this point, and Sims would fall back into the sixth defensive end in the rotation.

    Even if they don't draft an end, Sims won't see much playing time on defense.

     

    Projected 2011 Stats

    Four tackles, one sack.

Fendi Onobun, TE, Houston

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    Selection

    Round 6, 170th Overall

     

    2010 Season

    Ever since Antonio Gates made the incredible jump from college basketball to NFL, teams have been on the lookout for basketball players with the right attributes to be an NFL playmaker.

    The Rams took that chance on Fendi Onobun, a tight end who played one year of football at the University of Houston and four years of basketball at Arizona

    Onobun was considered a shot in the dark, but he made the 53-man roster and hauled in two catches for 15 yards before being placed on Injured Reserve with a bulging disk in his back. 

     

    Projected 2011 Role

    Onobun showed signs of potential last season, and I'd bet on the Rams giving him plenty of opportunity to succeed.  He'll have to compete with Daniel Fells, Billy Bajema and Mike Hoomanawanui for playing time, but his offensive upside should buy him plenty of playing time, especially in Josh McDaniels' pass-heavy offense.   

     

    Projected 2011 Stats

    15 catches, 145 yards, one touchdown

Hall Davis, DE, Louisiana-Laffayette

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    Selection

    Round 5, 149th Overall

     

    2010 Season

    In three preseason games for the Rams, Davis managed two sacks which tied him for the team lead.  This, however, wasn't enough to impress St Louis; on August 30th the Rams sent him to Washington, where he was released by the Redskins just a day later. 

    A week later Davis was signed to the Titans' practice squad. 

     

    2011 Projected Role

    Whatever role he plays as a practice squad member or an end of the rotation defensive end, it won't be in St. Louis.

     

    2011 Projected Stats

    None

Michael Hoomanawanui, TE, Illinois

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    Selection

    Round 5, 132nd Overall

     

    2010 Season

    Hoomanawanui had a solid rookie season and appears to be the tight end of the future if he can manage to stay healthy.  He showed good instincts as a receiver and effectiveness as a blocker

    Often-injured, Hoomanawanui appeared in eight games, racking up 13 catches, 146 yards and three touchdowns throughout 2010.

     

    Projected 2011 Role

    If Hoomanawanui can stay healthy for a majority of the season, he could be looking at a breakout season in McDaniels' system. 

    The Rams showed a lot of trust in having him out there and will probably give him significant playing time over the duration of the season. 

    With a lot of strength and good blocking ability, he could be a great edge blocker for Jackson, and his ability to find soft spots in the defense would make him a prime target for Sam Bradford in the passing game.

    Expect Hoomanawanui to become the starter at some point next season and to see a huge stat boost. 

     

    Projected 2011 Stats

    40 receptions, 410 yards, five touchdowns

Mardy Gilyard, WR, Cinicinnati

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    Selection

    Round 4, 99th Overall

     

    2010 Season

    Perhaps this was a case of just having a very frustrating rookie season.

    Coming out of Cincinnati, Gilyard was expected to make an immediate impact in the passing game, but he struggled to learn the playbook and catch up to NFL speed due to a late start because of school.

    He struggled to make an impact in the return game before losing the job to Danny Amendola and also couldn't manage to make break into the receiver rotation despite a large amount of injuries to the position. 

    Gilyard managed six catches for 63 yards throughout his injury-plagued rookie season. 

     

    Projected 2011 Role

    For all of his upside, it really is hard finding room for Gilyard on this team.  Right now Donnie Avery, Danny Amendola, Mark Clayton and Danario Alexander are really the only receivers with likely guaranteed spots on next year's team.  If somehow Julio Jones falls to the Rams in the first round, that leaves one spot open at receiver. 

    With Brandon Gibson, Laurent Robinson and other possible free-agent additions in the fold, it will be a dogfight for the final spot at receiver. 

    That being said, Gilyard flourished in the spread offense in college.  With McDaniels bringing that offense to the Rams, there is a chance he could show some improvement. 

    Even if Gilyard does crack the roster, don't expect him to get a significant amount of attention from Bradford. 

     

    Projected 2011 Stats

    15 catches, 155 yards, one touchdown.

Jerome Murphy, CB, USF

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    Selection

    Round 3, 65th Overall

     

    2010 Season

    Coming out of college, Murphy was exactly the kind of cornerback that Steve Spagnuolo loved: a hard hitting, physical athlete.

    Murphy brought exactly that to the table, never shying away from contact and racking up 30 tackles, an interception and a forced fumble in his rookie season. 

    At times he struggled, but overall he made a lot of progress in Spags' system throughout the course of the season.

     

    Projected 2011 Role

    Murphy will most likely take over as the third cornerback behind Ron Bartell and Bradley Fletcher.  His playing time will increase tremendously and he should continue to improve in his second year playing in Spags' defense.   

    Don't expect him to become a shutdown corner overnight, but Murphy will impress some people next season.

     

    Projected 2011 Stats

    50 tackles, two forced fumbles, two interceptions

Rodger Saffold, OT, Indiana

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    Selection

    Round 2, 33rd Overall

     

    2010 Season

    When the Rams selected Saffold, they were selecting him to be the right tackle of the future, blocking the right while 2009 first-round pick Jason Smith covered Sam Bradford's blind side. 

    After Smith sustained an injury in camp, Saffold moved over to left tackle for the time being and greatly impressed the coaches.  The rest, as they say, is history.

    Spagnuolo decided to make Saffold the official protector of the blind side, moving Smith over to right tackle in what turned out to be the one of the best decisions made all year by the coaching staff.  With Saffold at left tackle, the line made a significant step towards respectability throughout the 2010 season.

     

    Projected 2011 Role

    If it's not broke, don't fix it. Saffold will continue his role as the starting left tackle in 2011 and will continue to progress. 

     

    Projected 2011 Stats

    Plenty of pancakes.

Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma

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    Selection

    Round 1, First Overall

     

    2010 Season

    Ask any Ram fan in the world about Sam Bradford's rookie season, and they'll go on for hours.  They will tell you all about how he broke Peyton Manning's record for completions by a rookie.  They'd mention that he provided hope for a franchise who'd lost all faith a couple years ago.  They'd talk about how he won the Rookie of the Year award.  They'd proudly sip their beverage and tell you all about how he took a 1-15 team and brought them within a game of the playoffs. 

    As you look on, trying to find a way out of the conversation they'd throw their arm around you, stare off into that beautiful sky, and exclaim, "3,512 yards and 15 touchdowns.  That kid is taking us places!"

    What they would without a doubt explain though, what they wouldn't go five minutes without explaining, the one thing in the world that we Ram fans love to brag about: He was only a rookie. 

     

    Projected 2011 Role

    Expect this to be the year where Bradford starts really making his name known around the league. 

    A master of the spread offense in college, it really is exciting to think of what he is going to do with McDaniel's deadly spread offense.  He will most likely struggle in the beginning because of the drastic adjustment from the West Coast offense to the spread, but after a few games he should really start to pick up speed.

    If he can get all of his playmakers in the receiving game back (Avery, Clayton), he should have plenty of more success passing the ball.  The constant threat of Steven Jackson breaking open a big run doesn't hurt him at all either. 

    Last year, Bradford was the savior, the beacon of hope, the future.  This year, he won't be elite by any means, but Bradford will take a big step in establishing how good of a quarterback he could truly be.

     

    Projected 2011 Stats

    3,850 yards, 25 TD, 15 picks. 

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    A more in depth prediction of Sam Bradford's second season:

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/579114-st-louis-rams-projecting-sam-bradfords-sophomore-season-in-the-nfl

     

    Why the St Louis Rams will win the NFC West in 2011:

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/646462-st-louis-rams-why-they-will-win-the-nfc-west-in-2011

     

    Full 7-Round St Louis Rams mock draft:

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/657996-2011-nfl-mock-draft-st-louis-rams-7-round-projections