Starting out, the mission of this series was to look back at the last five Rams drafts and see how it has gone for the selections. With 2020’s look back in the rear-view mirror, the series is now caught up to the present. Now at the end, a final look back at these five classes will reveal some big-picture takeaways. Here’s a look at the best pick, the worst pick, the best-value pick, the best draft class, and the worst draft class of the last five years. Finally, in the end, one last cumulative grade will be assigned that evaluates how the Rams have drafted overall during the last five years. This information may help predict how successful 2021’s draft turns out.
Last Five Rams Drafts Graded In 2021 (Conclusion)
Best Pick – Wide Receiver, Cooper Kupp – Round Three, Pick 69 Overall In 2017
Jared Goff came as a close second when deciding who got the selection. It came down to one fact: Cooper Kupp will be with the Rams for the majority of his career while Jared Goff is already gone. Also, the fact that Kupp is a third-round pick who played in the FCS also adds a value angle to this choice that Jared Goff simply does not.
After he was drafted, Kupp set the rookie record for receptions as a Ram and has earned 1,000 yards in three of his four seasons with the team. 2019 saw him catch 94 balls for 1,161 yards after a season-ending ACL injury in 2018, also proving that he can bounce back from big injuries better than many.
Best-Value Pick – Offensive Tackle, David Edwards – Round Five, Pick 169 Overall In 2019
This choice came down to safety Jordan Fuller and offensive tackle David Edwards. Fuller was picked in the sixth round, 199 overall in 2020 while Edwards was picked in the fifth round, 169 overall in 2019.
The tipping point for going with Edwards over Fuller was simply his extra year of proven work. With Fuller, 2021 could torpedo his appraised value while Edwards has a second season of data that shows him improving under an increasing workload. That said, if the safety Fuller goes out and has an equally productive or better 2021, he would likely take the cake on this selection as the best-value pick of the last five years.
Edwards earned a 61.1 PFF grade in 689 snaps in 2019. 2020 gave Edwards 1,006 snaps. He got better with a 70.3 PFF grade. In his two years of play, Edwards capitulated four sacks in about 1,700 snaps. He’s also seen work in every game since he was drafted. In other words, the fifth-round pick has blown away expectations.
Worst Pick – Defensive End, Ejuan Price – Round Seven, Pick 234 Overall In 2017
Basically, when narrowing down the selection for the worst pick, the method is simple: look for the shortest tenure in the NFL. Several players have bounced from the Rams quickly but most have gleaned interest from other teams, whether as a practice squad player or active roster participant.
Ejuan Price gets this (dis)honorable selection because he played in one game for the Rams in 2017 and never saw the field again. Put bluntly, the Rams should have sent the pick to a thrift shop where someone else could find a better use for it.
Best Draft Class: 2019
2019 was the best draft of the last five years for the Rams. It gave the team safety Taylor Rapp, running back Darrell Henderson, offensive tackle David Edwards, safety Nick Scott, and defensive lineman Greg Gaines. This single draft gave the Rams five good players that could be good enough to be with the team for the next half-decade or longer.
The next closest draft class is tentatively 2020 with 2016’s class in a position to overtake if 2020’s class has a bad season in 2021. 2016’s draft class had Jared Goff and drafting the quarterback that played in a Super Bowl automatically makes it a strong draft class.
Worst Draft Class: 2018
Put simply, 2018 turned out to be rough. No players from that year earned an “A”, there was one “B-” with Joe Noteboom and one “B+” with Sebastian Joseph-Day. Also, Brian Allen earned a “C+” but missed 2020 with injuries and he could easily go in the tank in 2021. Besides those three picks, the other seven picks earned a “C-” or lower. Overall, this was a pretty disappointing class thus far.
Last Five Rams Drafts, Graded
Have the Rams had a good five years of drafts? Just looking at their winning records over that time, one could guess that the answer would be “yes.” They’d be right. The Rams avoided having a disastrous draft and they had a couple of good ones in 2019 and 2020 with an average draft in 2017. 2018’s draft was disappointing but not laughably bad.
In the end, the Rams have drafted decently enough but they haven’t been perfect. That said, they didn’t have any catastrophes, either. Basically, the Rams kept the floor high but the ceiling low over the last five years. Keeping a floor high is a tough feat in the draft and the Rams should be applauded for avoiding total failure. However, no generational talents or league-leading players have not been selected by the Rams in the last five years.
2016-2020 Final Grade: C+