With the NFL Draft now on the horizon, it’s a good time to review the past handful of draft classes. This series will look at each one of the last five drafts and review what the picks have been doing and how well they worked out for the Rams. Each player and draft class will be graded. This is a series where each article will focus on one year, starting back in 2016 and ending in 2020. Without further ado, here’s a look at the last draft class of the Jeff Fisher era: the class of 2016.
Los Angeles Rams 2016 Draft Class Graded In 2021
Quarterback Jared Goff – Round One, First Pick Overall
The Los Angeles Rams bet the farm on Jared Goff. Did they win? Goff had three seasons with playoff appearances and one Super Bowl appearance in his time with the Rams which is strong for a young quarterback. However, he was traded for Matthew Stafford just weeks after his playoff loss against the Green Bay Packers.
If Jared Goff had won the Super Bowl in 2018, he would be looked at as a bargain at first overall. However, the Super Bowl loss changed the trajectory of his career and eventually became the underlying catalyst for his exit. Looking back, it has become clear that Jared Goff was largely carried by Head Coach Sean McVay’s offense, Defensive Coordinator Brandon Staley’s defense, and multiple star-studded rosters.
That said, many teams would give their next several first and second-round picks to have a five-year run like the Rams have had with Goff at the helm. In the end, Goff’s biggest accomplishment was helping end more than a decade of mediocrity for the Rams. On the other hand, how good could a quarterback pick actually be if he ends up on another team five years later?
Tight End Tyler Higbee – Round Four, Pick 110 Overall
Five years later, this fourth-round pick is still with the team. Arguably the best value pick for the 2016 draft, Tyler Higbee was a co-starter with Gerald Everett over the last two seasons. Higbee’s best season thus far came in 2019 when he caught 69 balls for 734 yards and three touchdowns.
Currently, the Tight End is halfway through a four-year deal but now he has entered a time when the Rams can cut him and save money according to Sportrac. Will the Rams take a tight end if an opportunity presented itself? They would need to guarantee a star with their selection in order to upgrade the talent over what Higbee can do.
Wide Receiver Pharoh Cooper – Round Four, Pick 117 Overall
Five years later, Pharoh Cooper has been on four different teams. He played for the Rams from 2016 until 2018 and made the Pro Bowl in his last season with the Rams. Interestingly, Cooper never recorded a single in-game stat outside of special teams in his 2018 Pro Bowl season.
After his time with the Rams, Cooper bounced to the Arizona Cardinals from 2018 until 2019, spent time with the Cincinnati Bengals in that same year, and played for the Carolina Panthers in 2020. After his recent history, the question for Cooper is where his next pit stop will be.
In the end, Cooper was a good short-term value but a bad long-term value pick for the Rams.
Tight End Temarrick Hemingway – Round Six, Pick 177 Overall
Like Cooper, Temarrick Hemingway has played for four teams in the last five years. He played for the Rams in 2016, skipped football in 2017, and played for the Denver Broncos in 2018, the Carolina Panthers in 2019, and the Washington Football Team in 2020. In total, Hemingway has played in 21 games and recorded one catch for 10 yards. Needless to say, one catch for 10 yards in five years is not going to be seen as a high value.
The Rams moved on from Hemingway almost immediately as well as every other team he has played for. Put simply, this was nearly as bad of a pick as it could get without getting into never-seeing-the-field territory.
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Middle Linebacker Josh Forrest – Round Six – Pick 190 Overall
Josh Forrest spent one year with the Rams in which he had four starts and 10 games played. He ended his season with no sacks, one fumble recovery, and nine tackles. After leaving the Rams, Forrest went to Seattle to play for the Seahawks in 2017. He played in two games and subsequentially disappeared from the NFL. In simple terms, Forrest’s career was short-lived.
Wide Receiver Mike Thomas – Round Six, Pick 206 Overall
Mike Thomas played for the Rams for four years, from 2016-2019. He has logged 40 games of experience with one start but never caught a touchdown with the Rams. His best season was when he recorded five catches for 93 yards back in 2017.
Later, he ended up going to the Cincinnati Bengals in 2020 where he had 13 catches for 132 yards.
Overall, Thomas is a little better than his stats with the Rams indicate as the wide receiver room was simply too stacked with talent to have any real use for him. Also, getting four years of use out of a sixth-round pick is a decent value even if he didn’t exactly light the field on fire.
Rams 2016 Draft Class Final Grade
Jared Goff and Tyler Higbee were the biggest hits from the Rams 2016 draft class. Pharoh Cooper was also a nice flash in the pan but ultimately fell off. If the Rams were to get another blind shot at the draft having known about each player what they know now, they’d ask to reselect at least two or three choices from this draft.
Overall Grade: C+