Los Angeles Rams 2017 Draft Class Graded In 2021

Rams 2018 Training Camp. Photo Credit | Ryan Dyrud | The LAFB Network
Rams 2018 Training Camp. Photo Credit | Ryan Dyrud | The LAFB Network

With the NFL Draft on the horizon, it’s a great time to look back. This series looks at the last handful of Rams draft classes and assigns grades to each player and the class as a whole. With 2016 now out of the way, the focus now will be on the Rams 2017 Draft class. This was the first class that would be led by Head Coach Sean McVay. Was it a banger or a whimper?

Rams 2017 Draft Class Graded In 2021

Tight End Gerald Everett – Round Two, Pick 44 Overall

Gerald Everett started slow and has been picking up speed like a full bus going uphill. His worst season was in 2017 where he had 16 catches for 244 yards and two touchdowns. His best season was arguably two years later in 2019 when he had 37 catches for 408 yards and two touchdowns. Granted, he’s essentially been a co-starter with tight end Tyler Higbee for his entire career.

As another factor, the offense has always had established weapons at other positions so they’ve never really needed a Gronkowski-level performance from their tight ends. That said, when a team uses their top pick on a player, that player needs to do more than Everett has. Also, when George Kittle is on the board and the team picks Gerald Everett, one can only wonder what could have happened if the Rams had picked Kittle instead. Everett is expected to hit free agency in 2021.

Grade: C-

Wide Receiver Cooper Kupp – Round Three, Pick 69 Overall

Cooper Kupp set most fans’ minds at ease in his rookie season when he set the rookie reception record in 2017. Since then, he has gone on to be a top receiver in a recently stacked roster at the position. Overall, he’s earned about 1,000 yards in three of his four seasons with the team.

Kupp, unfortunately, tore his ACL and ended his 2018 season early but was able to bounce back for his best season yet the following year. In 2019, he caught 94 balls for 1,161 yards and 10 touchdowns. Overall, when it comes to third-round selections, one cannot do much better than Cooper Kupp.

Grade: A

Safety John Johnson III – Round Three, Pick 91 Overall

Put succinctly, John Johnson has been a very solid starter for the Rams and had a breakout 2018 season. In that 2018 season, Johnson had 85 solo tackles and four interceptions. The stats placed him tied for fourth overall in the league in those categories. per Pro Football Focus.

However, most recently, Johnson allowed 51 receptions on 69 targets in 2020. His arguably worst season, statistically, has come at the worst time as he’s set to hit the market for 2021.

Grade: B

Wide Receiver Josh Reynolds – Round Four, Pick 117 Overall

Josh Reynolds has been with the Rams every year since being drafted. He’s basically alternated good (for his draft rank) and quiet seasons. In 2017, Reynolds had 11 catches for 104 yards. In 2018, he had 29 catches for 402 yards and five touchdowns. In 2019, he posted 21 catches for 326 yards and one touchdown, Most recently, in 2020, he posted 52 catches for 618 yards and two touchdowns. If Reynolds hits the market for 2021, he could draw interest from many teams.

Grade: B+

Outside Linebacker Samson Ebukam – Round Four, 125 Overall

Samson Ebukam has played his entire career with the Rams thus far. In those seasons, he started 14 games twice, two games in one season, and five in another. Ebukam wasn’t the star of the show on defense in the vast majority of the games he played in except for a game in 2018 when he showed up big against the Chiefs on Monday Night Football. In that game, Ebukam became the first player since 1982, when sacks started to be tracked, to have a sack, an interception, and two touchdowns in a game, per ESPN. At the end of the day, one great game doesn’t make a career but it definitely helps.

Grade: C+

Defensive Tackle Tanzel Smart – Round Six, 189 Overall

Tanzel Smart played with the Rams until 2019 and played with the New York Jets in 2020. He started four games for the Rams in that time and only earned three combined tackles in 2020 with the Jets. Needless to say, he didn’t see the field much. Basically, he only helped fill a roster spot for the Rams for three years. In the sixth round, however, that is above average. That said, when looking at other names drafted in the same round after Smart, Safety Xavier Woods would have been the better choice, who ended up going to the Cowboys.

Grade: D

Fullback Sam Rogers – Round Six, Pick 206 Overall

Sam Rogers was a practice squad player who had a very short NFL tenure. He was waived by the Rams in 2017 and then went to the Bills where they waived him in 2018. After that, he disappeared from the league. Put simply, Rogers was a flat-out bust. The Rams could have selected wide receiver David Moore with the pick, who ultimately ended up going to Seattle.

Grade: F

Ejuan Price Defensive End – Round Seven, Pick 234 Overall

Ejuan Price played in just one game for the Rams in 2017 and never saw the field again. Almost anyone else would have been a better choice. Trading the pick would have been better than how it turned out.

Grade: F

Los Angeles Rams 2017 Draft Class Graded In 2021: Final Grade

In the end, the first draft class of the Sean McVay era had two immediate busts and everyone else stuck around for several years or more. The class gave the Rams wide receivers Cooper Kupp and John Johnson as the cream of the crop in addition to a few usable players but no gems late in the draft. At the end of the day, knowing what the Rams know about these players now, three or four of the eight picks would be returned for in-store credit.

Overall Grade: C