With the NFL Draft less than six weeks away, it is a good time to look back. This series looks at the last handful of Rams draft classes and assigns grades to each player and class as a whole. With 2016 and 2017’s draft classes in the rear-view mirror, it is now time to look at the Rams 2018 draft class. In this year’s draft, there were no picks in the first two rounds. The first pick came in the third round and that is where to begin.
Rams 2018 Draft Class Graded In 2021
Offensive Tackle, Joe Noteboom – Round Three, Pick 89 Overall
While Joe Noteboom’s abilities on the field aren’t quite as noteworthy or explosive as the name implies, they are still quite competent. Per Pro Football Focus, in his 633 snaps played in 2020, he had three penalties and allowed two sacks. Two sacks in 633 snaps equates to about one every 316 snaps or four and a half games. That is pretty solid. His three penalties equal to about one every 211 snaps or one every three games which is also pretty respectable.
Looking back, the offensive tackle only played 79 snaps in 2018 and 376 snaps in 2019. PFF graded Noteboom as a rough 39.6 overall grade in that year and scored him as a 60.3 in 2020. Overall, Joe Noteboom has had growth but he needs to continue to get better in 2021. If he can have another jump in abilities, the Rams might have found a pillar on the offensive line. However, 2021 will be critical for him to solidify himself.
Center, Brian Allen – Round Four, Pick 111 Overall
Brian Allen missed 2020 due to injury and barely saw the field in 2018. That leaves 2019 as the only data to look at. In that season, PFF graded him as a 58.6 overall which leaves a lot of room for growth, especially after a lost 2020 season. In 563 snaps in that season, Allen had five penalties and one sack allowed. The penalties average out to one every game and a half which is too common. On the other hand, one sack surrendered in a season is pretty good. At the end of the day, injury concerns abound but with a decent 2021, the Rams could feel that they found a long-term starter in Allen.
Defensive End, John Franklin-Myers – Round Four, Pick 135 Overall
After being drafted, John Franklin-Myers played quietly in 2018. He ended the season with two sacks and 10 combined tackles. He never saw the field in 2019. In 2020, Franklin-Myers went to the New York Jets where he had a similar season to 2018 in which he earned three sacks and 19 combined tackles.
Looking back now, the defensive end was drafted, played a bit, didn’t impress, struggled to stay healthy in 2019, and went to the Jets almost as soon as he was acquired.
Inside Linebacker, Micah Kiser – Round Five, Pick 147 Overall
Micah Kiser had four tackles in 2018, was hurt in 2019, and returned to step into a starter role for 2020. He ended up playing in nine games. In those nine games, he earned 77 combined tackles, had three passes defended, one quarterback hit, and no tackles for loss. Kiser wasn’t a game-changer and has struggled to stay healthy in his young NFL career. The Rams need a better solution at inside linebacker but Kiser did fill a spot on the roster for a while as a fifth-round pick which isn’t as egregious as if it was a first or second-round selection.
Defensive End, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo – Round Five, Pick 16 Overall
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo didn’t play in 2018. However, he saw the field in 10 games in each of the following two seasons. In those 20 total games, he scored 2.5 sacks and 19 combined tackles with no starts. Overall, he has become a quiet bench player which is about what the realistic expectation for a late pick is but Okoronkwo has been the bare minimum.
Running Back, John Kelly – Round Six, Pick 176 Overall
John Kelly didn’t see the field last season. He’s been on the roster bubble and will now be fighting to make the 2021 Browns roster. In 2018, Kelly had 27 touches for 74 yards which averages out to 2.7 yards per carry. In 2019, the running back had only three carries for nine yards. Put simply, Kelly was a bit of a disappointing development in the story of the Rams’ running back room.
Offensive Tackle, Jamil Demby – Round Six, Pick 192 Overall
In his rookie year, Jamil Demby played in six games with one start. Since then, he’s bounced to the Detriot Lions and back to the Los Angeles Rams. Basically, Demby is a fringe practice squad player hanging onto his career by his fingernails.
Defensive Tackle, Sebastian Joseph-Day – Round Six, Pick 195 Overall
Sebastian Joseph-Day has played in 31 of the 32 games from 2019 through 2020. In that span, the defensive tackle racked up 99 combined tackles. In his first year in the NFL, Joseph-Day was a no-show but being able to be a sixth-round pick and then playing in nearly every game after his rookie year is a really good value.
Defensive End, Trevon Young – Round Six, Pick 205 Overall
In his first year, Trevon Young saw the field in two games and racked up stats. His only big accomplishment was that recovered a fumble once and hasn’t seen the field since. Put succinctly, Young didn’t have much of an impact on the Rams.
Outside Linebacker, Travin Howard – Round Seven, Pick 231 Overall
Travin Howard didn’t play in his rookie season but stepped on the field in 2019 where he played in all 16 games. In those games, he racked up 22 combined tackles which is a little more than one tackle per game. He missed 2020 with a meniscus tear. He was slated to start before the injury, which shows tremendous value for a former 7th round pick. Will he have the opportunity again this season once healthy? If so, this grade may jump much higher, but for now, he is still fairly unknown.
Defensive End, Justin Lawler – Round Seven, Pick 244 Overall
Justin Lawler saw the field in only 2018 and combined for six tackles. However, Lawler had snaps in all 16 games played that season, per Pro Football Focus. Since that season, he started having injury issues and is currently incognito at the moment. When looking at how badly a seventh-round pick can go, getting a year of action out of one seems like an accomplishment.
Rams 2018 Draft Class Graded In 2021: Final Grades
Looking back from 2021, the Rams 2018 draft class did not turn out the greatest. Far and away, the best selection was Sebastian Joseph-Day who planted himself as a starter on the defensive line. Brian Allen has a real chance to bounce back to being a building block as well, and Joe Noteboom has been a solid depth piece. Outside of those three players, everyone else has either faded into the background or disappeared completely. Of course, this is a really likely outcome when a team doesn’t have a first or second-round pick. On the other hand, one cannot look at a bad draft and call it good because of the lack of top picks.