With less than a month to go until the NFL Draft, it is the perfect time to look at the last handful of Rams draft classes. This series looks at the last five years of drafts and assigns a grade on each pick based on how they turned out with one cumulative grade at the end. With 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 out of the way, it is time to look at the most recent draft class of 2020.
This draft was recent enough that the class is still in its honeymoon phase with many of the picks so these grades are more subject to change than previous classes. Like several seasons before it, the Rams did not have a first-round draft pick for 2020. The first pick of the Rams 2020 draft class came in the second round with Cam Akers.
Rams 2020 Draft Class Graded In 2021
Running Back, Cam Akers – Second Round, Pick 52 Overall
Cam Akers rushed 145 times for 625 yards, averaging 4.3 yards-per-carry, and scored two touchdowns. In addition, he caught 11 passes for 123 yards and one touchdown. He played in 13 games and had five starts. Overall, Akers has done exactly what a team should ask for from their rookie running back. If Akers can improve next season, play in every game, and come close to tripling the number of games started, the Rams will have officially found their guy for the future.
Wide Receiver, Van Jefferson – Second Round, Pick 57 Overall
Van Jefferson found the field 16 times this season and earned a 67.1 grade per PFF. He caught 19 of 31 targets for 220 yards and one touchdown in his rookie season. Overall, his rookie year was pretty slow but it wasn’t a disaster. It should also be noted that with Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods soaking up the targets, Jefferson didn’t exactly need to be a pillar of the offense in his first season. That said, to make this a useful pick, he’ll need to be a bigger part of the offense next season. A good second season would see him earn over 400 yards and multiple touchdowns at the least.
Defensive End, Terrell Lewis – Third Round, Pick 84 Overall
Terrell Lewis had eight games with no starts but he posted a 70.4 grade per PFF. He had two sacks, five tackles, and four quarterback hits. In the end, his rookie year turned out to be lukewarm but he should get a chance to salvage it next season. That said, he cannot be a third-round pick and have two years with the same level of statistics. In other words, he needs to play in 14 games or more and start a few games in 2021. In addition, he needs to have at least doubled his number of sacks and tackles next season.
Safety, Terrell Burgess – Third Round, Pick 104 Overall
Terrell Burgess finished his rookie season with a disappointing 47.7 grade per PFF. He got work in seven games with no starts. In that time, he had eight combined tackles. Put succinctly, Burgess needs to be better next season to stick with the team long-term. As a third-round pick, he is on the edge of being a reach or worse.
Tight End, Brycen Hopkins – Fourth Round, Pick 136 Overall
Brycen Hopkins had five games of work in 2020 and never recorded a statistic. Hopkins is on pace to be a bust but he has a fighting chance of maybe, possibly, seeing the field more due to the exit of Gerald Everett. However, he will have to claw back into the picture. Based on what he’s done, he appears to be in a spot where every practice could be his last.
Safety, Jordan Fuller – Sixth Round, Pick 199 Overall
At the conclusion of his rookie season, Jordan Fuller scored a grade of 63.6 per PFF. He started all of the twelve games he played in and had three picks and 60 combined tackles. As a reminder, this is a sixth-round pick and not a first or second-round pick. In other words, Fuller’s rookie season was quite impressive. However, 2021 will show if 2020 was a fluke. That said, if this is what the Rams can expect every season, he will turn out to be one of their best-value picks in the last several drafts.
Linebacker, Clay Johnston – Seventh Round, Pick 234 Overall
Clay Johnston was a fan favorite after his video with the Rams after getting drafted went viral. With the lack of depth at the ILB position, he had a real shot to seize the opportunity and have a real impact on the defense. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t a fit with the Rams, and he was waived before the season even started. He signed with the Carolina Panthers shortly after. He may go on to have a great NFL career, but for the sake of this article, his time with the Rams is basically graded as non-existent.
Kicker, Sam Sloman – Seventh Round, Pick 248 Overall
Drafted to be the successor to Greg Zuerlein, Sam Sloman lasted only seven games with the Rams. In those games, he made eight of 11 field-goal attempts and 18 of 21 extra-point attempts. After getting booted, he went to the practice squad of the Tennessee Titans and played in their Week 17 game where he made every kick. Nevertheless, he was released around the end of the season and his career is now in limbo. With only 32 spots in the world for Sloman to see game action and a rough start to his career already in the books, Sloman’s chances seem to be pretty slim in the NFL.
Offensive Line, Tremayne Anchrum – Seventh Round, Pick 250 Overall
Pro Football Reference has Tremayne Anchrum marked as getting 12 games on the game-day roster but only three snaps in every game combined per PFF, earning a 61.1 grade. In other words, he’s still waiting for his moment. In the end, he needs to find a way onto the field in 2021 to secure a role, assuming he survives training camp.
Rams 2020 Draft Class Final Grade
Overall, this draft class still has a lot of potential. The best value thus far has been the selection of safety Jordan Fuller in the sixth round. Also, this draft gave the Rams running back Cam Akers and wide receiver Van Jefferson, both of whom could have a chance to be with the team for the long term. Additionally, this draft gave the Rams other pieces that could have breakout seasons in 2021.
With that said, it is also too early to anoint this class as a bonafide success due to its youth. However, it would not be surprising to see five players from this draft still playing for the Rams in a few years. Overall, the floor of this draft seems to be average (with the exception of Sam Sloman) and the sky remains the limit which is a great spot to be in with a one-year-old draft class.
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