The Los Angeles Rams have had an unconventional team-building strategy under Sean McVay, which eventually ended up winning them a championship. They sacrificed early-round draft picks to trade for veteran stars that elevate the team around them. This leaves the front office to try and hit on late-round draft picks in the hopes that they can provide depth around the stars.
Some are speculating that the troubles the Rams are having are a result of their wonton attitude toward high draft picks
Have the Rams’ problems resulted from them not hitting on draft picks? Let’s review each draft class starting in 2018 and categorize whether each player is a quality draft pick, a bust, or the jury is still out on that pick.
[brid autoplay=”true” video=”1179009″ player=”32134″ title=”Tom%20Brady%20ended%20the%20Rams%20Season%20%20Rams%20Film%20Review%20Raheem%20Morris%20Hot%20Seat” duration=”462″ description=”The Los Angeles Rams vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 9 of the 2022 NFL Season had very few Rams Highlights. Matthew Stafford and this offensive line could not get much going with Sean McVay’s inconsistent play calling and the bad performance by guys like Allen Robinson and Van Jefferson. Cooper Kupp played great but when does he not have highlights? Tom Brady may have ended the Rams season on this final drive, but my question is, is Raheem Morris’s defensive coordinator job on the line?Listen to our Rams Podcast: https://www.lafbnetwork.com/rams-brothers/Go to www.LAFBNetwork.com for FREE full access to all of our podcasts and join the community!Text ‘LAFB’ to 31032 to join the conversation!Social Media: @LAFBNetworkSponsors: TickPick is the official ticket partner of the LA Football Network: https://www.tickpick.com/LAFBSean McVay is the Los Angeles Rams Football Head Coach for the 2022 NFL Season but after the 2023 NFL Draft the Rams could have more trades and free agents and rookies come in with highlights from 2023 NFL Draft prospects. Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, Allen Robinson, Darrell Henderson, Cam Akers, Tyler Higbee, Brandon Powell, Malcolm Brown, Ben Skowronek, Tutu Atwell, Allen Robinson, David Edwards, Bobby Evans, Joesph Noteboom, Rob Havenstein, Brian Allen, and Van Jefferson should be playing great for the rams offense highlights. Bobby Wagner, Ernest Jones, Jalen Ramsey, Aaron Donald, A’shawn Robinson, Nick Scott, Justin Hollins, Derion Kendrick, Leonard Floyd, Taylor Rapp, Jordan Fuller, Grant Haley, Terrell Lewis, Terrell Burgess, Troy Hill, Greg Gaines, and David Long should get rams football defense highlights 2022.#rams #nfl #nflshorts #ramshouse #all22″ uploaddate=”2022-11-09″ thumbnailurl=”https://cdn.brid.tv/live/partners/22501/snapshot/1179009_th_1667964682.jpg” contentUrl=”//cdn.brid.tv/live/partners/22501/sd/1179009.mp4″ width=”16″ height=”9″]
Rams Quality Draft Picks
Brian Allen 4th Round- 111 Overall
At first, it didn’t look like Allen was going to work out, but he turned things around after 2019. Allen was one of the Rams best linemen last season and has done a solid job this year when not injured.
Sebastian Joseph-Day 2018 6th Round-195 Overall
Joseph-Day didn’t have a great first couple of years but came into his own in 2021 before his injury. His great performance in the first half of the Rams’ Super Bowl season earned him a payday with the Chargers. SJD developed into a solid starter at nose tackle and a good run stuffer.
Darrell Henderson 3rd Round- 70 Overall
Henderson was drafted as the eventual replacement for Todd Gurley and was thrust into action sooner rather than later. He’s a solid running back, not game-breaking like others around the league, but he’s pretty underrated when used properly.
Greg Gaines 4th Round- 134 Overall
Similar to SJD, Gaines developed a bit slowly but has become a good starter for the team at nose tackle. Gaines is a force up the middle and opened things up for Donald and Leonard Floyd last year.
Nick Scott 7th- 243 Overall
Scott was another rotational player that ended up playing a bigger role due to departures. He stepped up along with Jordan Fuller after John Johnson left and has done a pretty great job for a former 7th-rounder.
Van Jefferson 2nd Round- 57 Overall
Jefferson had a solid rookie year and got even better last season. He looked like a good deep threat, as well as having the potential to be the Rams WR2 if needed. Even though he’s been limited this season so far I’m expecting he’ll step in and pick up where he left off.
Jordan Fuller 6th Round- 199 Overall
Ernest Jones 3rd Round- 103 Overall
Jones was by far the best selection in the 2021 class and for good reason. He’s a great tackler and the best homegrown linebacker the Rams have had in a while. He had a solid rookie year and now has had the chance to play next to a future Hall of Famer; Bobby Wagner.
Ben Skowronek 7th Round- 249 Overall
Skowronek was a seventh-round rookie who was thrust into the spotlight at the end of the Rams’ season. Benny Skow had to be the Rams’ second option in the Super Bowl after Odell Beckham Jr. went down with an injury. He’s definitely outperformed his draft position and is being used more creatively on offense this year.
Micah Kiser 5th Round- 147 Overall
Kiser was part of a terrible Rams linebacker group and was the weak link in an otherwise dominant Brandon Staley-led defense. 2020 was the first year and last year that he started on defense and is currently a backup on the Raiders.
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo 5th Round- 160 Overall
Okoronkwo was a pretty mediocre rotational pass rusher that could never really get it done next to Aaron Donald. The Rams have tried many different solutions to who can rush outside of Donald and Okoronkwo was one that didn’t work out.
Bobby Evans 3rd Round- 97 Overall
Evans can definitely be considered a bust after Sunday’s game. It’s pretty telling that Evans lacked skill when he barely earned a starting spot on an already depleted offensive line.
Dakota Allen 7th Round/251
Cam Akers 2nd Round- 52 Overall
Akers started his rookie year off strong, but after injury never has never returned to that same level. He’s underperformed his draft position for sure, with AJ Dillion being taken just a few picks after him. When you’re drafted between Trevon Diggs and Jalen Hurts, I’d expect Akers to make a similar impact, which he has not.
Clay Johnston 7th Round- 234 Overall
Johnston was the star of Hard Knocks, only to be cut a few weeks later. It’s safe to say that if he couldn’t compete for a spot at linebacker on the 2020 defense, he wasn’t that great, to begin with.
Sam Sloman 7th Round- 248 Overall
Drafted as a replacement for Greg Zuerlein, Sloman was pretty awful as a rookie. He missed 6 kicks and was released mid-season. The best part of Sloman’s tenure with the Rams was the fact that it led to them acquiring Matt Gay.
Brycen Hopkins 4th Round- 136
Tutu Atwell 2nd Round- 57 Overall
Here’s a player I’m sure many were waiting for on this list as Atwell has sparked controversy among Rams fans everywhere. From the fact that he was drafted into a wide receiver room that was already pretty deep to being picked only a couple of spots before Creed Humphrey and Nick Bolton, there are many reasons why he can be considered a bust.
Jacob Harris 4th Round- 141 Overall
Harris was drafted as a developmental prospect. The Rams loved his raw athletic traits but he didn’t develop. Even with a thin tight end room, he was moved receiver. This highlights his inability to help in blocking, which is essential in the McVay offense.
Jake Funk 7th Round- 233 Overall
Funk was another offensive prospect that just didn’t work out. The main reason that he ended up being drafted so low was his injury history which likely contributed to his lackluster play.
Chris Garrett 7th Round/252, Earnest Brown IV 5th Round/174
The Jury Is Still Out
Joseph Noteboom 3rd Rounds- 89th Overall
Noteboom was deemed as the successor to Andrew Whitworth and seemed like he could be while filling in for him in 2020 and 2021. However, at the start of this season, he has massively underperformed expectations. Before his injury, he was playing pretty terribly with some of the lowest statistics of his career.
Travin Howard 7th Round- 231 Overall
Taylor Rapp 2nd Round- 61 Overall
Rapp had a stellar rookie season but hasn’t been at that same level since. He’s been a pretty average starter over the past couple of years and it’s tough to say that he’s worked out or is a bust.
Terrell Burgess 3rd Round- 104 Overall
Burgess is certainly an interesting case, as his rookie season looked good, but he hasn’t gotten any playing time since. He was injured and it’s unsure whether that affected his play and snaps. After his release, it’s unsure what went down, but I feel like he could have been a good player if given the chance.
Terrell Lewis 3rd Round/84 Treymane Anchrum 7th Round- 250 Overall
Bobby Brown III 4th Round- 117 Overall
Brown is another recent rookie that hasn’t really gotten much of a chance to show his talent. Between his suspension and lack of opportunity he still deserves a chance to prove himself.
Robert Rochell 4th Round/130
Working Out- 11 (29.7%)
Overall I would say the Rams have been good at finding value in later rounds. A 50/50 hit rate isn’t terrible and the hits have been big contributors. For a team that has had to draft without a first-round pick, they’ve done just fine finding depth pieces. The likelihood of finding a star player is reduced when you draft late, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re selecting a poor player.
The Rams are hoping to score with those later picks and turn them into superstars like Kupp, who was the 69th overall pick in 2017. When it doesn’t happen and the team lacks depth, a problem occurs. Day 3 players are the depth for other teams; for the Rams, they are now starters.
Because there is less room for error when it comes to drafting, the front office is under more pressure than other teams. It could be time for the Rams to reload if they want to be competitive in the future.