2011 NFL Draft Grades: Experts assess the St. Louis Rams' surprise picks from day two

It might be a little soon for draft grades, but that won't stop us from making, uh, preliminary assessments. Plenty of others have already provided their draft grades for the St. Louis Rams, I mean assessments, so let's round up the gaggle of reactions so far. 

First, some lockout news. A handful of Rams players showed up at Rams Parks yesterday during the brief window of sanity imposed on the league by the courts. Headlining the bunch was MLB James Laurinaitis. Sam Bradford was in New York for the draft events this weekend. No word whether or not he managed to get a copy of the playbook during the window. 

Back to the draft. 

Friend of TST Bernie Miklasz at the PD liked the Rams' picks in the second and third rounds. Here's Bernie on Kendricks:

Kendricks (Wisconsin) can outrun those LBs. And if Michael Hoomanawanui can stay healthy, the Rams can torment defenses by moving these guys around, finding mismatches and taking advantage of their speed and good hands. McDaniels and Bradford will have a lot of fun. This was an enlightened pick.

On Pettis:

The Rams had a terrible red-zone offense last season; they've been missing a bully down there. Sure, Pettis was a reach, which adds another element of risk to this draft. But if you paid attention to the 2010 Rams, you'll realize that they needed to add a big wideout. Pettis could turn out to be just another low-profile receiver. Or he could evolve into a young Anquan Boldin. Devaney and Spagnuolo were in the mood to roll the dice.

Lots more below. 

Billy Devaney, Rams GM, explained the Kendricks pick like this:

He's really athletic, he has great hands, he's extremely smart, he can run, he has good speed and you can use him a lot of ways -- on the line, off the line, in the backfield.

As far as reach versus need, Spagnuolo said this:

We're adding good football players, and we'll let the rest work itself out.

Pettis impressed the Rams staff with his football knowledge. Spagnuolo compared him to a quarterback in that department. 

He could tell you everything about the wide outs, and I'm not sure he couldn't design the offensive line and what their protection rules were. He was real impressive.

Pete Prisco at CBS gives the Rams an A for their second round pick. He dings them for the Pettis pick because of his lack of speed.

This is a pick I really like. Kendricks is a pass-catching tight end who will help open up the field for Sam Bradford.

He [Pettis] is a nice player, but he doesn't run that well. The Rams need deep speed. There were better options.

Sports Illustrated noted the potential for Kendricks to make a difference in the Rams' passing game with his speed.

He's undersized for a modern tight end, but one who found time to catch 43 passes last year for a Wisconsin offense that ran at will on most opponents. If he lives up to his pass-catching potential, it could prove a good, solid pick. Sam Bradford and the Rams desperately need help after a season in which they ranked 30th league-wide in average per pass attempt.

ESPN's John Clayton did not like what the NFC West did with their draft...except for the Rams.

The NFC West outside of St. Louis: Listen, we're not debating the values of cornerback Patrick Peterson going to Arizona or linebacker Aldon Smith going to San Francisco. Peterson could be the next Charles Woodson. The 49ers desperately need pass-rushing help. The Seahawks stunned everyone by taking offensive tackle James Carpenter. But the knock on the division is that none of its teams took a quarterback in the first round. I know the 49ers are going to re-sign Alex Smith and the Cardinals might add Marc Bulger. But in a quarterback-driven league, to see three NFC West teams in desperate need of quarterbacks pass on the position is still stunning. At the moment, Sam Bradford of the Rams is the division's only legit starter.

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