[Note by VanRam, 09/05/11 2:15 PM EDT ] Front page'd by Van. This is a great read on the Rams' recent draft classes...and what a difference they've made.
It is a general relief to say that there are few leftovers from the Martz-Linehan regimes. Aside from a very few good players like SJax, Ron Bartell and Chris Long, the number of past draft failures is staggering. I get physically ill when I think about wastes like Alex Barron, Tye Hill, Adam Carriker, Brian Leonard, Joe Klop, Richie Incognito, et.al. The latest guy to go was Donnie Avery. There's another 2nd rounder gone, and nobody else wants him either. And aside from the draft failures, Martz, Linehan, Zygmunt, Shaw and company let a lot of good players get away going as far back as London Fletcher, Dre' Bly, Grant Wistrom to Brandon Chillar and Madison Hedgecock. The cumulative effect of these personnel mistakes led to the Rams being weak after 2003 to being a laughing stock from 2005-2009.
So now the question becomes how good of a job have Devaney/Spags done the last three years? Right off the bat it's obvious they have been much better than their predecessors. Of course they did have the luxury of picking 2nd and 1st overall their first two years. I guess Martz-Linehan gets credit for us picking at the top. Thanks alot guys.
IMHO, there's good and bad in the Devaney/Spags picks versus pretty much all bad for Martz-Linehan. I was NOT thrilled with BD/Spags very first pick; Jason Smith. This guy was chosen 2nd overall and is being paid $33M to be an average NFL right tackle. He also may be susceptible to concussions (that means we need a very good b/u not named Adam Goldbrick). My guess is Smith will either break out this year or forever be just a decent player with a much lower salary. 2nd pick of 2009, JL, was a touchdown. He reminds me of great old time guys like Ray Nitscke, Mike Curtis and Hacksaw Reynolds. He'll soon be getting Pro-Bowl invites and more $$$. #3 pick Brad Fletcher seems to be fully adequate. After that nobody's left from the 2009 draft but Darell Scott. And I figured he would've been cut by now. I'm not losing any sleep over having already cut our 5-7th rounds picks. They were laughers. These guys aren't the type players championship teams are made of.
Looking at the 2010 Draft we got two genuine stars and potential Pro-Bowlers in Brad and Saffold. Could not have asked for better with the 1st two picks. The only thing I hated was that the 1st pick had to be between Sam and Suh. Both guys should be multiple time Pro-Bowlers and HOF's. I didn't like Murphy picked 3rd, nor Gilyard at 4th. Murph is done for at least a year due to injury and Gilyard has been rightly jettisoned. That tough to have to cut a guy picked 99th overall. But I admire the FO for bucking up and taking the hit. After Gilyard, there's just not much value there. Hoom reminds me of an injury magnet ala Carriker and Avery. And I hope Sims and Josh Hull can be encased in glass with an ax handy to break them out only in case of dire emergency. Davis, Johnson and Onobun were laughers. Selvie was, and is, too small to to routinely play DE in this league. But I wish him good luck at Charlotte, if he sticks.
Now on to 2011. If you read any of my previous comments it's obvious I was against the Robert Quinn pick when it was 1st announced. I was waaay in the minority. All the talking heads and pundits loved him. BUT, at least 3 teams wouldn't even consider him because of previous serious health problems that are currently dormant. And God bless him, I pray they stay dormant. But, in all honesty, when you add in the existing health issues and the fact he missed his senior year of collegiate fb on an honors violation, I'd have passed on Quinn and taken Corey Liuget. We've brought in alot of guys in their 30's in an attempt to win now. We don't have 2-3 years for Quinn to shed the rust and contribute. Our D-Line guys like James Hall and Fred Robbins are getting old. I belly-ached about picking TE Kendricks with our 2nd pick, but I was apparently 100% wrong on that one. He's being lauded as our best TE and a lock starter. Good, we need him. Next we chose WR's Pettis and Salas with 3rd and 4th picks. These choices made my head hurt. WHY with a stable of #2 or #3 receivers onboard did we add two more? Especially two guys that are considered slow. It seems we have plenty of slow second rate receivers. Why not try to trade our 3rd and 4th picks for a second round pick to have a shot at getting someone with #1 WR potential? I can't get excited about Hines at 5th and two 7th picks have already been cut. Again, I'd like to see as few 6-7th rounders and UDFA's on the team as possible. The odds have gotta be 20-1 or worse of getting a credible player out of the 7th round. A classic example is the now cut David Vobora, who was a 3-year project that failed. I have nothing against Vobora except that he hurt our team every time he took the field to play. But he was not the only one.
We're very fortunate to have hit on a few stars in the past 3 drafts. And, we finally picked up some much needed NFL caliber players in the 2011 FA. We did very little good in FA during 2009 and 2010 aside from maybe Jason Brown and Mark Clayton. James Butler, Ni'all Diggs, Hollis Thomas, Hank Fraley, etc. weren't very good. But, this year we scored highly by acquiring Dahl, MSW, Mikell, Bannan, Caddy, Norwood, Poppy, Leber and maybe even this Wragge guy. I would not be surpised to still see Kehl, Feeler, Scott, King, Chamberlain and a few others dumped for better players that were castoff by other teams. Anyway, I'd feel better about our chances if they were replaced.
Below are lists of the players drafted over the last 3 years showing who's still standing and who's been toasted. Make up your own minds on how to rate the success. Because so many draftees have already been cut, my disappointment with Smith, my fear of Quinn, the fact some more guys are still likely to fall and they fact we drafted high, i.e. 2nd, 1st and 14th overall, the very best I could rate our 3-year draft succes is a B- -. But that sure beats the F- I'd give Martz-Linehan.
1.Round One (2)- Jason Smith OT
2.Round Two (35)- James Laurinaitis LB
3.Round Three (66)- Bradley Fletcher CB
4.Round Four (103)- Darell Scott DT
5.Round Five (160)- Brooks Foster WR
6.Round Six (196)-
Keith Null QB
7.Round Seven (217)-
Chris Ogbonnaya RB
First round, pick 1: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
Second round, pick 1 (33): Rodger Saffold, OT, Indiana
Third round, pick 1 (65), Jerome Murphy, CB, South Florida
Fourth round, pick 1 (99), Mardy Gilyard , WR, Cincinnati
Fifth round, pick 1 (132), Michael Hoomanawanui, TE, Illinois
Fifth round, pick 18 (149), Hall Davis , DE, Louisiana-Lafayette Sixth round, pick 1 (170), Fendi Onobun , TE, Houston
Sixth round, pick 20 (189), Eugene Sims, DE, West Texas A&M
Seventh round, pick 4 (211), Marquis Johnson , DB, Alabama Seventh round, pick 19 (226), George Selvie , DE, South Florida
Seventh round, pick 47 (compensatory, 254), Josh Hull, ILB, Penn State
1st Round: Robert Quinn
2nd Round: Lance Kendricks
3rd Round: Austin Pettis
4th Round: Greg Salas