Mel Kiper, NFL Draft Guru, unveiled his post-season re-grades for the 2012 NFL Draft. Kiper was initially skeptical following the April draft, but has warmed up to it since. Kiper changed tune on the Rams draft moving their grade from a B- to a B+.
Round Pick Position Player College
(1) 14 DT Michael Brockers LSU
(2) 33 WR Brian Quick Appalachian State
(2) 39 CB Janoris Jenkins North Alabama
(2) 50 RB Isaiah Pead Cincinnati
(3) 65 CB Trumaine Johnson Montana
(4) 96 WR Chris Givens Wake Forest
(5) 150 T Rokevious Watkins South Carolina
(6) 171 K Greg Zuerlein Missouri Western
(7) 209 LB Aaron Brown Hawaii
(7) 252 RB Daryl Richardson Abilene Christian
Kiper had this to say of the Rams 2012 draft after they traded the 2nd overall pick:
"The St. Louis Rams got a lot of nice players in Round 2. The downside, as Jon Gruden noted to me, is that this was a team that at one time held the No. 2 overall pick in the draft. The Rams were in a position to draft a guy they assume is capable of stardom. Did they get adequate return in this draft (remember, a lot of the value will be coming in the next few years given the trade parameters)?"
The Rams 2012 draft contained not only quantity but quality as well. The Rams used the 2nd pick in the draft to build an entire team. The Rams left the 2012 draft with impact players, role players, and more future picks. After watching Michael Brockers, Janoris Jenkins, Chris Givens, and Daryl Richardson flash their immense potential, Kiper's tone changed from "was it enough" to this "team really improved."
So far, I think you have to conclude they did. The Rams got eight players in the 2012 draft who have already been contributors, and for a team that really improved. Janoris Jenkins played up to his talent level, and has Pro Bowls in his future. Once healthy, Michael Brockers delivered impact on what will be a very good defensive line. Chris Givens can be a good wide receiver and showed big-play potential, and Brian Quick has a chance to develop. Trumaine Johnson found his way into the starting lineup at corner, and both Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead will see more of the ball next season. And don't forget Greg Zuerlein, who made 23 of 31 field goals, but six of those misses came from beyond 50 yards, where he was a very good 7 of 13 overall. Yes, they gave up a No. 2 pick, but they have a first-rounder in each of the next two drafts, and cashed in with a ton of value from this one. This roster could be one of the league's most talented by 2014. They could have done a lot worse.
New grade: B+
I agree with everything Mel said. The Rams draft was about the future, and all of the players drafted have very high ceilings and room to grow. Some may ask why the Rams draft wasn't given an A. The Rams draft was a good one, but the end result is still unknown. Until the Rams use both of the first round selections the Redskins gave up in order to land RG3, the trade and the 2012 draft won't have a definitive grade.
The 2012 NFL Draft made the St. Louis Rams a better football team. Here's to hoping that trend continues.