NFL Draft Countdown: Revisiting the St. Louis Rams 3rd Round Picks

Former Ram Jerome Murphy Does Weak Pushups While Former Ram Cadillac Williams Celebrates - J. Meric

We’re a mere three days away from the 2013 NFL Draft. The countdown rolls on, as we take a look at what the St. Louis Rams have done in the 3rd round of the draft since 1995.

Let’s face the facts, folks...What you’ve witnessed since the start of this draft countdown hasn’t been pretty. The Rams have - for the most part - whiffed on the majority of their late round draft picks over the past 18 years. Every round has it’s gems, but the majority of their mid-to-late round picks have been more miss, than hit. If you’ve missed the excitement of revisiting the round-by-round struggles, you can click any of the links below...


* St. Louis Rams 7th Round Selections


* St. Louis Rams 6th Round Selections


* St. Louis Rams 5th Round Selections


* St. Louis Rams 4th Round Selections


...Your moans and groans have been heard loud and clear over the course of the past four days. As each round is revisited, it becomes clearer why the team has struggled to consistently put together winning seasons over the course of the past decade [plus].


As mentioned in the 7th rounders piece - which can be chalked up to common knowledge - it’s far more difficult to find serviceable, retainable, memorable players in the later rounds of the draft. Well, it’s fair to say that we’re beyond that point. We’re entering rounds of the draft where you expect to have players contribute - potentially immediately - and certainly for longer than their rookie contracts would permit.


The past is the past. But how do you feel the Rams have done while on the clock in the 3rd round of the NFL draft?


St. Louis Rams 3rd Round Selections


Year

Pick

Player

Pos

College

2012

65

Trumaine Johnson

CB

Montana

2011

78

Austin Pettis

WR

Boise State

2010

65

Jerome Murphy

CB

South Florida

2009

66

Bradley Fletcher

CB

Iowa

2008

65

John Greco

OT

Toledo

2007

84

Jonathan Wade

CB

Tennessee

2006

68

Claude Wroten

DT

LSU


77

Jon Alston

LB

Stanford


93

Dominique Byrd

TE

USC

2005

66

O.J. Atogwe

S

Stanford


81

Richie Incognito

G

Nebraska

2004

91

Anthony Hargrove

DE

Georgia Tech

2003

74

Kevin Curtis

WR

Utah State

2002

84

Lamar Gordon

RB

North Dakota St.


95

Eric Crouch

?

Nebraska

2001

83

Brian Allen

LB

Florida State

2000

94

John St. Clair

C

UVA

1999

68

Rich Coady

S

Texas A&M

1998

65

Leonard Little

LB

Tennessee

1997





1996

83

Jerald Moore

RB

Oklahoma

1995

82

Steve McLaughlin

K

Arizona


Total Number of Rams Draft Picks Since 1995: 156


Total Number of 3rd Round Draft Picks Since 1995: 21

13.5% of overall picks


With the addition of the 3rd round selections, the Rams have now utilized 73.7% of their picks on rounds 3-7. At this point, the statistics may not be startling, but remember how the Rams used nearly a third [32%] of their overall draft picks on 6th and 7th round picks. Remember, 14.3% is the amount [per round] that a team would take in each round if they were to stay put and not trade any of their picks. Here’s the breakdown thus far:


Round

Picks

% of Overall [156]

7

33

21.1%

6

17

10.9%

5

22

14.1%

4

22

14.1%

3

21

13.5%

2

?

?

1

?

?


In the event your calculator is broken, we’ve revisited 115 of the possible 156 draft picks over the past 18 years. That leaves the Rams with 41 very valuable 1st and 2nd round selections. You should look forward to quite a few “can’t afford to miss” players. But I digress...


The Rams have chosen four CB’s in the 3rd round over the course of the past six years. Sadly, last year’s pick - Trumaine Johnson - is the only one who remains on the roster. Seems to be a trend, no? The Rams have shown a propensity [at times] to go for a certain position in a round, yet the result is a short stay with the team. "Cornerback in the 3rd" appears to be no exception.


That being said - unlike year’s past - rookie Rams of 2012 proved to be a crop of players who were able to step in and immediately compete for starting roles. Trumaine didn’t see as much time as some of the other rookies, but he's received praise from Head Coach Jeff Fisher and GM Les Snead. Johnson’s size is something coveted by the coaching staff, as big/physical corners are something of a necessity in the NFC West, where wide receivers have the qualities to match.


Out with the old and in with the new? Interestingly enough, Trumaine Johnson should expect to see far more playing time in 2013, but it comes as a result of another Rams draftee moving on. Bradley Fletcher - the Rams 2009 3rd round pick - played admirably for the Rams - when healthy. Fletcher missed 21 games over the first three years of his young career due to injury. Coming off of a torn ACL in 2011, Fletcher would ultimately see the Rams pay Cortland Finnegan the big bucks in free agency, so it was only a matter of time.


How about that 2006 draft haul?! With three picks between #68 overall and #93, the Rams were sure to strike a bit of 3rd round gold. Wrong. Those three players - Wroten, Alston, & Byrd - recorded a combined five years of disappointing stats for the Rams. None played for the team more than two seasons. Just so you know, I can hear you groaning again...


And then there’s 2005. O.J. Atogwe put in six admirable seasons for the Rams prior to being released and acquired by the Redskins. Atogwe missed only four games in his six year stint, and ball-hawked himself to 22 INT’s during this span. Richie Incognito? I’ll assume you know how that turned out. The comment section [below] may have been created specifically for this type of feedback.



Eric Crouch proved to be an amazing QB....for Nebraska. He never displayed the wide receiver skills that the Rams would’ve liked to have seen. Unfortunately - for Crouch - he wasn’t playing college football about 10 years later. Short, mobile QB’s stand a much better chance of being drafted in the 3rd round, all while making their team possible favorites in the NFC West these days.


And every so often the Rams find an unforgettable talent. Leonard Little played admirably for the Rams for twelve seasons. He lead the team in sacks in half of those. Little was fortunate enough to play behind the likes of Kevin Carter and Grant Wistrom early in his career, and was on the field when the Rams stopped Kevin Dyson one yard shy of touchdown in Super Bowl XXXIV. He’d go on to make the Pro-Bowl in 2003, and his teammates helped earn him the Ed Block Courage Award in 2005. It’s fair to say Leonard Little is the type of player the Rams should expect to be drafting in the 3rd round. It’s also fair to say that the Rams have come nowhere close to replicating that kind of draft value in the last 15 years.


All together now...Groan!


The 3rd round for the Rams has shown some very memorable players, regardless of the role they

did [or did not] play for the Rams. Finding sustainable value in the 3rd - like rounds 4 through 7 - seems to have escaped the Rams for the most part. Austin Pettis was just as much a question mark coming into the 2013 Free Agency period as Brandon Gibson. Had Austin been sent packing, 3rd round players would have only one player to represent them for the past 18 drafts - Trumaine Johnson.


Which one of these players sticks out in your mind? Can Trumaine Johnson maintain a career the length of a Atogwe? Little? History would suggest he can’t - or more so - won’t.


If you were satisfied with the Rams’ 2013 draft, I'll assume this draft countdown series is only re-affirming your utter belief in "Keeping Calm and Snead On". There’s no stopping this train though, and tomorrow there will be two things you can be certain of....the amount of days left until the 2013 NFL Draft, and the fact that you'll be recapping the Rams 2nd round draft picks for the past 18 years. Yes, I said the second round...

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