A Half Decade of Drafts for the St. Louis Rams: The Picks, The Grades...The Turnover

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

With less than two weeks until the 2014 NFL Draft, we revisit the St. Louis Rams last five drafts. Who’d they pick? Who’s left? And how were they graded at the time?

The St. Louis Rams have drafted 43 players inside the NFL Draft’s seven rounds over the course of the past five years.  They’ve taken a single Pro Bowler, a few solid players who can now be deemed veterans, and a slew of guys still trying to make a name for themselves.  ESPN’s draft expert, Mel Kiper, weighs in immediately after each year’s draft.  How did he grade the Rams?  More importantly, based on the information below, how do you grade them over the past half decade?


Jason Smith, OT, Baylor [2nd overall]
James Laurinaitis, LB, Ohio State [35th overall]
Bradley Fletcher, CB, Iowa [66th overall]
Dorell Scott, DT, Clemson [103rd overall]
Foster Brooks, WR, UNC [160th overall]
Keith Null, QB, West Texas A&M [196th overall]
Chris Ogbonnaya, RB, Texas [211th overall]

2009 Grade: C
If I were the Rams, I would have taken Mark Sanchez at the No. 2 spot, but I do like offensive tackle Jason Smith. Inside linebacker James Laurinaitis was a good selection in the second round. Cornerback Bradley Fletcher would've gone higher if he had better speed. There were better quarterbacks available in the sixth round, when they took Keith Null.
Players Remaining:  1
Players Lost:  6


Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma [1st overall]
Rodger Saffold, OT, Indiana [33rd overall]
Jerome Murphy, CB, South Florida [65th overall]
Mardy Gilyard, WR, Cincinnati [99th overall]
Michael Hoomanawanui, TE, Illinois [132nd overall]
Hall Davis, DE, Louisiana-Lafayette [149th overall]
Fendi Onobun, TE, Arizona [170th overall]
Eugene Sims, DE, West Texas [189th overall]
Marquis Johnson, DB, Alabama [211th overall]
George Selvie, DE, South Florida [226th overall]
Josh Hull, LB, Penn State [245th overall]

2010 Grade: C+
There's no way around the fact that this draft will come down to whether Sam Bradford becomes a star. I certainly think he has that kind of talent, but there's good reason to believe it shouldn't be right away. Bradford has to convert to a pro-style system, and as smart and accurate as he is, let's just be realistic given the recent history of shotgun quarterbacks coming to the NFL. I don't mind the Rodger Saffold pick, but he likely is headed to the right side. Mardy Gilyard has some value, but the bigger issue with this draft is this: Every other team in the NFC West got better this weekend, and it's hard to know whether St. Louis really did. Again, it goes back to the long-range plans for Bradford.
Players Remaining:  3
Players Lost:  8


Robert Quinn, DE, UNC [14th overall]
Lance Kendricks, TE, Wisconsin [47th overall]
Austin Pettis, WR, Boise State [78th overall]
Greg Salas, WR, Hawaii [112th overall]
Jermaile Hines, CB, Ohio State [158th overall]
Mikail Baker, CB, Baylor [216th overall]
Jabara Williams, LB, Stephen F. Austin [228th overall]
Jonathan Nelson, DB, Oklahoma [229th overall]

2011 Grade: B
St. Louis got a lot done, and now unquestionably looks like a franchise ready to take that next step. Nobody got better immediate dividends from the draft than the Rams in 2010 with fantastic rookie seasons from Sam Bradford and Rodger Saffold, and they could have the early-impact player in this draft with the addition of Quinn. Had he played at all in 2010, this is a player who could have been in the mix as a No. 1 overall pick. To get him at No. 14 is a steal in terms of talent. Then St. Louis immediately started targeting solutions in the passing game. Kendricks, Pettis and Salas could all help Bradford, who did a lot with a pretty weak cast of wideouts last year. The Rams didn't get any help at guard or defensive tackle, but given their needs, they didn't have enough picks to cover them all.
Players Remaining:  3
Players Lost:  5


Michael Brockers, DT, LSU [14th overall]
Brian Quick WR, Appalachian State [33rd overall]
Janoris Jenkins, WR, North Alabama [39th overall]
Isaiah Pead, RB, Cincinnati [50th overall]
Trumaine Johnson, CB, Montana [65th overall]
Chris Givens, WR, Wake Forest [96th overall]
Rokevious Watkins, OG, South Carolina [150th overall]
Greg Zuerlein, K, Missouri Western [171st overall]
Aaron Brown, LB, Hawaii [209th overall]
Daryl Richardson, RB, Abilene Christian [252nd overall]

2012 Grade: B-
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)? Let's see. Michael Brockers helps a need area, but there's developmental work to be done. I really like Brian Quick, and he has the upside of a No. 1 wide receiver, with a big frame (6-4, 220) and pretty good speed. He'll need some developmental work given the leap in levels. You know the off-the-field story on Janoris Jenkins. He's a risk, but he's a top-10 talent if he can stay focused on football. I'm a fan of the traits Isaiah Pead can bring to this offense. If he'd gone early in Round 2 it wouldn't have been a surprise. He's explosive. Trumaine Johnson is a good value at cornerback, and Chris Givens could become a starter. Greg Zuerlein was the top kicker on my board. The Rams got a lot of players, but also inherited some risk with development to be done. Not a bad draft in my eyes, and they have more picks on the way courtesy of the Redskins.
Players Remaining:  8
Players Lost:  2


Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia [8th overall]
Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia [30th overall]
TJ McDonald, DB, USC [71st overall]
Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia [92nd overall]
Barrett Jones, C/OG, Alabama [113th overall]
Brandon McGee, CB, Miami [149th overall]
Zac Stacy, RB, Vanderbilt [160th overall]

2013 Grade: A-
The Rams really needed to add a wide receiver (or two), and they really needed to add a safety. I thought they could use a running back, and if they had a guard available, that would be good. Well, the Rams did well. We can sit and remind ourselves that they don't have Robert Griffin III and that's part of the reason they have the ability to maneuver so well, but we forget the Rams improved as much or more than the Redskins last season, and we don't know exactly what RG III will do early in 2013. St. Louis crushed the WR question, adding Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey. (Know who caught 113 passes to Austin's 111 at West Virginia last year? That was Bailey.) Alec Ogletree is an impact performer. Put him next to James Laurinaitis and throw away the key. T.J. McDonald wouldn't have been my safety choice at No. 71, but he wasn't much of a reach and they clearly like the fit. He'll start, too.Barrett Jones is your depth at guard, and I think Zac Stacy could see some action at running back. I really liked this draft, and found myself in agreement with my colleagues. Oh, and they still have an extra first-rounder next year. The NFC West arms race is not just a two-team affair.
Players Remaining:  7
Players Lost:  0

Overall:


Kipers Grades:  A- [2013], B [2011], B- [2012], C+ [2010], C [2009]
Total Players Drafted:  43
Total Players Retained:  22
Total Players Lost:  21

*****

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