Draft Grades: Rams


This was initially a post on stlcardsfan's post. I really recommend looking at it. I only posted this as a FanPost because it was so long and the chances of people reading a comment that long are low.

I intend to do a 1st Round Draft Grade post sometime in the week, but a busy schedule is stopping me right now.

[Please, check the links, they're all carefully selected and this post is a labour of love...]

Opening Thoughts.

My biggest issue with this draft is how much of an investment in McDaniels we've made. I've said it before, you don't pay a guy 3+mil a year to be a nobody. He's going to come in and directly influence our draft, having proven he has no clue.

I don't understand why people say he's good working with the talent around him, and adopts his system to suit them when when he joins a team, he blows up the offense and picks 'his guys'.

VanRam said that a DT and OLB were higher on our board than Kendricks, but they bent over to McDaniels' desires.I said in a post months ago this would be a recipe for disaster. I'm scared. Hopefully I'm wrong, but I'm scared. It sets a bad precedent.

Again, this fear stems from such a heady investment in a guy who may not be here in 2 years time, with no long term successor being groomed below him.

For me, coming into this draft we had some specific needs.

Firstly: #1 WR - I believed this was of the utmost importance in giving Sam a reliable weapon. The only player I scouted and believed fit this? AJ Green, selected 4th Overall. I went so far as to say that Julio Jones would not be a good fit, and I'd pass on him for someone else. That decision was taken out of our hands, and I don't doubt Julio being a success in ATL, mainly because he has Roddy White opposite him... it's an excellent situation for him.

We then had various needs at positions like Guard, OLB, S, DT, DE, RB and in my opinion a legit TE.

The fact we didn't get a single guard is shocking quite frankly. If Greco was hurt last season, I wouldn't mind so much, but he LOST OUT to someone who got blown up nearly every run down! Something must be wrong.

OLB cost us at least 2 games, San Fran Away and Seattle away. We got ripped on short passes to the flats. That's unnacceptable. Yes, we have some nice players at the position, but what they lacked was the athleticism to make a play laterally. This draft was light on talent at this position, so I'm not too shocked, however to pass on Mason Foster in the 3rd round is something only defensible by a major character red flag or a major scheme ill-fit. From everything I've read, he was neither. If he was lower on our draft board than Pettis, that is a poorly constructed board IMO. Drafting is about a marriage between need and BPA and Pettis, while a solid prospect, is not that.

Having lost Atogwe we have no one to start at FS, NO ONE. We already needed to upgrade Dahl because his coverage deficiencies were glaring. In a draft weak at S, not getting one early was unsurprising, and I can't complain too much, especially as we addressed it late. I do trust Spags to coach these guys up. Darian Stewart was an UDFA and he looked impressive in limited action, despite limited tools.

At DT we need to cover ourselves for injury to the 30+ Fred Robbins and upgrade over Gary Gibson (especially as Clifton Ryan is looking like a goner). Having Paea and Austin available to us in round 2 was a gift that we declined. I place blame for this on McDaniels. I had from a good source that we were interested in Austin at DT in round 2. VanRam stated we had a DT higher on the board... without trying to be too outlandish, that makes sense right? yet McD said get a TE and we did. This is disappointing because of the reasons stated in your post aswell as the initial point I made about my disappointment in this draft (concerning McD)

We addressed DE magnificently IMO. Can't fault that. As to TE, value was available late on in players like Virgil Green (who fell due to injury red flag) and Kendricks was a good prospect, however he would have made more sense in the 3rd from a BPA/need perspective.

The fact we ignored RB when we had some fantastic value late on is disappointing, but McDaniels doesn't use RBs so that isn't so surprising. Regardless, from a 7th round BPA perspective I don't know how Noel Devine or Derrick Locke isn't rated higher on your board than a D3 OLB, regardless of his upside. The fact they went undrafted leaves some hope, so I won't lambast them there, especially as I like round 7.

So... From what was meant to be a quick great job on the initial post... it's gotten kinda long... but anyway... gotta hit this with my draft grades, I'm in the zone now.

Draft Grades:

Round 1:

Robert Quinn.

Adore this pick. He's a beast with time to grow, he should immediately help our D Line, giving us that long term vision at the End spot that is so crucial. He and Long are perfect compliments and it was a dream scenario he fell into our hands. His tumour was benign and removed, and as such, shouldn't pose an issue. If it was still in his head, it'd indicate a complication with it, and as such, it'd be risky. Our doctors approve it, my inexpert analysis approves it, and his talent is undeniable.


Round 2:

Lance Kendricks.

Very surprised by this pick. I don't like what went on behind it, and while his game tape is impressive and the fact that he has the ability to be a versatile weapon in our offense, he will always be judged by who he was selected over. Personally, I don't see how you can invest so much in a position like TE. As said in the post above, there's a great deal at TE for us and while Kendricks has elite potential (willingness to block, speed, soft hands, large frame) knowing others were higher on the board undermines this from the BPA argument.


Round 3:

Austin Pettis.

This guys hands really impress me, his size is nice too. All the things I've heard from Devaney and Spags about him are impressive too. He's a dilligent, tough competitor who killed the interview. That's great. He's versatile as well. However, he doesn't fill a need. He is just another person thrown into the rotation replacing a guy who is only a year older than him and further along in a development cycle. I struggle to get on board with this. Also, as a person who would have said no to JULIO JONES I just can't get on board with this pick, especially in round 3, regardless of how good his hands and size and intelligence/intangibles are. He will not alleviate the singular issue of our WR corps, that is a downfield, big target. He projects as an excellent and dependable #2 WR/


Round 4:

Greg Salas.

Just WTF. A smaller version of Austin Pettis. This is a terrible pick in my opinion. How do you basically draft a smaller version of the guy you got in the previous round? He may be a better prospect according to some, but then why is Pettis the pick in Round 3? It's lose lose here. Nothing more to say than what I've already said with regards to investing in McD.


Round 5:

Jermale Hines.

Finally a pick at a position of need. He's not an Atogwe ball hawking safety, but let's be honest, there wasn't one in this draft. I'd be intrigued to find out who Devaney was 'drooling' over in Round 2, as the only safety I can recollect being taken before Pettis was Aaron Williams of Texas. Hines fits the prototype of a Spags Safety, I can dig that. The fact he is just a bigger Craig Dahl inspires little hope, but coverage is more technique based and can be refined. The bigger issue with this pick is the fact that his lateral movement is a weakness, which is tough to remedy. The fact he can line up at OLB in Nickel sets is nice to hear.


Round 7:

Jabara Williams.

I really like this pick. Sure he's from a small school. but I couldn't give two craps. He's athletic and thats what we needed. In a light OLB class, and passing on the only known 'good' prospects at the position, he's a nice compensation. Considering that Hull looked promising and Vobora is still on the team, there is space for Williams to make the OLB rotation, and I'd hope his athleticism is refined into a well rounded product at OLB.


Mikail Baker.

We really needed some speed in the secondary and this guy has it. I like his willingness to tackle and his physical skill set as well as his return skills. Amendola has been a soldier in the return game, but he lacks the speed to break huge ones consistently. Baker does. I love this. This gives him immediate value on our team, from the 7th round, that's excellent. His special teams tackling is also excellent. Speed at gunner was also a need. His biggest flaw is coverage, but as previously stated it can be coached up and thankfully he has the physical tools to develop into a very exciting prospect.


Jonathan Nelson.

This guy is an undersized safety but he is athletic and he plays bigger than he is. He's played at Oklahoma so he comes from a good system and has shown the ability to blow up a WR in the middle of the field and soft hands to make the INT. Now in terms of immediate value it's in special teams, but seeing Darian Stewart play like he did last year makes me hopeful Nelson can do this. Despite this hope, right now we have no one who projects as a starting replacement for Atogwe at FS. This scares me. His upside is there, but Day 1 I don't imagine him starting at FS.



So all in all, this last round made up for the stutters in 2 to 4 IMO. Now while I am and was not on board with those selections (2 to 4) I will back them all I can, as any and every fan should.

I like the fact we have some reliable hands, which is IMO. the number 1 requirement of any WR, but as someone who's been impressed by the positive steps made from our young WR corps, I fear for them. McD hasn't even met them and he's looking to replace them with 'his guys', I don't like that. It's too loosely reminiscent of his time in Denver.

There's scope to address the glaring miss of a G and DT in FA, aswell as RB. Barry Cofield and Reggie Bush make sense as low cost upgrades.

This draft did bring in good players, which cannot be faulted, however I don't see many or any 'impact' guys or instant 'playmakers' which again is not the most confidence inspiring thing.

Overall I give this draft a C+. The plus is for Quinn, and the rest is because I'm entirely apathetic towards it. It stirred some big feelings immediately, and the worry is there, however the only way this can be allayed is through the passage of time and seeing how these guys pan out. I'm wishing them the best and hope all my fears are unfounded.

Welcome to STL boys!

Final Grade: