I hesitate to share too many draft grades for the St. Louis Rams, especially since they tend be trending solidly to a "B." And there is also the little matter of draft grades handed out this time of year. But one national NFL correspondent gave the Rams the rare, elusive "A" that has escaped them in the wake of the 2011 NFL Draft.
Jason Cole at Yahoo gave the Rams based on two factors. First and most obvious, is the universally loved first-round pick DE Robert Quinn. Hard to argue with that. The move Cole loved just as much as that, was the decision to focus on offense, specifically finding receivers for Sam Bradford to work with with picks in second, third and fourth rounds of the draft.
The really sound moves came in the second, third and fourth rounds when the Rams got Kendricks, Pettis and Salas. This is what a team should do when it drafts a quarterback at No. 1 overall; get him support right away. All three of those players should help QB Sam Bradford(notes), who did a great job of making the most out of very little around him last season. In fact, the Rams were so mediocre last season that Kendricks, Pettis and Salas could easily end up on the field at least 60 percent of the time this season if they're just OK.
Could those three really make big contributions in year one? I'm usually pretty hesitant to set the bar too high for rookie receivers. It's a tough position to learn and the jump from college defenders to professionals is a big leap. Nevertheless, it's not unheard of for a rookie to make an impact, depending in no small part on the team around him. Even Donnie Avery had a solid rookie year with 53 catches and 674 yards, playing with a terrible team.
Sam Bradford is the kind of quarterback that lifts the talent of the receivers around him. His accuracy and enough options to keep a defense on its toes should help rookies make the transition. How much they can contribute in year one remains to be seen. With a bevy of options, they won't have to be relied on for most of the targets.