2008 NFL Draft: Mel Kiper Jr. Grades the Rams: C+
Taking DE Chris Long allows Adam Carriker to stay inside at defensive tackle. Some didn't thinkDonnie Avery should have been the first WR to come off the board. It might have been a bit of a reach, but he caught 91 balls and has the ability to make people miss. John Greco is a versatile offensive lineman. CB Justin King has a lot of potential, but he gets beat in coverage far too much. Wide receiver Keenan Burton would have gone higher than the fourth round if he hadn't been slowed by knee and ankle injuries in his senior season. Roy Schuening has a chance to start this year at guard. Chris Chamberlain had a very nice season at Tulsa. And don't forget about OLB David Vobora, aka Mr. Irrelevant, who I thought was a midround pick. Vobora has some ability and I would be surprised if he didn't make this team as a special teams player.
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.
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.
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.
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.