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St. Louis Rams draft grades: First-round surprises

The Rams first round featured two trades, and two picks. So how did they do?


The first round last night was full of surprises. Geno Smith's fall may be the biggest story. Most expected him to be a top 10 pick, but he fell out of the first round entirely. Two guards will picked in the top 10, which is a historical moment in the NFL. Trades were abundant in the first frame, and the Rams were highly involved.

The Rams had two trades in the first round of the draft. They traded up from No. 16 to No. 8 giving up No. 16, their second rounder (No. 46), swapped third rounders (Gave up No. 78, received No. 71) and gave up a seventh (No. 222) to the Bills. Also the Rams traded down from No. 22 to No. 30, gaining the 30th pick, the Falcons third rounder (92) and 6th rounder (198).

To put it in simpler terms: The Rams moved up eight spots to pick Tavon Austin, while knowing they would trade down to recoup their losses. In all their original second round pick is now a third round pick, and one of their seventh rounders is now a sixth. The Rams were able to trade up to get their most desired player and have the same number of picks. This was a tremendous job by Les Snead. Grade: A

Now for the picks themselves.

Tavon Austin: A

I haven't been shy about it. I think Tavon Austin is a special talent. He is one of the most gifted athletes I've studied. His speed and quickness are simply phenomenal. I'm not concerned about his size as most are. He scored 15 TDs his senior year at West Virginia. 14 of those TD would have been good in two hand touch football. He may not break tackles and he may go down easy, but you're going to have to catch him first.

He is a major upgrade over Danny Amendola. He is explosive. He had good hands. He is simply a weapon. Give him the ball and put him to work. Rams fans are going to love him.

Alec Ogletree: D+

I had a third round grade on Alec Ogletree and I'm not going to back off of that now simply because the Rams used a first round pick on him. Ogletree is a great athlete, but I don't think he is a great football player. He's not very physical. he doesn't tackle well. His run defense is poor. He is going to need a lot of coaching.

He is a good in pass coverage due to his experience at safety and his range is great for an outside LB. He can bring many good things to the Rams defense, but I think his weaknesses may hurt the Rams more than most. If the Rams were to use Ogletree as more of a slot LB as we tend to see in college now, with what many call the STAR LB, I am a bigger fan of this pick, as I think Ogletree is perfect in that role.

For now, I have to stick with my first instinct. I really hope I'm wrong, but I do not like this selection.