Nobody cares about Mel Kiper's NFL Draft grades until they do. Well, the Hair liked what the St. Louis Rams did in this year's draft, so you can put him back in your good graces for the next year. It's never bad to get an "A" no matter who's giving it to you.
And, yes, these are draft grades for players who still haven't played a snap of NFL football. Take it with a grain of salt.
Overall grade: A
Summary: I've been saying this roster was going to be loaded, and it's really there. Les Snead and Co. just keep piling up talent. The draft only dips for two small reasons, but I'll get to those later. Starting at the top, Greg Robinson brings that rare potential to be a star offensive tackle. Yeah, it's projection. But Walter Jones, Jonathan Ogden -- these are the names that get mentioned by really smart football people. Robinson doesn't have to start at tackle, more likely left guard, which will aid his development.
The Rams offensive line has been hurting for true blue chip players for a long time, since Orlando Pace left. Singing Jake Long has been great. Re-signing Rodger Saffold helps too. But Robinson looks like the first super star linemen the team can count on for the next decade.
Aaron Donald isn't the same type of player as Sheldon Richardson, but could be the Richardson of 2013. By that I mean the breakout rookie, taken in the same range, and plugged into a situation that was already considered a strength. Richardson blew up on a solid Jets D-line; Donald can do the same here. The kid is a stud, and the this line is terrifying.
There's a simple premise behind this pick: Be really great at one thing, and reinforce that. The Rams defensive line was already stellar, the heart and soul of the team. It's absolutely their identity now.
Yes, the Rams needed a corner, and not only does the certainty of pressure make the secondary better, they got a versatile talent in Lamarcus Joyner. He's undersized, but he's that hybrid in the secondary, a slot safety type who is on the field all the time. Tre Mason is solid depth at RB, and Maurice Alexander has starting potential. Garrett Gilbert isn't a player I'd consider a challenger at QB, but there's upside, and they needed the depth. E.J. Gaines adds depth at corner. While there isn't much of an immediate need for Michael Sam along the defense line, he gives them depth in the pass rush and is a high-effort player with a chance to contribute despite average athleticism. I agree with Jeff Fisher that he's a good value late in Round 7. The Rams get dinged a little because I think they should have taken at least one WR in a draft loaded with them, and the fact that they still have a question at QB -- after all, this draft haul is tied to the fact that they opted not to draft Robert Griffin III. They have a ton of talent, but the QB question lingers.
Joyner's the player I'm most excited to see from the players selected after the first round. I love the idea of more versatility in the secondary. Speaking of the secondary, the coaching staff has a big job to take all that raw talent back there and mold into a well-rounded unit.
Tre Mason was a "meh" pick for me. And the Rams' batting average with running backs is relatively low. Hopefully, he can do what Isaiah Pead and Daryl Richardson never really could as a home-run threat to mix in with the plodders.
The rest of the group, including Michael Sam, is a talent grab. Not all of those players will be around in September, but the ones who do stick will hopefully improve the depth chart.