This was a fascinating draft class, but one that I thought had several reaches on value and didn't address a pair of needs. I don't know if there was a more deliberate approach to improving a single area of a team. The Rams want to be better running the football, which should help take pressure off a passing game we can't expect to be special, and they seemed to emphasize that goal with every pick. Todd Gurley is a special talent and the best running back available in the draft. I don't dislike the value as much as I typically would -- I've said 1,000 times I don't think taking RBs in Round 1 is a good strategy -- because the Rams have the roster to start winning now, and because a star QB isn't walking through that door, they had to go with the run game. If Gurley gets hurt again, it looks terrible; if he's a stud in 2015, it looks great. It's that simple. In Round 2, Robert Havenstein was a blocker I thought would be available into Round 3, and the same goes for Jamon Brown in Round 3. After drafting a depth/developmental addition at QB in Sean Mannion, the Rams again went for another offensive lineman in Andrew Donnal. For me, the big question is whether all this investment up front leads to a better running game right away and why they didn't add a WR aside from Bud Sasser. After so many quality picks in recent years, it's time to win in St. Louis.
Best pick: Gurley - Taking a running back high might be questionable in today's current game, but Gurley is a special talent.
Questionable pick: Havenstein - I like Havenstein and he might be an effective player, but the second round was a bit early for him.
It's clear the Rams are moving to a power running offense with Gurley and the four offensive linemen that followed him. There's not a lot to get excited about with this draft after Gurley. The linemen are fine, but maybe not stellar players. Mannion could be a solid backup. Sasser was a productive player for Missouri and runs good routes. Ifedi is a sneaky good seventh-round pick. He's a good all-around edge player who put together some really good games at Memphis. Flipping Zac Stacy for a decent inside inside linebacker in Hager was a good move.
Offensive line was the primary need for Jeff Fisher's team, and the Rams certainly attacked that need with a vengeance. They took Wisconsin tackle Rob Havenstein in the second round, Louisville tackle Jamon Brown in the third, Iowa tackle Andrew Donnal in the fourth and Fresno State guard Cody Wichmann in the sixth. Havenstein projects as a right tackle, Donnal can move around, Brown might be better as a guard, and Wichmann is a straight-up mauler on the inside. Of course, these gentlemen will be competing for the honor of blocking for the Rams' first-rounder: Georgia running back Todd Gurley, who could be the best overall offensive player in this draft class if his ACL injury isn't a lingering issue. If new quarterback Nick Foles can live up to his potential, the Rams will be a very dangerous team this season.
As Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk said during NFL Network's broadcast of the draft, Gurley is the whole package at running back and should give the Rams' ground game a huge boost when he gets on the field. Yes, the medical issue will be in the back of everybody's mind, but the Rams landed one of the best tailback prospects to come into the league since Adrian Peterson. Havenstein should set up shop at right tackle, and Brown gives the Rams a solid run blocker. A lot of folks around the league liked Mannion's potential, and he found a good spot in St. Louis.
Best Pick: Third-round pick Jamon Brown was a tackle in college, but I think he can be a good guard and gives them a nice prospect inside.
Questionable move: Drafting a running back in the top 10 is always risky, but it's also a luxury for teams and I am not sure the Rams can afford that. Todd Gurley is a good runner, but he is a back -- and they don't decide titles anymore. That was a strange move for the Rams.
Third-day gem: Sixth-round receiver Bud Sasser is a taller receiver, which the Rams like, and he should be able to get in the rotation.
Analysis: This draft has the stamp of Jeff Fisher all over it, a team that wants to run the ball a lot more. Gurley is a good back, but is this is a team that can afford that luxury? They did get a couple of much-needed offensive linemen.
|89||3||25||Sean Mannion||QB||Oregon St.|
|215||6||40||Cody Wichmann||OG||Fresno St.|