Jeff Fisher and Les Snead took over as head coach and general manager for the St. Louis Rams in 2012, with the hopes of righting the ship for a team who’d struggled for years to post a .500 record. They immediately got to work, releasing a slew of veterans, signing a bunch of Titans, while also placing a big focus on building through the draft.
And as any coach/GM would like it, the Rams had a slew of picks to work with. Ten, to be exact. So here’s how Fisher/Snead utilized the picks to fill a few holes on the squad [from Draft History]:
Fast forward to present day, four seasons later, and the Rams currently have TWO of the players from their 2012 draft locked up for the 2016 season. Michael Brockers, their first pick that year, will be a free agent at the end of this year, as the Rams exercised their fifth year option on him last April. He’s played very well for the Rams throughout his first four seasons in the league and the Rams were wise to use the option on him. Another smart move would be to find a way to extend him for a few more years before he hits free agency at the end of this season. But there are no guarantees with free agency negotiations of course. Players want to get paid.
The other player, as it stands, is cornerback Trumaine Johnson, who the Rams franchise tagged yesterday. They’ll look to bang out a deal with Johnson before the end of the year in hopes of retaining him for the foreseeable future. If not, he too will be a free agent in 2017.
As for the rest...
Brian Quick - 2016 UFA
Quick was a bit of a head-scratcher at the top of the 2nd round in 2012. The Rams grabbed the Appalachian State product with intentions of developing him into the big-bodied, stud receiver they’d been missing. Rams’ WR’s coach Ray Sherman went as far as to draw Terrell Owens comparisons.
The issue is that none of that came to fruition for Quick or the Rams. There were glimpses of what could be, but the rubber never truly met the road. He’d miss only one game in his first two seasons, but tallied only 19 catches for 458 yards. Hardly what you’d expect from a near-1st round pick over a two year period. Quick gave the fan base some hope in 2014, where he showed flashes of big-play ability. His season would end in Week 7, due to what was considered a career-threatening [shoulder] injury. Quick would return to the field in 2015, but the momentum he’d started building in 2014 stayed there. He played in 13 games last year, caught 10 balls for 102 yards, and no touchdowns.
Fans will never let the regime forget that Alshon Jeffery was available when they took Quick.
Janoris Jenkins - 2016 UFA
You’d have to be living under a rock not to know what’s going on with Janoris these days. A little over a week ago, he took to twitter to let the world know how disappointed he was with the Rams initial offer [5 years, $45M] to re-sign him, despite the Rams publicly stating that retaining him and Trumaine was the team’s "Priority A." He didn’t stop there either. A few evenings later, he opted to get back on Twitter to let it be known how disrespectful their offer was.
Total disrespect when u held down one side all 4 years and force the ball the other way.. #ThanksButNoThanks— Mr.Pix6Sh*t/Clamps (@JjenkzLockdown) February 29, 2016
As aforementioned, the Rams tagged Johnson yesterday, leaving Janoris to test the waters of free agency. Expect the Rams to continue negotiating with Jenkins and his new agent, but it’s apparent the numbers aren’t lining up for Janoris, and he may be playing elsewhere in 2016.
Isaiah Pead - Out of the NFL
Chris Givens - Traded to Ravens. 2016 UFA
Givens provided the Rams with a young, speedy receiver in 2012, and he quickly gained name recognition around the league. Givens played in 15 games his rookie year, hauling in 42 catches for a team-high 698 yards, and three touchdowns. He tallied his first career touchdown on a 51-yard reception against the Cardinals in Week 5. He’d go on to catch a pass of 50+ yards in five consecutive games, which is an NFL record for rookies.
And then it began to unravel. The stats and the playing time dwindled away, and in October 2015 Givens was traded to the Baltimore Ravens for a 2018 7th round pick.
Rokevious Watkins - Out of the NFL. Offensive Lineman in the AFL
Bad. Watkins showed up to camp overweight and out of shape. He wouldn’t be allowed to participate in practice for several days.
He played in the season opener that year [vs. Lions], before being put on season-ending IR. Eating his way to health, Watkins showed up at training camp overweight and out of shape again in 2013. The Rams released him, allowing him to go eat as he pleased.
Greg Zuerlein - 2016 UFA
Zuerlein was a welcomed addition to the team as kicker, and earned himself the nickname "Greg the Leg" early in 2012, as a result of his propensity to hit from distance. In Week 4 of his rookie year [vs. Seahawks], Zuerlein set a franchise record by knocking in a FG from 58 yards out. He’d break his own record that same game, hitting from 60.
Greg also earned the nickname "Legatron," again as a result of his ability to hit from distance. That would eventually be stolen by fellow rookie kicker Blair Walsh.
Zuerlein, unfortunately, has gotten into the business of missing very makable field goals. He ranked 22nd in the NFL in converted field goals in 2015, slightly up from his 28th ranking in 2014.
The Rams have a 6th round pick this year, and it wouldn’t come as a surprise if they utilized it on his replacement.
Aaron Brown - Out of the NFL
Bad. Didn’t make the 53-man roster in 2012. The Rams stashed him on the practice squad his rookie year, and he was never to be seen in the NFL again.
Daryl Richardson - Currently with the Pittsburgh Steelers through 2016
D-Rich, as many fans called him, was actually a very pleasant surprise for the Rams. With Isaiah Pead being as bad [see above] as he was, Richardson became the primary backup to Steven Jackson in 2012. He’d play in all 16 games, rushed for 475 yards on 98 attempts, and also caught 24 passes for 163 yards.
The Rams, looking for a more durable option to carry the load, drafted Zac Stacy in 2013. He’d take over as the team’s primary back that year, essentially spelling the end of the Richardson’s tenure with the team. He’d only play eight games his sophomore year, and saw much less time on the field. He was waived in May 2014, and would be picked up by the Jets shortly thereafter.
Depending on the team’s intentions this offseason, it’s quite possible the Fisher/Snead era Rams enter the 2016 season with only two of their original ten draft picks from 2012.
Aside from Janoris Jenkins, is there really anything worth retaining?