With the 2016 NFL Draft in the books, fans can now look back at the last three days and assess how their team’s have improved. I wouldn’t read much into it, but here are what some of the major outlets have to say about the 2016 draft haul, specifically for the Los Angeles Rams...
Dan Kadar, SB Nation (B-)
Jared Goff is the draft's best quarterback who excels at doing the small stuff. With the way he reads a defense, works progressions and fits the ball in a tight window, it's easy to see why he can make an impact early in his career. Tyler Higbee is a good pass catching tight end, but he has a lot of off-field issues. If he had a clean character checklist, he'd have gone much higher. But he's someone the team will have to monitor closely. The Rams smartly just slipped back in the fourth round a little bit to take wide receiver Pharoh Cooper. He can line up all over the field and adds an athletic element to the roster. Josh Forrest, the team's pick at No. 190, can play inside and outside and will be an asset on special teams. Look for sixth-round pick Michael Thomas to stick on the roster. He has a penchant for making tough catches.
Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN (B-)
They traded a mint to move into place to get Jared Goff, and then they did a pretty good job of getting weapons in the passing game despite the fact that they didn't have any picks in Rounds 2 or 3. I'm a fan of Goff -- he is my No. 1 quarterback in this draft -- but this is not a slam-dunk future franchise quarterback. They'll need to be extremely patient and find ways to protect him. What they did do is hand him a couple of useful weapons in the passing game, a little reminiscent of how the Jags tried to add pass-catchers when they drafted Blake Bortles. Tyler Higbee is a second-round talent who got into trouble off the field and landed in the fourth. If you get the talent and not the drama, that's a steal. Pharoh Cooper could be a stud in the slot. He is sudden in his movements, competitive after the catch and should have been drafted earlier. Ultimately, this draft is all about Goff. They gave up SO much for him, it has to work.
Evan Silva, RotoWorld (C+)
The Rams' trade up for Goff will hit if he becomes a franchise quarterback, but it was a costly gamble. In exchange for a 14-spot jump in round one (and two third-day dart throws), Los Angeles sent Tennessee two second-round picks (43, 45), a third-rounder (76), and the Rams' first- and third-round picks in 2017. The Rams also forfeited their 2015 fifth-rounder by selecting backup OT Isaiah Battle in last July's supplemental draft. This is an impossible draft to "grade" because it was so depleted by the Goff trade, and its success or lack thereof is so contingent on how Goff will play. I do believe GM Les Snead made solid use of his remaining resources, securing two long, athletic tight ends and a pair of intriguing day-three wideouts. The Rams' roster remains needy at center and free safety with big short-term questions throughout Goff's supporting cast, and another depleted draft coming in 2017.
Steve Palazzolo, Pro Football Focus (A-)
Day 1: The Rams made the move up to get their franchise quarterback, and they got the best QB in the draft in Goff. Our top-graded FBS quarterback brings a lot of translatable skills to the table, from intermediate and deep accuracy to his handling of pressure to his excellent pocket presence. Goff has improved every year, and he’s still filling out his frame, so given his base of NFL skills, he should continue to get better.
Day 2: No picks
Day 3: Off-field issues aside, Higbee originally had a second-round grade as his +7.9 receiving grade ranked third in the class. He’s one of the most athletic options in the draft and he can become an intermediate weapon for new QB Jared Goff. Cooper can start out as a gimmick player, but he accelerates quickly and can become a vertical option from the slot, pairing well with Goff’s skillset. Thomas is one of our favorite picks in the draft as the No. 38 player on the PFF draft board has great body control and he won contested catches at a higher rate than the other top receivers in the class.
One thing to note is that it’s apparently difficult to look past what the Rams gave up (in the trade with the Titans) in order to get Jared Goff. That said, of the Rams six selections, many of them received draft grades higher than their actual selection. The same can be said about several of their undrafted free agents. And that, for fans, has to be encouraging.
You can also view TST’s draft grades for each of their selections here.
How would you grade it?