I guess we're in the midst of offseason grade week for the Los Angeles Rams.
Now, we've got a consensus grade at ESPN from "Insider analysts Bill Polian, Louis Riddick, Mark Dominik and Field Yates." They put the Rams' last few months just above Barnwell's grade with a "C+":
The Rams' trade up to select Jared Goff drew high marks overall. Their belief that they have the roster to support a young quarterback was a tougher sell, even though their offense quietly ranked third in the NFL last season with a 3.6 percent sack rate.
"The narrative is that they have this amazing defense and run game to take the pressure off Goff," Yates said. "The run game, you'll get no argument. But the defense is not a young and amazing defense. It was good, with some incredible individual talents. But they also lost Chris Long, James Laurinaitis, Rodney McLeod and Janoris Jenkins. And we still do not know who Jared Goff is throwing to or even how good he will be."
Dominik liked the trade for Goff. He thought fourth-round choice Tyler Higbee had a shot at developing into an excellent, pass-receiving tight end. The Rams' personnel losses in free agency made it tough for Dominik to give the Rams anything higher than a C-plus grade. Riddick thought a 'D' grade was more appropriate even though he, too, thinks highly of Goff. Riddick feared Goff would get knocked around behind an unproven line while targeting a shaky group of pass-catchers. He also thought the Rams' recurring failures to develop quarterbacks -- they were excited about Nick Foles within the past nine months -- cast doubt on their ability to develop one now.
"Even if Goff steps on the field and plays, what difference does it make?" Polian said. "He is not going to play well. No rookie quarterback does, much less one without a great receiving corps around him. To me, the question is, what does their offensive line ultimately become? Todd Gurley makes the line considerably better than what it is. What do they get from the passing game with a young quarterback and a receiving corps with guys who are not keeping defensive coordinators up at night?
"I still would have made the trade, because you can acquire receivers pretty much anywhere. You can't acquire a franchise quarterback, so if Goff turns out to be that guy, then it was a great move."
Of the group, I'm closer to Polian's position. The Rams' problems can't be solved with Jared Goff. That ultimately makes it tough to grade the offseason as a whole. If Goff turns out to be a functional long-term solution at QB, it'd be hard to give it a negative grade though. It just means they'll still need more work to get the most out of a positively graded offseason since you've got other needs and some serious attrition to address from earlier this offseason (see Yates' paragraph).
In the end, it's all about Goff in 2016...for better or for worse.