After a 2015 season in which the Rams had a similarly feckless offense that finished last in yards gained and 29th in scoring, the Rams got worse overall despite switching drafting, not playing and then playing QB Jared Goff. The offensive line played worse. RB Todd Gurley did not lead the league in rushing nor win the MVP. A Case Keenum/Rob Boras QB/Offensive Coordinator pairing did not fare better than Nick Foles/Frank Cignetti, Jr.
Now with the 2017 NFL Draft looming in just five weeks and a few days, the Rams are forced to confront the requirement to upgrade their offense without a first-round pick. In fact, the Rams have only one selection in the first 68 of the draft. With needs cropping up on defense especially given that new Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips is likely to remodel the defensive roster to fit his defensive scheme adapted from Gregg Williams’ preferred personnel, there’s a chance the Rams could spend their first pick, the 37th overall, in this year’s draft on a defender.
If they do so, they’ll make some uncomfortable history. No team in the last decade has waited past the #39 overall pick to take an offensive player in a draft following a season in which they posted the lowest-scoring offense:
NFL's Worst Offense Drafting History
|Year||Team||Offensive Picks < #69|
|Year||Team||Offensive Picks < #69|
|2013||Jaguars||#3, #39, #61|
No team has spent more top draft capital on their offense following a season in which they scored the least points in the NFL than the 2008 San Francisco 49ers. The 2007 Niners scored the least points in the NFL under then-Head Coach Mike Nolan. They then spent the 29th overall selection in the 2008 NFL Draft on DT Kentwan Balmer, the 39th overall selection on G Chilo Rachal and the 75th overall selection on CB Reggie Smith. Nolan would be fired after Week 7.
The 2009 and 2011 St. Louis Rams make this list for their abysmal offensive outputs. Plumbed for their horrific offensive drafting years prior, the 2009 St. Louis Rams were an absolute horrorscape under first-year HC Steve Spagnuolo. Marc Bulger, Kyle Boller and Keith Null all pulled starting duty at some point (FWIW, RB Steven Jackson still had 1,416 yards because he’s a GODDAMMT HORSEMAN). Only Boller would ever see further NFL game action. The Rams then drafted Sam Bradford first overall and OL Rodger Saffold at #33 in the 2010 NFL Draft to help protect their young investment. Two years later having failed to bring in any other offensive talent and with Bradford missing six games, the Rams were yet again at the bottom of the NFL offensive pile (FWIW, RB Steven Jackson nevertheless gained 1,145 yards because ACTION JACKSON IS MADE OUT OF STEEL AND EATS HUMAN MUSCLE FOR SNACKS SO DO NOT QUESTION HIM). The Rams then spent two second-round selections from the 2012 NFL Draft on offense: #33 on WR Brian Quick and #50 on RB Isaiah Pead. Those worked out good. So, very, really much good.
I’m not suggesting the Rams absolutely have to take an offensive prospect at #37. I am suggesting that not doing so would be ignoring the offensive roster to a historic degree, one that doesn’t lend itself to improving the offense per any rational common sense.
Can the 2017 Los Angeles Rams afford to pass by the offense for at least 68 picks in the 2017 NFL Draft? I guess it depends on how they (/you) feel about the offensive roster as it stands and how you project the coaching to improve that roster over the next 12 months. Can HC Sean McVay and OC Matt LaFleur make useful components out of WR Tavon Austin, TE Tyler Higbee and RB Todd Gurley? Do Goff and WR Robert Woods become inarguable question marks by season’s end? How much help will the offensive line need?
Former Rams HC Jeff Fisher and Former and Current General Manager Les Snead left the Rams with a ton of uncomfortable questions. It’s up to McVay and Snead to answer those questions in the affirmative if the Rams are going to right the ship and begin competing for winning seasons.
(UPDATED April 3 at 3:30pm ET)
I went back and looked. The last time to wait until at least the 69th overall pick to take an offensive player after posting the worst offense in the NFL was the Indianapolis Colts in the 1992 NFL Draft.
They held the first two overall picks in the draft (!), taking DE Steve Emtman and LB Quentin Coryatt. Both were massive busts. In the second round with the 29th overall pick, they took CB Ashley Ambrose. Without a third-round selection, the Colts finally took an offensive player in RB Rodney Culver with the 85th overall pick.