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2017 NFL Draft Results: LA Rams Load Up On Offensive Targets

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Here’s your 2017 NFL Draft class.

Rookie LA Rams TE Gerald Everett
Rookie LA Rams TE Gerald Everett
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

2017 NFL Draft LA Rams Draft Results

Round Pk (Rd) Pk (Ovr) Player POS School
Round Pk (Rd) Pk (Ovr) Player POS School
2 12 44 Gerald Everett TE South Alabama
3 5 69 Cooper Kupp WR Eastern Washington
3 26 91 John Johnson S Boston College
4 10 117 Josh Reynolds WR Texas A&M
4 18 125 Samson Ebukam OLB Eastern Washington
6 5 189 Tanzel Smart DT Tulane
6 22 206 Sam Rogers FB Virginia Tech
7 16 234 Ejuan Price OLB Pitt

Draft Picks

South Alabama TE Gerald Everett

44th overall pick

It certainly wasn’t the anticipated path. When the Los Angeles Rams traded down from the 37th overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft with the Buffalo Bills, I assumed it was because they were comfortable with how the WR class had come to them. After moving down, two wide receivers left in East Carolina WR Zay Jones and Ohio St. WR Curtis Samuel. I figured at that point the pick was either USC WR Juju Smith-Schuster or a BPA pick likely in the secondary. Nope!

The pick was Everett, a blasting tight end out of the Sun Belt. I think it’s a fine one given Rams Head Coach Sean McVay’s penchant for organizing much of his offense around the tight end threat.

One criticism I’ve seen lobbed is that the pick is a reach. That’s just one borne of ignorance. The Rams were “convinced” that Everett wouldn’t be available after the second round. Assuming that he would be without sufficient intel to counter the Rams’ “homework” is just lazy.

Nonetheless, it set the tone for the obvious intent of this draft class.

Eastern Washington WR Cooper Kupp

69th overall pick

Kupp. Yyyyyyyyyyyyyup.

Brandon Bate’s least favorite mock target became a reality with the Rams’ original third round pick. We’ll see how it works out. Personally, I think he’s just a cog in the machine much like...well everyone in the last five years save for Robert Woods. But, as I’ve said before, this is a three-year build for McVay. If he feels more comfortable with Kupp in lieu of Kenny Britt, Brian Quick, Pharoh Cooper, Mike Thomas, Nelson Spruce or whomever you want to toss in here (Tavon Austin is the odd ancillary factor, a Schrodinger’s WR who is both useful and not until we open the box that is the 2017 season and find out)? So be it. I’m willing to give McVay the opportunity to build and develop his roster and have his job call for it if it doesn’t pan out.

Kupp and Everett are just the first (and not even that) of many decisions that we should afford McVay.

Boston College S John Johnson

91st overall pick

The secondary was always the defensive spot of immediate need, though the OLB slot may figure of more import if you factor in position value. The Johnson pick in and of itself isn’t surprising. That Johnson was the specific target was a bit unanticipatable.

He’s got technique issues having had to bounce between cornerback and safety slots at BC. And he lacks a plus physical game. But this is what Wade Phillips was hired to be defensive coordinator for. To take prospects like this and oversee a staff to develop them into capable players, either as starters or functional depth components.

Four years ago with the 90th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos took a cornerback. A month and a half ago, the Rams signed that cornerback, Kayvon Webster, two a two-year, $7m+ deal. If Johnson is worth that much on the open market four years from now, the pick was worth it. And the process was too.

Texas A&M WR Josh Reynolds

117th overall pick

Mike Evans. Josh Reynolds. Speedy Noil. Ricky Seals-Jones. Christian Kirk.

The WR factory at A&M is churning at full volume.

Back in early March, our own Tevin Broner put up his scouting report of Reynolds concluding:

The Rams need a player that has a good catching radius, so that Goff can have a security blanket. Goff needs a player that will be an accuracy eraser and Reynolds could be that guy for the young QB. There's not a player on the roster that can adjust to the ball in the air like Reynolds does routinely.

Well done, Tev.

Eastern Washington OLB Samson Ebukam

125th overall pick

The defensive impetus was always spread between the edge and the secondary. And while Johnson may have been selected before Ebukam, I wouldn’t consider that a condemnation of the intent here.

The Rams are topped by Robert Quinn who has started just 15 games in the last two seasons and Connor Barwin, a free agent brought in on a one-year pull. The future at the position is...murky.

If Ebukam can, like Maurice Alexander who was the 110th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, accept the tutelage of his coaching staff while waiting for an opening for playing time, this could look a comfortable option. That’s certainly the proposal.

Tulane DT Tanzel Smart

189th overall pick

Ah, the late rounds. Ye of little jeopardy!

It’s the sixth round. If Smart can land, it’s a hit. The problem is crowd size.

Smart joins a DL that is stacked with Aaron Donald, Michael Brockers, Dominique Easley, Ethan Westbrooks, Tyrunn Walker, Matt Longacre and Louis Trinca-Pasat. Who does he supplant in the pecking order?

Virginia Tech FB Sam Rogers

206th overall pick

Fullbacks! What a lovely consideration.

Rogers was a bit of a coverall at VaTech. He can run, he’s a threat as a receiver, he can block, he makes good waffles, he’s a fine gardener, he once saved a kitten from a burning building, he invented the “self-automating shoe.” He’s willing. He might be capable. The question is whether the jump in talent is too much to prevent him from being useful.

Cory Harkey was an undrafted free agent out of UCLA in 2012 who carried through the Jeff Fisher era. If Rogers can carry his torch, this will look like a banner selection.

Pitt OLB Ejuan Price

234th overall pick

The last defender we took from Pitt worked out pretty well...

It’s the seventh round. If Price can land on the roster, the pick is a home run. He’s a hefty, quick linebacker who moved to the outside amid a ton of injuries in his career. It’ll be interesting to see he and Ebukam get their chances and assess how close they are to meeting NFL standards.


Summary

Overall, I’m comfortable with the class. As I’ve said for a while, the Rams aren’t in “win now” status. They just completed a five-year run with a coach who took that long to craft the worst offense in the NFL while leading them to a 4-12 record after trading up for a brand new franchise QB who went 0-7 in his rookie season. Expecting McVay to rectify that situation in one draft without a first-round pick is crazy.

Nonetheless, he’s been provided a ton of components to begin working with. He gets a ridiculously athletic tight end to pair with Tyler Higbee. On top of that, he gets to oversee QB Jared Goff’s development with another two wide receivers. The core defensive needs emerging over the next 1-2 years will require some coaching wizardry from Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips, something he’s achieved before with previous employers. If he can do so with these pieces, it will go a long way in not requiring several major draft picks to send to the defensive side while the offense remains in need.

I said going into the draft, this was an easy one to nail for the Rams. It’s Year 1 for McVay and the roster needs help all over the place. He’s going to need at least two years to get the pieces in place to compete. I get the criticism of not drafting an offensive lineman, but if they had taken OL early, these other needs wouldn’t have been addressed and in eight months we’d be criticizing the team for not doing more at TE or S or OLB.

Draft capital is finite. The Rams had a ton to do and not enough draft picks to do it. This was a fine start, though.

If the Rams can finally get that vital component they’ve lacked for the last five years, the ability to coach up players to near their potential, this class could well look stellar in a few years.