It’s never fair to immediately look at an NFL Draft class and throw out a grade...but it happens every year. Instead, waiting a few years to see how players pan out in the league provides a more fair assessment of a team’s draft haul.
And that is exactly what Conor Orr has done over at Sports Illustrated, by looking back at each team’s 2015 class.
For the Rams - as it is for most teams - their first round pick (Todd Gurley in this case) was clearly the most noteworthy. And rightfully so. If there’s one thing Rams’ fans know, it’s how much missing on a first round player hurts the team.
But that hasn’t been the case for Gurley — a player many were skeptical of at the time. The talent was always there, but Gurley was coming off a knee surgery, and running back clearly wasn’t atop the team’s list of needs. Despite it all, Gurley leapt his way to Offensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2015, and was the league’s Offensive Player of the Year last season.
I’d say they did well with that one. But how about the rest of the class? Let’s have a closer look, with some thoughts from Orr:
1 (10) Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
2 (57) Rob Havenstein, OT, Wisconsin
3 (72) Jamon Brown, OT, Louisville
3 (89) Sean Mannion, QB, Oregon State
4 (119) Andrew Donnal, OT, Iowa
6 (201) Bud Sasser, WR, Missouri
6 (215) Cody Wichmann, G, Fresno State
7 (224) Bryce Hager, LB, Baylor
7 (227) Martin Ifedi, DE, Memphis
Who knew at the time this would be a foundational draft for the Los Angeles Rams? Their second- and third-rounders are now regular starters on a powerhouse offensive line that simply needed to add one anchor and shed some dead weight. And then, of course, there is Gurley. While it’s a risky maneuver to draft a back high, he has paid off one of the offense’s centerpieces.
As Orr points out, the Rams were in dire need of help along the offensive front...especially if their first round pick ever stood a chance of making it out of the backfield. And they’ve done well with Havenstein and Brown.
After that, there’s really not much to report. Sean Mannion is still around, but I’m not sure anyone (aside from maybe Eric Dickerson) really sees him as a viable starter at the position. And the Rams certainly didn’t identify any “gems” in the mid-to-late rounds; as three seasons removed from the draft, only Bryce Hager remains on the team having been drafted beyond the 4th round.
But a B+ is respectable grade, and the Rams have gotten some very good (to great) play out of the players they selected at the top of the draft.
Three years removed from the 2015 NFL Draft, how would you grade it?