As a general statement, I feel that NFL fans tend to be overly critical of their own GM. So, I made a list of how some notable early round rookies have performed this season. All of these players were drafted prior to the Rams taking Logan Bruss at slot 104. I composed the list by selecting names of players frequently mentioned on TST prior to the draft, some players I really liked, and a number of offensive linemen.
Some of My Favorites
Jalen Pitre (37th overall selection, Houston Texans). 42.7 PFF grade (84th out of 86 safeties). A physical, aggressive and disruptive slot defensive back out of Baylor, he's had a miserable rookie year, filled with a ton of missed tackles.
Dax Hill (31st overall, Bengals). Very smart Michigan DB who could play both S and slot CB, he seemed like a very safe prospect. He has barely played on defense for the Bengals, with a 66.1 PFF grade in limited action, spending most of his time on the bench as a backup.
Chad Muma (70th overall, Jags). One of my favorite LBs in the draft, he has played mostly special teams, with a 49.6 PFF grade as a backup LB.
Kaiir Elam (23rd overall, Bills). I thought he was one of the best outside CBs in the draft. Beaten out for playing time early in the season by a 6th round rookie, Christian Benford, Elam has a 60.5 PFF grade, ranking 66th out of 120 CBs.
Cole Strange (29th overall, Pats). The Rams were interested in drafting Strange, but he went off the board earlier than expected. In college, he was a very athletic and versatile player, but needed to add more bulk and strength. He was essentially benched twice in recent games by the Pats. He's struggled in pass protection and with mental errors. He has a 50.4 PFF grade, ranking 65th out of 83 guards. Coleman Shelton for the Rams has a higher PFF grade (51.5) than Strange.
Kenyon Green (15th overall, Texans). A devastating run blocker in college, he was supposed to solidify the interior OL for Houston. Instead, he has a 38.1 PFF grade, ranking 80th out of 83 guards, one of the worst guards in the NFL, nearly Bobby Evans level. How many more yards would Dameon Pierce have if Green were playing like an elite guard?
Zion Johnson (17th overall, Chargers). A more well rounded guard prospect out of Boston College, he only looks better, because Green has been so much worse. He has a 59.4 PFF grade, 48th out of 83 guards. Okay for a rookie, but not what you'd hope for from a middle of the 1st round pick.
Luke Goedeke (57th overall, Bucs). Benched at times by Tampa, he has a 41.5 PFF grade, 78th out of 83 guards. He might have been at the bottom if it weren't for players like Green and Evans. He got hurt and recently has returned to practice, so we'll see if he can improve in the 2nd half of the season.
Luke Fortner (65th overall, Jags). One of the lowest graded starting centers, 52.6 PFF, 32nd out of 39 centers.
Dylan Parham (90th overall, Raiders). Noses ahead of Johnson, posting a 60.5 grade, 46th out of 83 guards. Solid for a rookie, but consider that David Edwards as a 5th round rookie had a 61.0 PFF grade, so it isn't anything spectacular.
Sean Rhyan (92nd overall, Packers). Hasn't played all year, a healthy scratch most games.
Josh Paschal (46th overall, Lions). I'm calling this one incomplete, because he was on the PUP list and has only played in 4 games. He has a 61.5 PFF grade (70th out of 116 edge defenders), with no sacks. He has flashed potential on some plays, but we need to see him play in more games to get a bigger sample size.
Alontae Taylor (49th overall, Saints). Like CTB below, one of the worst CBs in the NFL, 43.0 PFF, ranking 115th out of 120 players.
Troy Andersen (58th overall, Falcons). He's a rotational backup LB with a 42.1 PFF grade.
Cam Taylor Britt (60th overall, Bengals). One of the lowest graded CBs in the NFL with a 44.2 PFF grade, 113th out of 120.
Velus Jones Jr. (71st overall, Bears). Seldom used on offense, is a KR and PR. Has 3 catches for 24 yards and 1 TD. Has fumbled twice. 67.2 PFF grade.
JT Woods (79 overall, Chargers). Healthy inactive for most of the season, he has a 53.7 PFF grade in limited playing time.
Cordale Flott (81st overall, NYG). Stuck on the bench, he was forced into action recently due to injury to other CBs on the roster, has a 64.1 PFF grade in limited action. Likely to see playing time in next few games, so we'll see how he holds up.
Deangelo Malone (82nd overall, Falcons). A backup player who has only played 15% of their defensive snaps, has 1 sack and a 63.2 PFF grade.
Tyrion Davis-Price (93rd overall, Niners). A healthy scratch for most of the season, has 16 carries for 37 yards, averaging 2.3 yards per carry with a 52.6 PFF grade. If he had looked better, would the Niners have traded for Christian McCaffrey?
Nick Cross (96nd overall, Colts). A super fast, but raw safety, he's a special teams player with a 55.1 PFF grade.
Kerby Joseph (97th overall, Lions). Up and down, with a 69.1 PFF grade (33rd out of 86 safeties).
Jeremy Ruckert (101st overall, Jets). Healthy inactive for most of the season, has zero catches and dropped his only receiving target.
Eventually, a few of the players listed above will probably become Pro Bowl level players. Others won't improve much and will become known as draft busts. Some might become productive veterans, but only play well for their 2nd or 3rd NFL team, not for the team that actually drafted them (see e.g. Austin Corbett).
While some 2022 rookies have been outstanding, many other players taken in the first 3 rounds have had very little impact. Teams could have gotten better play from former UDFAs (e.g. Coleman Shelton vs. Cole Strange), even from relatively inexperienced UDFAs.
The Rams don't have a 1st round pick in 2023. They are also missing 4th and 5th round picks. It isn't going to be easy for the Rams to land immediate impact rookies with the remaining picks they own. If that indeed turns out to be the case, it doesn't mean that Snead necessarily made an error in choosing which players to draft. IMO, it is a foreseeable outcome from the nature of the draft process itself. All 32 NFL teams have to navigate the same treacherous draft waters.