NFL Draft: Mel Kiper Jr. Gives Rams’ Class ‘B’ Grade (fannation/ramsdigest)
“Early reactions to L.A.’s draft class seem to be generally positive, with most analysts grading the class a B or higher. That includes ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr., arguably the top draft analyst in the industry, who also gave the Rams a B grade.
Right away, Kiper acknowledges the Rams’ tough situation in this draft. They’re entering a rebuild after losing several key players this offseason, and with their first-round pick belonging to the Detroit Lions, they’re starting that rebuild at a disadvantage.
The Rams made two picks that Kiper really likes. The first is offensive lineman Steve Avila at No. 36, who Kiper believes is “a plug-and-play starter at guard.” The other is edge rusher Byron Young at No. 77, who Kiper had as the No. 51 player on his board.
However, the Rams’ other picks don’t earn as much praise from the draft guru. The first pick to garner criticism was defensive tackle Kobie Turner at No. 89, a player Kiper didn’t have in his top 200.
“That’s extremely high for a player I don’t think has starter-level tools,” Kiper said.
Kiper goes on to say that Stetson Bennett, who the Rams picked at No. 128, went a round or two earlier than he was expecting. L.A.’s selection of tight end Davis Allen at No. 175, receiver Puka Nacua at No. 177 and edge rusher Ochaun Mathis at No. 189 were all “reaches.”
Despite a subpar Day 3 in Kiper’s eyes, the Rams did well enough early on to still earn a passing grade.
“This is a bit of a mixed bag overall, but the top two picks were excellent value.”
Things you love to see: Matthew Stafford back at it. pic.twitter.com/cxoazhHjnx— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) May 1, 2023
Roundup: Grades for and reactions to Rams’ 2023 NFL Draft picks (therams.com)
“Here’s what experts had to say about the class as well as some of its individual members.
NFL.com’s Chad Reuter provided quick-snap grades after each day, giving the Rams an A on Day 1, a B on Day 2, and a A- on Day 3 for an overall grade of A- as a result.
“Super Bowl-winning quarterback Matthew Stafford functioned as the Rams’ first-round pick again this year,” Reuter wrote. “The team added more picks through various Day 2 trades. Adding Avila bolsters the interior of the offensive line, while Young’s closing ability gives him a chance to become an effective edge defender. Turner was a productive player at Richmond and Wake Forest but went a bit earlier than projected.
“Bennett was underrated as a prospect and has enough physical tools and the confidence to be a starter after Stafford retires if he can mature. Hampton and Mathis fit the team’s need at edge, Tomlinson plays stronger than his diminutive size would portend, and McClendon, Allen, Nacua and Evans were all solid picks despite the veterans already on the depth chart. The team had no specialists coming into the draft, so they picked Evans instead of fighting for him as a free agent.”
Reuter’s grades and analysis for all 32 teams can be read here.
Pro Football Focus: A-
PFF breaks down each selection here.
USA TODAY’s Nate Davis: B
“Bad as last season was, the 2021 trade for QB Matthew Stafford was worth it – and the Super Bowl 56 champs are now scheduled to make their first Round 1 pick since 2016 ... next year,” Davis writes. “This draft was mostly about replenishing needed depth, though second-round G Steve Avila should be a plug-and-play starter. Should be fun watching fourth-round QB Stetson Bennett, a UGA alum like Stafford, proving he can play at this level during the preseason.”
FOX SPORTS’ Eric D. Williams: B
“The Rams had several needs to fill, particularly on the defensive side, where Aaron Donald is one of the few starters sticking around,” Williams wrote as part of his analysis. ”Tennessee edge rusher Byron Young should help replace the production left vacant by the departure of Leonard Floyd. TCU product Steve Avila helps bolster an offense that started 14 different offensive-line combinations in 2022. Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett should be a solid backup for the aging Matthew Stafford.”
CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco: B
Prisco says TCU guard Steve Avila (Round 2, No. 36 overall) was the Rams’ best selection.
“The Rams didn’t have a first-round pick — shocking, right? — but they made the most of the picks they did have,” Prisco writes. “They picked a lot of good players. In addition to Avila, I liked a lot of their picks, including third-round edge Byron Young. Sixth-round corner Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson is a quality player, who could be a good nickel. This team is being overhauled and this is the kind of draft that gives a team some good, young bodies to help make it happen.”
Oh hey, @AaronDonald97! pic.twitter.com/RCIj4MBPub— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) May 1, 2023
2023 NFL Draft grades: Los Angeles Rams made the most of a class without a first-round pick (yahoo!sports)
“Overall Los Angeles grade: B
The Rams put together a quality draft class despite not having a first-round pick (again). Getting a starter along the offensive line was crucial for them and they found that in Avila. Georgia’s Warren McClendon was a great dice roll in the fifth round to develop as an offensive tackle as well.
Favorite pick: Steve Avila, C/G, TCU (36th overall)
The Rams needed stalwart interior offensive line help and may have just found that with the selection of Steve Avila with their first pick. Avila is a behemoth, bruising offensive lineman that can play either center or guard for the Rams this upcoming season. Some analysts had Avila graded out as a first-round pick, which makes this a strong selection at the top of the second round. Avila will be a Day 1 starter for the Rams.
Least favorite pick: Stetson Bennett, QB, Georgia (128th overall)
Honestly, there isn’t a huge issue with Stetson Bennett going here. He’s an older quarterback prospect, but he did improve in a pretty serious way throughout his college career. However, Rams general manager Les Snead had Bennett as his top quarterback in the draft, according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, which is just patently absurd. Bennett is a quality backup prospect, but if he was really the guy that Snead thought he was he would have gone in the first round — even with his disaster of a draft season. This has more to do with Snead than Bennett. Come on, Les.”
Welcome to the #RamsHouse!— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) May 1, 2023
We've agreed to terms with 24 undrafted free agents. ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/0eSm8waU62
NFL Draft 2023: Best, worst and most interesting pick for all 32 teams in division-by-division takeaways (cbssports)
“Best pick (A): DL Kobie Turner, Wake Forest (Round 3, Pick 89)
Blast to watch on film. Quick, relentless inside rusher. Hand work and first-step winner. Could become a star learning from Aaron Donald. (Chris Trapasso)
Worst pick (D+): EDGE Byron Young, Tennessee (Round 3, Pick 77)
Young is super fun on film. One of the best, most explosive outside speed rushes in the class. Gumby-like around the corner. But that’s really all he can lean on. He’s a much older prospect who wasn’t all that productive from a pressure perspective. Like the position addressed, but this is a round or two too early. (Chris Trapasso)
Most interesting pick (C): QB Stetson Bennett, Georgia (Round 4, Pick 128)
Honestly, the Rams made several interesting picks. We could talk about LaDainian Tomlinson’s nephew or Mr. Irrelevant, but I was shocked that Stetson Bennett was taken in the fourth round. He doesn’t have the NFL measurables you’re looking for and is coming off of an arrest, but at the same time, this dude is a winner. Plus, teaming up with Sean McVay makes this VERY interesting.”
Going to dive into this tomorrow, but offensive line is such an intriguing position. Honestly, have no idea who the starting 5 are and where outside of RT Rob Havenstein.— Blaine Grisak (@bgrisakTST) May 2, 2023
Right now, I may lean:
...but sooo many options.
Every day I wake up, I remember I’m a ram . BEST FEELING EVER pic.twitter.com/b8anh6Jrwc— Steve Avila (@Stevelavila) May 1, 2023