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2011 NFL Draft Grades, NFC West Edition: Rams Draft Hinges On Receiving Targets

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Yesterday, we took a look at the Seattle Seahawks and how they did in the 2011 NFL Draft. Basically, I am unimpressed with the way it ended up going. They drafted people who will contribute, but the value was way off and they didn't do enough after round three to warrant anything higher than a 'C' rating. Before that, I took a look at the Arizona Cardinals, whose draft I liked a good deal more than Seattle's, but that's mostly because of Patrick Peterson, once again. Now, we'll take a look at the St. Louis Rams and how they did.

Round 1 (14th overall): Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina

Quinn is a great pick for the Rams, and most definitely was good value. I would have been alright with the 49ers taking Quinn at seven, but Aldon Smith is just a better fit for a 3-4. Quinn, though, he's a perfect fit in St. Louis and will be a force for them opposite Chris Long. He can start early on, and he'll immediately be a guy who can put pressure on quarterbacks (beware, Alex Smith ... or Colin Kaepernick ... or Josh Johnson ... or David C... AHAHAHAHA, sorry, I couldn't finish that one) and be solid against the run. Quinn is a homerun.

Round 2 (47th overall): Lance Kendricks, TE, Wisconsin

This is a scary pick, and probably a pretty big reach. Kendricks has been all over draft boards, and it's clear that the Rams fell in love with his athleticism. He's the most athletic tight end in the draft, but that might be all he has to offer, and if that's the case, he's probably more bust than boom. Still, the Rams need receiving targets and they don't have any tight ends to speak of, so this pick is redeemed a little in that sense.

Round 3 (78th overall): Austin Pettis, WR, Boise St

Pettis will see the field early on in the season as the team's number three receiver, and he will flourish in that role. He'll likely transcend it, too, and take a starting job on a team that doesn't really have any elite receivers. Pettis is as sure-handed and reliable as they come, with some of the best route running the draft. He's god good value here, and that's really all there is to it.

The Rest of the Way

Round 4: Greg Salas, WR, Hawaii (112th overall)
Round 5: Jermale Hines, DB, Ohio St. (158th overall)
Round 7: Mikail Baker, DB, Baylor (216th overall)
Round 7: Jabara Williams, OLB, Stephen F. Austin (228th overall)
Round 7: Jonathan Nelson, DB, Oklahoma (229th overall)

It really doesn't get much better than Greg Salas in the fourth round. A lot of folks here wanted the 49ers to get Salas, but it wasn't to be. He'll get playing time this season, though I question the Rams and their ability to bring along so many young receivers, a young tight end and a young quarterback with a new offense. There's just an awful lot there, with the only rock being Steven Jackson, and who knows how reliable that will be at this point? Salas is a guy who can play slot and he has great hands and good acceleration in and out of his breaks.

I'm really underwhelmed with what the Rams did in round seven, I don't see much developmental potential there at all, which you'd at least like to see a little bit of, so they lose some points there, but Hines in the fifth round could be a good pick if he progresses. He has a whole world of potential, but if he never realizes it, he's nothing more than a gunner on returns and the kind of guy who makes the occasional special teams play.

All-in-all, I think it will mostly come down to how those receivers do when it all comes down to it. Quinn will probably be very good, and while he won't make the Pro Bowl right away, he'll be able to contribute. I don't much like the pick of Kendricks and believe him to be more than a little overrated and know for a fact that he's a reach here, but those receivers can end up being a big steal.

Need: B+, Value: A-, Overall: A-