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Rating the rivals: how good was the Rams’ draft?

Well, when they started picking.

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Let’s just go to the big joke about the Los Angeles Rams: when they started picking. It wasn’t the first round, and it almost wasn’t the second round. The Rams started drafting with the 61st pick, a pick that wasn’t even theirs. From Day one until the back-half of Day 2 the only thing you heard was how the Rams made yet another trade. After pick 61, there were eight picks all garnering an above average grade from Pro Football Focus. I might bump it down just a bit to average, but I’m sure my assessment is clouded in my own bias towards the Rams.

Their first pick was Washington safety Taylor Rapp, a player that some mocks had going to the 49ers around the same time. Given where they got him, and the void left by the loss of Lamarcus Joyner, it’s a solid pick. Rapp has had his detractors around the Niners Nation community, but he has a shot at being a darn good safety.

If Rapp wasn’t the pick of the weekend for the Rams, then Michigan cornerback David Long in the third round (79th overall) definitely is. PFF was a fan of David Long and there won’t be any arguments from me.

From there, it’s subjective. Sure, Memphis running back Darrell Henderson is a great back, but the Rams have Todd Gurley. Rams coach Sean McVay says the selection has nothing to do with the knee injury Gurley suffered in 2018. With that knowledge, a running back in the second round feels even more unnecessary when you have a running back like Gurley. The fourth round— sure, but the second?

Oklahoma tackle Bobby Evans is a bit more understandable. Evans will most likely ride the bench until veteran tackle Andrew Whitworth retires. It’s curious if the Rams could have made this offensive line pick in the second round instead of taking Henderson, but there’s not much there at that particular spot. Honestly, it might not be Evans who is the replacement but the Rams’ fifth round pick, offensive tackle David Edwards. Edwards’ pass-blocking needs some work, but he’s a great development piece for the Rams as well. Whoever gets the spot, the Rams have options at the position.

Washington DT Greg Gaines, taken in the fifth round could be a replacement to Ndamukong Suh, but his pass rushing at Washington was atrocious. He’s a solid run-defender (something undervalued) , but that makes him not on the field near as much, at least until he figures out how to go after the quarterback.

Beyond that is pieces. The Rams got eight picks out of this draft from all their trades, but the flipside is they don’t have any game-changing first round picks like a Nick Bosa, or something taken later in the first round where they could have picked like Washington OT Kaleb McGary. The thing to keep in mind is they don’t really need them at this point. They remind me much of the San Francisco 49ers from 2011-2014 where their roster was well-set and the positioning made getting crucial picks difficult. There are questions the long-term future of the Rams given all the trades/salary cap spending but not every team suffers like Trent Baalke’s 49ers did with draft capitol at their disposal via wheeling and dealing.

With eight picks, something has to stick. Also, given that they didn’t make their first pick until the back-half of the second round and still got the eight-pick haul of solid players is commendable. It’s hard to gauge how this draft is since most of these players are developmental prospects. The running back in the second round seems a bit rich with Gurley on the team as well, but then you have to ask what need could they fill where they were? The answer hard to say.

The Rams have several picks to develop. They either can replace their veterans in a year or two, or be out of the league. The key with this group is only time will tell.

What do you think of the Rams’ draft?