The Los Angeles Rams proved to be one of the most active teams in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft on Saturday, April 29. The team moved back in the round once before selecting Texas A&M wide receiver Josh Reynolds with the 117th pick. The Rams then picked Eastern Washington linebacker Samson Ebukam with the 125th pick.
General manager Les Snead made two trades in the round. First, he traded the 112th pick to the Chicago Bears for the 117th and 197th pick (sixth round). Snead then packaged the 141st and 197th pick to the New York Jets for the 125th pick. The Rams used the deals to pick up the athletic Reynolds and Ebukam.
Reynolds measures out at 6’3, 194 pounds and brings outstanding athleticism to the table. He doesn’t have the strength to hang with some of the more physical corners in the league, but he can stretch the field. Reynolds also has excellent ball skills. His shortcomings will be offset by the other members of his draft class and holdovers from last year’s roster.
Ebukam isn’t the biggest linebacker, but it’s his athleticism that attracted defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. The 6’3, 240-pound Ebukam is a perfect fit for Phillips, which would explain why the Rams drafted a player projected by many experts to go somewhere in the fifth or sixth round. Ebukam ran a sub 4.5 40-yard dash at his pro day and registered a 39-inch vertical leap. He plays with a combined aggressiveness and intelligence that is rare. However, his technical abilities need work if he is going to develop into anything more than a situational player.
Both Reynolds and Ebukam are examples of what the Rams coaching staff was looking for instead of what the draft experts projecting them to be, so grading them will be a chore. One thing is clear: the Rams are drafting to fill needs according to their system. Time will tell if their efforts will be effective.