The excitement of the 2017 NFL Draft still lingers within us even though it is over. It’s because it marks the start of a new season, which we’ve all been waiting for since the Super Bowl. The Los Angeles Rams didn’t have a first-round pick this year due to trading up to draft Jared Goff. However, there’s a lot of “new” in Los Angeles this year.
There’s a new sheriff in town in Head Coach Sean McVay, which also brings in new offense. Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips brings his expertise to an already good defense. Add in all the other new coaches and it’s hard to know what to expect, but it’s new, so it’s exciting. Finally, the Rams’ have eight new draft picks and eleven new undrafted free agents. It’s an exciting time to be a Rams fan.
This draft was especially exciting for me because I know a lot about a few of the draft picks and UDFA’s. Here is my grade of the Rams’ 2017 Draft:
Round 1: Grade A+
The reason I give them this grade is because they weren’t stupid and trade into the first-round.
Round 2, Pick 44: TE Gerald Everett: Grade B
Many viewers and experts expected the Rams to pick WR Zay Jones or WR Ju Ju Smith-Schuster with this spot. Even I thought they were going to draft Ju Ju here. Instead they traded back seven spots and took Everett. McVay’s offense uses the tight ends a lot, so I wasn’t completely surprised to see them fill a need at this position. Everett comes from a smaller school (South Alabama), but plays like he was at a bigger school. He is a pass-catching tight end with great run after the catch ability. Look for McVay to turn this guy into a star.
Round 3, Pick 69: WR Cooper Kupp: Grade A-
I love this pick! Most people outside of the Pac-12 have never heard of Kupp. But, for those of us who have been fortunate enough to watch him tear up defenses, this pick makes a lot of sense. Kupp has won about every award a receiver can win in the FCS. He put up over 6,400 yards in his four-year career at Eastern Washington. He’s made guys like CB Kevin King (Pick 33), S Budda Baker (Pick 36) and CB Sidney Jones IV (Pick 46) struggle to cover him. Go watch the film against the Washington Huskies and the Oregon Ducks and you will see what I mean.
Round 3, Pick 91, S John Johnson: Grade A
After losing T.J. McDonald in free agency, the Rams entered this year’s draft needing help at the safety position. Landing Johnson out of Boston College this late in the third round couldn’t have been a better fit. He can play man-coverage and zone, which makes him versatile. His tackling skill leaves a little to be desired, but Phillips can help him change that. Overall, this is a great pick for the Rams.
Round 4, Pick 117, WR Josh Reynolds: Grade A+
Getting Reynolds in the fourth-round was an absolute steal! I had a second-round grade on him while at Texas A&M, so to get him here is outstanding. I wouldn’t be surprised if Reynolds turns out to be the Rams’ No. 1 receiver in the next few years. The Rams’ wide receiving corps just went from bad to darn good by adding Reynolds and Kupp.
Round 4, Pick 125, OLB Samson Ebukam: Grade C
This is another player that I got to watch a lot of. This pick was a little bit of a reach, taking him in the fourth-round. However, if Phillips wanted this guy and saw the value in the fourth-round, I’m okay with it. A teammate of Kupp at Eastern Washington, this hard working outside linebacker will bring depth to our defense.
Round 6, Pick 189, DT Tanzel Smart: Grade B-
Smart will bring quality depth to the Rams’ defensive line. I laugh when experts say that he’s too short. Have they met Aaron Donald? He’s strong, quick and uses leverage to get to the backfield. He’s a three-technique only, but his quickness and disruptive nature led to consistent production at Tulane University.
Round 6, Pick 206, FB Sam Rogers: Grade C
I don’t believe that I was the only person shocked to see the Rams take a fullback. However, I don’t know enough about McVay’s offensive schemes to say this was a bad pick. He was a very productive all-purpose back at Virginia Tech and the film research on him has him making very explosive plays. It will be fun to see how they use him in the Rams; new offense.
Round 7, Pick 234, DE Ejuan Price: Grade C+
This is another steal for the Rams. I had a fifth-round grade on Price, but wouldn’t have been surprised to see him go in the fourth-round. The Rams have had some success with another player from University of Pittsburgh and they hope to get some more from Rogers. He’s a fast, straight-line rusher that can get to the quarterback. However, his size and injury history may be a concern.
Overall Draft Grade: B-
Undrafted free agent signings:
Ishmael Adams – DB – UCLA
Jared Collins – DB – Arkansas
Kevin Davis – ILB – Colorado State
Justin Davis – RB – USC
Jake Eldrenkamp – OL – Washington
Anthony McMeans – OL – New Mexico State
Johnny Mundt – TE – Oregon
Folarin Orimolade – OLB – Dartmouth
Aarion Penton – DB – Mizzou
Casey Sayles – DT – Ohio
Dravious Wright – DB – NC State