I've been told premature opinions aren't a big deal, and they happen to every guy sometimes, but I have a sneaking suspicion that's a lie.
I'll own up to it: last year I tried to do an actual report card on the Rams' draft. I gave actual letter grades to all the picks, in spite of the fact none of them had yet played a snap in the NFL, or even been to training camp. Why would I do such a ridiculous thing, you ask? Because everyone else does it, that's why!
See, all the draft experts give out grades
on the job various teams did drafting players. Never mind we won't actually know anything about how well a given draft turned out for at least a couple years; no, we need analysis and judgements now.
Well, I'm not doing it this year. I'm not giving out grades which will only in the end prove both my hubris and poor understanding of the game of football. However, I will spout off a bunch of half-baked opinions about the Rams' draft picks. But no letter grades. That's my line in the sand. I am, after all, a man of principle.
First off, I have absolutely nothing to say about Sam Bradford. The fact is, Bradford was probably the best quarterback in this year's draft, and the Rams pretty much had to take him. I thought Ndamakong Suh
was a safer pick, and Eric Berry
was my personal favorite player in the whole draft, but how often do you see a football team built around a safety? If you answered, "Not very often," I'm interested in hearing why you didn't answer, "Never." Taking a quarterback was a given; we'll just have to hope the Rams took the right one. Personally, I think they did.
2nd round: Rodger Saffold, OT, Indiana --
I'm not a huge fan of this pick, to be honest. I do like the Rams took an offensive tackle, as they desperately need to shore up the O-line (and anything which hastens the departure of Alex Barron
can only be a good thing in my mind), but I liked a couple other players better here. I had my heart set on Arrelious Benn
, the big receiver out of Illinois, and I like Charles Brown
better than Saffold on the offensive line.
Still, there's plenty to like about Saffold. He's big, he's physical, and he's been extremely durable to this point. He started 41 of 42 games in his college career, an important consideration for a team which has seen previous iterations of its offensive line devastated by injury. At 6'4", 312, Saffold is plenty big to handle just about anything. He's got enough bulk he could slide inside to guard if needed as well, though I don't think the Rams will use him in that manner. I fully expect to see Jason Smith slide over to left tackle this season, with Saffold taking most of the snaps on the right side.
3rd round: Jerome Murphy, CB, South Florida -- Now this kid I love. Murphy has great size and physicality as a press-style corner, as well as enough speed to keep up with virtually any receiver. I much prefer bigger corners, and at 6'0" and almost 200 lbs, Murphy has plenty of size and strength. There were concerns about him coming out of college that he can be overly aggressive at times, but I would much rather see a team try to teach a player to harness that approach and maybe temper his aggressiveness than try to somehow coax physicality out of a guy who simply doesn't have it naturally. Big fan of this pick.
Overall, I like what the Rams did on the first two days of the draft. I don't necessarily love it, but I definitely like it. All three picks were players at positions of need, which is a big plus in my book. (Of course, one could also argue nearly every position is a position of need with such an anemic roster, and I couldn't really come up with much in the way of rebuttal.) The Rams drafted the guy they wanted at quarterback, got some extra protection for their investment, and brought some much-needed physicality in at defensive back. Is it perfect? No, but nothing ever is. It's pretty good, though, and that's a big step up from what we've become accustomed to here in Ram country.