The draft has come and gone so here is our breakdown of the last day of the NFL draft for the Rams.
4th round, 117th overall pick (via Chicago Bears): Josh Reynolds, WR, Texas A&M
The Rams kicked off their day three by trading down with the Bears to acquire another sixth round pick (which they then traded away…) the Bears took a stud safety in Eddie Jackson, but the Rams decided to go offensive minded and gave Jared Goff another weapon in Josh Reynolds. Reynolds is a 6-foot-3 and 194 pound big-play receiver that gives the Rams a field stretcher and red zone target. The Rams punted for more yards than they accumulated on offense last season so this shouldn’t surprise anyone.
Reynolds was not my favorite wide receiver available and I have my reservations with him, but the Rams are starting to really build a nice group of receivers and this pick allows Reynolds to come in and likely be used on the outside where he should be as opposed to going to a team that would have a hard time finding playing time for him. There is a good chance this opens the door for a trade of one of the Rams receivers on the roster.
Looking at what Reynolds can do, he has around the average speed you want in an NFL starting WR, he’s got a 37 inch vertical jump and jumped a 123 inch broad jump. He tracks the ball just as well as anyone in this class so that right there could make him the best vertical threat at WR for the Rams, he is great when contested and he made some of the most insane circus catches you will see. So what’s wrong with him?
I feel as though his film at Texas A&M was inconsistent, he does need to add weight, he has a hard time getting off the line of scrimmage and really needs to work on his footwork. Overall the Rams got a good football player that will be able to make an impact in some capacity in 2017, but he could be more of a sub package/red zone target for his rookie year, but his upside is exciting and could be a starting WR for the Rams for years to come.
Grade: (B+) I really like this pick and of course I had other WR’s higher on my board, but you are getting a good player that has an exciting amount of upside to grow his role each year.
Who I would have taken: George Kittle, TE, Iowa
Player Comparison: (Mohammad Sanu, WR, Atlanta Falcons) I like this comparison because both guys are taller receivers that have some nice speed and excel at tracking the long ball.
Other players passed up: WR Mack Hollins, North Carolina, TE George Kittle, Iowa, G Nico Siragusa, San Diego State, S Montae Nicholson, Michigan State, LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Tennessee
4th round, 125th overall pick (via New York Jets): Samson Ebukam, OLB, Eastern Washington
After trading down and acquiring an extra sixth round pick, the Rams were impatient and jumped right back up the board to select a guy they had targeted in Samson Ebukam. He is the second Eastern Washington player to come to the Rams. The pick is not what I know, but I was a little disappointed that the Rams traded that pick away to select Ebukam. They are probably going to make me eat my words on that too.
Getting down to the pick, Ebukam is likely going to fit perfectly, right in Wade Phillips defense as a rotational pass rushing linebacker. The Nigerian born edge rusher tested incredibly well at his pro day. Ran a 4.5 flat forty, had a 39 inch vertical jump, 24 bench reps, almost an 11 foot broad jump at 6-foot-2 and 240 pounds. Clearly Wade was banging the table for this man as well as LB coach Joe Barry. He is an extremely twitchy pass rusher that shows a first step explosion that will scare offenses around the NFL. He has an exceptional work ethic and football IQ that will allow him to contribute instantly. Ebukam has the ability to develop into a complete linebacker. He’s also going to be welcomed to Coach Bones’ special teams unit.
The only issues with Ebukam are that he’s raw if you want him to start that may not be the best idea. He needs to develop more pass rush moves and work on disengaging blocks quicker.
Grade: (B-) This grade was a B, but I knock it down a peg because of the trade. Ebukam fits what the Rams are trying to do on defense and this will likely help after Connor Barwin’s one-year deal is up.
Who would I have taken: Blair Brown, ILB, Ohio
Player Comparison: (Dekoda Watson with a hint of DeMarcus Ware) Freakish athletes compare to freakish athletes. Watson is the more realistic comparison, but you can see why Wade wanted Ebukam. He is likely to start out like a rotational guy such as Watson, but could take on that DeMarcus Ware role down the line.
Other players passed up: ILB Blair Brown, Ohio, LB Jayon Brown, UCLA, G Jordan Morgan, Kutztown, CB Damontae Kazee, San Diego State, DE Avery Moss, Youngstown State, ILB Anthony Walker, Northwestern
6th round, 189th overall pick: Tanzel Smart, DT, Tulane
I really like this pick of Tanzel Smart. All you hear about Smart is that he just loves football. He is a passionate player and a high quality character guy. Smart is a one gap penetrator that will fit right into the defensive line rotation. Smart is not the desire size you would want necessarily, but he wins with his quickness off the line. He uses his hands well and is able to rip off of blocks easier than many players at his position in this draft.
With that being said, he does has his issues with the lack of competition at Tulane, his lack of speed and length. He could probably start if need be, but he seems like a really good rotational player for the Rams. With the new scheme change the Rams need for a defensive tackle has been identified and they attack that need with Smart.
Grade: (B+) This is a round or two lower than I had him which makes this a steal in my opinion. I think he fills a need as a depth defensive lineman and has that quickness that allows him to play defensive tackle and end if need be.
Who would I have taken: JoJo Mathis, OLB, Washington
Player Comparison: (Grady Jarrett, DT, Atlanta Falcons) Both are one gap penetrations that have the “undersized” label and extremely quick feet.
Other players passed up: CB Jeremy Clark, Michigan, LB Jordan Evans, Oklahoma, S Xavier Woods, Louisiana Tech, C Chase Roullier, Wyoming, TE Bucky Hodges, Virginia Tech
6th round, 206th overall pick (via Miami Dolphins): Sam Rogers, FB, Virginia Tech
It’s not hard to see why the Rams liked this guy and made the pick. Sam Rogers instantly comes in and can be the lead blocker for a struggling RB in Todd Gurley, he is a versatile threat running the ball, catching the ball and of course blocking. The Rams haven’t had a fullback like him in a long time, but Rogers to me is a great pick here late in the draft. This is the best fullback in the entire draft class who just refuses to go down and encourages having the ball in his hands. Another player Coach Bones will love on special teams, he’s just an aggressive and high energy guy that will impact the locker room early on.
What’s not to like? Well, to be honest the only knock on him is his speed, but he has the quickness and agility to make sneaky plays on the field.
Grade: (A) He’s the best pick as far as value goes for the whole draft. He is going to be their security blanket and likely he’s the reason they didn’t draft another TE after Everett.
Who would I have taken: Kyle Sloter, QB, Northern Colorado
Player Comparison: (Kyle Juszczyk, FB, San Francisco 49ers) Both of them can be blockers, ball-carriers and pass catchers. The versatility factor adds a new dynamic to the offense. Juszczyk just made some serious cash with his deal in San Fran. He’s a little faster than Rogers, but Rogers is just like him in many ways.
Other players passed up: S Rudy Ford, Auburn, OT Justin Senior, Mississippi State, OT Connor McDermott, UCLA, WR Robert Davis, Georgia State, QB Brad Kaaya, Miami, S Leon McQuay III, USC, DT Elijah Qualls, Washington, CB Jalen Myrick, Minnesota
7th round, 234th overall (via Baltimore Ravens): Ejuan Price, OLB, Pittsburgh
This was a fitting pick when you already have an undersized Pittsburgh player in Aaron Donald, might as well try your lucky with another in Ejuan Price right? He has been bothered by injuries, but his tape is littered with elite college production. He doesn’t have the long speed that many scouts wanted and factor that in with his injuries, that is why he fell into the seventh round.
Price brings a tenacity about him to the field that will fit right in a real nice linebacker rotation with newly drafted linebacker Samson Ebukam. At 5-foot-11 and 241 pounds he found himself really only a fit in the 3-4 type of outside linebacker scheme.
Grade: (B) He can come in and work hard right away as a special teamer and a rotational pass rusher. Wade is going to do wonders for him. The Rams now have a massive amount of linebackers.
Who would I have taken: Javancy Jones, OLB, Jackson State
Player Comparison: (Elvis Dumervil, OLB) Like Dumervil, Price ran a bad 40 time and was undersized so the scouts underrated him. Price may not be Dumervil, but they play the same type of game and the measurable are identical.
Other players passed up: OLB Javancy Jones, Jackson State, OLB Caroll Phillips, Illinois, C Kyle Fuller, Baylor, WR Noah Brown, Ohio State, WR Isaiah Ford, Virginia Tech, WR Malachi Dupre, LSU
Final Rams 2017 NFL Draft Grade: B-
After some disappointment with one of the picks, all in all this is a good draft for the Rams. They got better by adding three pass catchers Goff will be using a ton: Gerald Everett, Cooper Kupp and Josh Reynolds. The Rams even drafted a fullback and the best FB at that in Sam Rogers who will come in and give Goff an outlet that can be a security blanket receiver, a running back and a tenacious blocker. Moving away from offense the Rams drafted a freakish athlete and a not so freakish athlete to go into their linebacker rotation. Both men can contribute in some capacity right away. The Rams in my personal opinion reached on John Johnson who will likely end up being a great player since Wade Phillips knows what he is doing. Lastly, Tanzel Smart is a great pick that will add a really good one-gap penetrator to the defensive line rotation. I believe this draft could have been better, but it still was a good draft for the Rams.
What are your thoughts Rams fans? How did we do? Let us know!